Insights from industry

Evolving Applications of Laser Particle Sizing

Andrea Köhler, Marketing Manager at Fritsch GmbH, talks to AZoM.com about the development of laser particle sizing equipment and the evolving applications.

Why are FRITSCH at the forefront of particle sizing?

For over 30 years, FRITSCH has remained one step ahead in the area of particle sizing. In 1985, we revolutionised measurement precision by introducing the concept of laser diffraction in a convergent laser beam with the patented FRITSCH measurement process called Inverse Fourier Design.

The Fourier lens was positioned in front of the measuring cell and a convergent laser beam was made to pass through the measuring cell. Without adding any other optical elements, the scattered light is focused onto the detector.

The FRITSCH ANALYSETTE 22 ensures precise determination of particle sizes worldwide – in production and quality control as well as in research and development. Benefit from its decisive advantages: extremely simple operation, short analysis times and consistently reproducible and reliable results and of course getting the best value for your money.

Two different models are available: The ANALYSETTE 22 MicroTec plus, which is a perfect all-round laser with a measurement range of 0.08 – 2000μm for mostly all measurement tasks or the ANALYSETTE 22 NanoTec plus, which is an advanced instrument for measurements down to the nano range ensuring high sensitivity and precision for the smallest particles by measuring the backward scattering in a third laser beam.

In 2014 we introduced the FRITSCH ANALYSETTE 28 ImageSizer - ideal for all applications where reliable statements on particle shape are beneficial. At the same time, it offers a cost-effective alternative to sieving due to fast and efficient particle size measurement.

The optical process of the dynamic image analysis provides direct visual analysis with an expanded measuring range from 20µm up to 20mm. This provides improved flexibility in most measuring tasks at a remarkable price-performance ratio. By utilizing the FRITSCH ANALYSETTE 28 ImageSizer, users can benefit from the practical experience and technical superiority of FRITSCH in more than 30 years of expertise in particle sizing.

How has the automation of your AutoSampler changed the functional capabilities of this equipment?

Wet dispersion is the ideal standard solution for about 80 – 90 % of all samples. Therefore, the samples are fed into a closed liquid circulation system. An integrated, freely programmable ultrasonic emitter ensures fast and efficient degradation of the agglomerates and is adapted to each sample.

The device can be automatically cleaned and refilled with new liquid subsequent to each measurement, thanks to the built-in water connection. It is hence ready for the next measurement. The AutoSampler enables easy automation of  measurement series and provides automatic sample feeding, dispersion, measurement and cleaning as a convenient attachment for the wet dispersion unit of the ANALYSETTE 22.

FRITSCH-Plus: It is only the FRITSCH AutoSampler that can be arranged on top of the wet dispersion unit and is ready for use instantly without the need for any manual connections or annoying cables. After using, it can also be easily removed by just lifting it off for fast and smooth work processes.

The advantages with the FRITSCH AutoSampler:

  • Work completely independently, right from the start
  • 26 positions for 40 ml standard containers
  • Reliable complete sample feeding due to tilt function and programmable rinsing function with a strong water jet
  • Automatic assignment of the position and measuring result by means the software
  • All function sequences, such as the dispersion and measurement duration, can be specified for each position separately and can be saved a SOP standard list
  • Practical Home button for automatically returning to position 1.

Why is the ANALYSETTE 22 Laser Particle Sizer a key product for FRITSCH?

In modern quality assurance, laser diffraction is indispensable today, for the simple, quick and dependable determination of the particle size.

The areas of application here cover practically all branches of industry from the food industry to the building materials industry up to the application in the chemical industry. For example, laser diffraction can also be found in pre-delivery inspection of base materials, in the quality control during the process as well as of end products, because the knowledge of the particle size plays an important rule.

The fineness of a powder material influence significantly for example the ability to transport in pipelines and the filling of containers, as well as the rate of dissolution in liquids, the strengths of sediments, the separation in filters, the adhesive force at different surfaces, the absorption or the residual moisture and much more.

The particle size adjusted for example the homogeneity of mixtures, the printability of colours, the taste of chocolate, the setting and drying properties of cement, the absorption rate of drugs, the strength of concrete, the homogeneous distribution of printer toner and much more.

How does the ANALYSETTE 22 work?

The FRITSCH Laser Particle Sizer ANALYSETTE 22 uses as its measuring principle Static Light Scattering in a convergent laser beam. A particle measuring range from around 10 to 20nm up to a few millimetres can be covered using static laser light scattering.

When a laser beam illuminates a particle, light scattering is observed and from the angular intensity distribution detected behind this scattering event, the particle size can be calculated. Thus, it can be concluded that laser light scattering is an indirect method for measuring particle sizes and is similar to many other methods where specific physical properties are determined. The size of the particle is then calculated from the achieved values.

The physical theories that support this calculation are the Fraunhofer theory for rather large particles and the Mie theory that applies not only to large, but also to small particles.
Also the dispersion is very important for particle size measurements with Static Light Scattering, because the sample material is transported mostly continuously through a measuring cell. Most important here is that the individual particles at hand are separated and not agglomerates which is why initially the sample material must be completely dispersed.

Two different types of dispersion are possible: wet and dry dispersion. During wet dispersion, the sample is added either as a dry powder or also as a suspension and is continuously transported through a closed liquid circuit during the measurement. During dry dispersion, the sample material is passed via an appropriate jet system at high speed in an air current. Due to the heavy pressure fluctuations at the exit of the jet, the material is heavily tumbled, which causes a breaking apart of at least the larger agglomerates.

Particle measurement is made a fairly simple matter with the FRITSCH Laser Particle Sizers ANALYSETTE 22 MicroTec plus (0.08 – 2000µm) and NanoTec plus (0.01 – 2000µm). No prior knowledge is required. Just start the programme, select a SOP and add the sample – the rest takes place completely automatic. Fast. Reliable. Efficient. So simple, but also very flexible!

Each ANALYSETTE 22 is automatically supplied with the MaS control Software and predefined SOPs, which are sufficient for most measurement tasks. Furthermore, these SOPs can be modified with a well-arranged input mask or individually adapt according to the properties of your sample. The dispersion process and duration, the measuring frequency, the time intervals and many other parameters can be individually changed and stored in the SOP. This aspect provides a new level of freedom in arranging the dispersion and measurement process.

Perfect analysis

Integrated standard reports can be acquired along with the freely editable report generator, which allows measurements reports to be organized according to specific requirements. The reports can combine graphs, statistical values or selected measured values, and all measurement parameters. These can be easily integrated into a local PC network, providing simple, secure and flexible benefits.

FRITSCH-PLUS: Intelligent modular design
Each ANALYSETTE 22 comprises a compact measuring unit that can be quickly and easily combined with various dispersion units for dry respectively wet measurements. This allows you to buy only what you need for your applications.

Your advantages with the ANALYSETTE 22 models: FRITSCH Laser Particle Sizers ANALYSETTE 22 offers significant benefits of particle size measurement, which include freely programmable dispersion and measurement processes, extremely simple operation, quick and efficient automatic cleaning, short analysis times and repeatable and consistent results. These benefits as well as many others simplify your daily work and  ensure excellent measurement results.

What type of material is used on this instrument?

The Laser Particle Sizers ANALYSETTE 22 are universally applicable for determining the particle size distribution of samples in powder form, of solids in suspensions and of emulsions. The instrument is ideal for using in quality and process control and is also perfect for research and development, thanks to the flexible programmability of the entire measuring and dispersion process.

How does the end-user interpret the information generated from the application of the ANALYSETTE 22 Laser Particle Sizer?

The knowledge of the particle size is very important for example for the quality control. Here an example: Measurement of four different types of chocolate samples, two milk chocolates and two brands with a very high cocoa content. It can be clearly seen from the illustration 5 that the milk chocolate has larger particle size diameters than the costlier product (see black line). A finer particle size distribution ensures a softer mouth feel. A clear difference can be seen with the bitter chocolate. Chocolate having 99% cocoa content (red) is also finer when compared to a chocolate with 70% cocoa content.

Can you discuss the key features of the Laser Particle Sizer ANALYSETTE 22?

The key features include:

  • Intelligent modular design: Each ANALYSETTE 22 consists of a compact measuring unit that can be quickly and easily combined with various dispersion units for dry respectively wet measurements. This allows you to buy only what you need for your applications.
  • Practical fast-switch-system:  Quickly switch between dispersion units by simply changing the cartridge containing the measuring cell.
  • Short measuring time: The ANALYSETTE 22 completes most measurements in less than a minute. The instrument is then immediately ready to be used again.
  • Fully automatic analysis: With clearly organised results visible directly on the screen. Of course, you can also print out or save a report customised to your needs.

Are there any plans to advance this AutoSampler?

Not in the moment, because it is new developed Module which is used with Laser Particle Sizer ANALYSETTE 22 MicroTec plus and NanoTec plus. The customers are satisfied with this unit and it is state-of-the-art. If there are any customer requirements, we will modify the instrument.

What markets will benefit from AutoSampler and why?

Everybody will benefit from the AutoSampler, who perform many and frequent particle size distributions of solids in suspensions or emulsions. It enables automatic sample feeding, dispersion, measurement and cleaning of up to 26 samples in 40ml containers in a single step. There is no need for any manual connections as the AutoSampler can be simply placed on top of the wet dispersion unit.

About Andrea Köhler

Andrea started with an education in the commercial field and then gained experience in marketing. Today, Andrea is responsible for the marketing communication internal, external as well as with the worldwide representative of the company, print and online, advertising campaigns, events and corporate branding.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

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