Powder Flow 2009, a new one-day conference held in London on 16 December, has been judged a resounding success. Organised by the Formulation Science and Technology Group (FTSG) of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) in partnership with Freeman Technology and in association with Dechema, PowderFlow 2009 was conceived to provide a much needed forum for researchers working in this exciting but challenging field.
A capacity audience at the headquarters of the RSC listened to presentations given by leaders from industry and academia. Posters and exhibits sat alongside the conference sessions and there were opportunities to network with industrial and academic researchers united in their aim of developing a better understanding of powder flow. Among the speakers was Professor Antonio Castellanos from Seville University, whose plenary lecture covered recent research into the influence of interparticle forces on fluidisation behaviour. The surprise attendance of Emeritus Professor Derek Geldart, one of the founding fathers of fluidisation technology, was a highlight for many.
Opening the conference Philippe Rogueda, chairman of the organising committee, stressed the importance of further research and expressed the wish that during the day delegates would "focus their collective thoughts on what we are measuring when we use alternative powder characterisation techniques, what the results mean and how we can best apply our knowledge."
Throughout the day, powder characterisation techniques were a key area of discussion, from traditional shear testing to more modern approaches such as indentation testing, dynamic powder rheometry and laser imaging techniques, all designed to give greater insight into powder behaviour. The issue of electrostatics and their impact on powder flow was discussed in some detail while an application focused presentation about dry powder inhalers provided a practical demonstration of the relevance of powder flowability measurements.