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Relating powder property measurements to efficient equipment selection

Relating powder property measurements to efficient equipment selection

Aside from using trial and error and pilot-scale studies, powder and bulk solids manufacturers tend not to have concrete methods of deciding what process equipment works best for their application. Identifying the powder’s relevant properties through powder characterization helps to narrow the equipment design focus, as equipment differs in its suitability for different powders. Our recent article in Powder & Bulk Engineering describes three case studies where multifaceted powder characterization was critical to determining the right process equipment.

With the possible exception of hopper design protocols established in the 1960s, powder processors have access to few proven models for equipment selection and design. Trial and error and a heavy reliance on pilot-scale studies are the hallmarks of many powder processing industries. Modern powder testing equipment that uses multifaceted powder characterization enables relevant powder property identification and allows protocols to be established that help identify an optimal equipment-­selection solution. In this article, we’ll explore the value of multifaceted powder characterization via three case studies that illustrate its benefits.

Each of these studies provides insight into how modern powder testers can enable confident specification of equipment that works reliably and efficiently. In each case study, a powder rheometer was used to measure the powders’ properties. While this isn’t the only equipment that can be used, for the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on taking powder property measurements with a rheometer to evaluate its ability to measure multiple powder properties as well as simulate various powder processing conditions.

As you’ll see, each company has achieved substantial economic return by investing in a powder rheometer capable of automated dynamic flow, shear, and bulk property measurement. The lessons learned provide practical guidance for anyone looking to improve their ability to select powder processing equipment that’s optimally matched to the application.