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Exploring correlations between particle properties and flow behavior

Exploring correlations between particle properties and flow behavior

The mechanisms that govern powder flowability are complex and create an ongoing challenge in predicting and controlling flow behavior.

In “Controlling Powder Flowability: Exploring Correlations Between Particle Properties and Flow Behavior,” Laura Shaw, Freeman Technology, and Jack Saad and Kara Bailey, Micromeritics Instrument Corp., examine the mechanisms that define powder flowability and the application of particle characterization data to elucidate and control them.

Flowability is a defining characteristic of powder intermediates and products. In manufacturing, powders with sub-optimal flow properties are a primary cause of blockages, plant shutdown, and inconsistent product quality. Equally importantly, flowability influences ease-of-use and performance for end-products as diverse as pharmaceuticals and foods, coatings, and metal powders. With the right powder tester, it is feasible to quantify and sensitively differentiate powder flowability under process-relevant conditions. But what if an improvement in flowability is required? Changing flowability calls for manipulation of the parameters that influence it, which in turn relies on understanding how different variables, particularly particle properties, impact flow behavior.

Our collective understanding of how particle properties influence the mechanisms that govern powder flow has improved dramatically in recent years, underpinned by advances in powder testing and in key technologies such as particle imaging. 

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