Laser diffraction particle size analysis

Why particle size analysis matters - Using Laser Diffraction

What is Laser Diffraction? Laser diffraction is a technique used in the field of optics and physics to analyze and measure the size distribution of particles in a sample. It is based on the principle of diffraction, which occurs when a beam of light encounters an obstacle or passes through a narrow aperture, causing it to spread out and create a pattern of interference. In laser diffraction, a laser beam is directed towards the sample containing particles of different sizes. As the laser beam passes through or interacts with the particles, it undergoes diffraction, resulting in a scattering pattern. This pattern is captured by a detector, such as a camera or a photodiode array, which then analyzes the intensity and angle of the scattered light. By analyzing the diffraction pattern, the size distribution of particles in the sample can be determined. This is because the angle at which the light is scattered is inversely proportional to the size of the particles. Larger particles will scatter light at smaller angles, while smaller particles will scatter light at larger angles. Laser diffraction offers several advantages over other particle sizing techniques. It is non-destructive and provides rapid measurements, making it suitable for both laboratory and industrial applications. It can analyze a wide range of particle sizes, from nanometers to millimeters, and can handle a variety of sample types, including powders, emulsions, suspensions, and aerosols. Applications of laser diffraction include pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food and beverages, minerals and mining, environmental monitoring, and many other industries where particle size analysis is crucial for product quality and performance. Laser diffraction has become an indispensable tool for researchers, engineers, and scientists seeking to understand and control particle size distributions in various materials and processes. Laser diffraction particle size analysis has become a routine, and often business-critical, tool in industries that process particulate materials. Particle size influences numerous properties and its measurement enables better understanding and control of materials, products and processes. Particle size and/or size distribution plays a fundamental role in determining:

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Product quality using laser diffraction

Powder flowability impacts manufacturing efficiency and can directly affect processing and product quality across many industrial processes. Also, packing efficiency influences the success of, for example, mould-filling in ceramic and metal component production and powder coating, and can affect the rheology and solids loading of suspensions. And finally, stability. Maintaining the dispersion of materials and products in suspension or emulsion is critical to their efficacy and shelf-life.

Particulates Examined with Laser Diffraction

Stability: maintaining the dispersion of materials and products in suspension or emulsion is critical to their efficacy and shelf-life Dissolution rates: depend on the specific surface area of the particulates involved and are important in areas such as pharmaceuticals, detergents and agrochemicals for effective or controlled release of active ingredients Reaction rates: are often associated with the surface area of the particulates in solid systems, influencing, for example, the setting capabilities of cement

Consumer perception using laser diffraction

Flavour release in ground or granulated products, and mouthfeel in foodstuffs such as chocolate, are some of the qualities influenced by particle size

Effective R&D support using laser diffraction

During R&D and product development, many different types of characterization tools may be used. Robust, reliable easy to use laser diffraction particle sizing systems mean that you don’t have to be a specialist in the measurement technique to get good, relevant results The flexibility of laser diffraction makes it applicable to a wide range of materials and multiple projects, so you gain more understanding of all the materials you are using Rapid results allow faster feedback for accelerated product and process development and effective specification setting

Improved raw materials management

Ensuring that incoming raw materials and intermediates are of the required specification is critical to the success of any process. Tight control of specifications helps avoid problems further down the line. Understanding the particle size distribution tolerances for your process enables clear specification setting for particulate raw material, one way is to use laser diffraction. Rapid particle size measurement means fast, reliable QC of incoming raw materials and the ability to quickly reject batches that fail to conform This fosters the ability to trust the raw materials to produce quality product with less rework

Better process control

Once specifications have been set, maintaining control over your process is key. Using laser diffraction to routinely monitor particle size distributions at critical points delivers rapid feedback so that timely adjustments can be made to keep the process in control. Better process control means more efficient use of plant, materials, energy and human resources and leads to better quality, more consistent ouput with less waste.

Efficient end-product QC

Routine quality control demands reliable, accurate processing of multiple samples and sample types, at speed, to enable timely product release or to green-light the next stage of manufacturing. Often many different parameters must be assessed using a variety of analytical systems, so ease, convenience and flexibility are high on the agenda. Easy to use particle sizing technology that can be used by operators at every level and which delivers meaningful, easy to interpret results helps accelerate product release or troubleshooting. The versatility of laser diffraction allows for rapid change between sample types, aiding all-important throughput and efficiency in a busy QC department.

Delivering that competitive edge with laser diffraction

The challenging economic environment of recent years, amplified for many by the pandemic, have made for fierce competition and difficult trading conditions across a lot of global markets. In a wide range of industries, applying particle size analysis in R&D, product development, manufacturing and QC is important in setting appropriate specifications, improving manufacturing efficiency and delivering products of the right quality for the end-user. Even small improvements to manufacturing processes help drive down costs and get products into the market efficiently. Consistent product quality is important for both an organization’s reputation and the sales it makes. Particle characterization is one of the tools that helps deliver competitive advantage and choosing the best technology and the right systems for the task is crucially important

Sales, service and support

OMEC’s efficient business model means we keep instrument purchase and ownership costs low, overcoming one of the major barriers for many who wish to upgrade to laser diffraction particle sizing. Within this, our commitment to excellence in sales, service and support is absolute. We aim to be responsive, achieve a rapid turnaround and make it easy for you to do business with us.

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Building Materials particle size analysis

Particle size analysis plays an important role in the production and quality control of a wide range of raw and processed building materials.

Calcium carbonate particle size analysis

Laser diffraction offers the flexibility to deliver rapid measurements across a wide size range, using either wet or dry sample dispersion.

Powder coatings, paints and pigments particle size analysis

Particle size influences the performance of any product containing particulate material, whether in a dispersion, suspension, powder, or spray.