Particle size distribution is important for understanding the physical and chemical properties of a material, making it a great cleanliness and quality assurance tool for manufacturers across a variety of industries.
If you’re not familiar with particle size distribution, have no fear. Below we define what particle size distribution is and why it matters to manufacturers, as well as highlight a common analytical technique that’s used to determine distribution and size.
What is particle size distribution?
Simply put, particle size distribution (PSD) indicates the size and the portion of particles present in a specific sample.
Why does particle size distribution matter to manufacturers?
Particle size distribution can be an important physical property or cleanliness indicator for a variety of manufactured products across many industries.
For many manufacturers, measuring particle size distribution helps ensure products are free of contamination. In addition, manufacturers can use measurements to determine compliance with industry standards or regulations, and even uncover opportunities for improving production processes.
But probably one of the most important reasons for measuring particle size distribution is to ensure a product functions as intended.
Particle size distribution affects the strength or reactivity of solids participating in chemical reactions. As a result, hydraulic and combustion fluids, cement, ink toner, cosmetics, and many pharmaceutical products could malfunction if particle size distribution is off.
How is particle size distribution measured?
There are several measurement techniques used by manufacturers and labs including: sieve analysis, elutriation analysis and laser diffraction methods. The type of sample material and whether it’s in a solid or liquid form will determine which technique is best suited for the job.
More specifically, when it comes to ensuring product cleanliness and quality control, particle size distribution is often looked at through liquid particle counting testing.
Liquid particle counting (LPC) is most often used to determine the size and distribution of particulates on precision manufactured devices, or in colloidal solutions, inks or critical fluids.
For example, cleanliness is critical for products such as computer hard drives, magnetic tapes and medical devices. LPC testing can determine if particles are present in detrimental amounts. As another example, water is a critical element in the manufacturing process for pharmaceutical, and it needs to be virtually free of contaminants. LPC testing can ensure water, and ultimately the product, is free of contaminants.
If your company wants to learn more about particle size distribution or find a testing lab, get in touch with Innovatech Labs. We specialize in analyzing micro-particles, but can also recommend other labs to help meet your needs.