Measuring Powder and Granule Properties

Image Credit: Stable Micro Systems

The measurement of mechanical properties of powders and granules is of paramount importance in numerous industries, particularly in the design, formulation, processing, and quality control of powdered and granulated products. Here are some reasons why these properties are measured:

  • Flowability: Understanding how a powder or granule flows is crucial in processes like filling, dosing, and conveying. Poor flowability can lead to issues such as arching or rat-holing in hoppers or feeders.
  • Compaction and tablet formation: In industries like pharmaceuticals, the ability of a powder to be compressed into a tablet and the strength of that tablet are critical. The mechanical properties of the powder influence the end product's quality.
  • Bulk density: This is important for storage and packaging considerations. A powder's bulk density impacts container sizing, shipping costs, and storage capacities.
  • Shear strength and cohesion: These parameters affect how a powder behaves under stress, which is especially relevant in processes like mixing or during the application of external forces.
  • Caking and agglomeration: Some powders tend to form lumps or cakes under specific conditions, affecting their usability. The mechanical properties can give insights into this behaviour.
  • Attrition and breakage: Knowing how prone a granule is to breaking can help in optimising processing equipment and conditions to minimise product wastage and ensure consistent product size.
  • Predicting behaviour under different conditions: Changes in humidity, temperature, or other environmental factors can alter a powder's mechanical properties. Understanding these can help in designing storage or processing conditions.
  • Quality control: Ensuring that powders and granules have consistent mechanical properties is vital for producing a consistent end product, whether it's a tablet, a food item, or any other product made from these materials.
  • Process optimisation: By understanding the mechanical properties, manufacturers can optimize processes for efficiency, speed, and product quality.

Using Stable Micro Systems instruments to measure the mechanical properties of powders and granules helps manufacturers and researchers understand material behaviour better, optimise processes, ensure product quality, and innovate in product development.

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