Particle size, shape, density, and distribution affect the physical properties and chemical behaviors of all products comprised of particles or that use them as ingredients: The size of stationary phase particles affects chromatography retention time, pigment particles dictate hue and finish in paints, and physical dimension imparts mechanical, optical, and electronic properties to nanomaterials. Within critical size domains from nanometers to about ten microns, the physical state can be as important as chemical composition.
Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Particle Size Analyzer
- What is the size range you need to measure? Unfortunately, no one technique can measure all possible particle sizes, so the range needed will narrow the potential systems which can be used.
- What exactly do you want to measure and why? Particle analyzers use many different techniques to arrive at measurements. In order to figure out what technique will work best for your application, you need to define what you are trying to measure and why.
- Are you trying to characterize different particle types in a single sample?
- In what “state” should the measurements be made? In many cases, measurement of the particles in the “native state” may not be possible.
- Is measuring the count or concentration (two different measurements!) of the particles along with size/shape important? If knowing an absolute particle count, or a particle concentration is important, then some techniques will be eliminated immediately.
- How easy is it to generate reliable data? Think about your users and ask what, if any, specific expertise is required for system set-up and routine use. Then, ask to make a measurement to assess this during the selection process.
Particle sizing techniques used by survey respondents:
|Dynamic Light Scattering||33%|
|Electrophoretic Light Scattering||4%|
Frequency of particle size analyzer usage by survey respondents:
|Several times daily||27%|
|Several times each week||41%|
|Two to three times a month||18%|
|Less than once a month||14%|
Nearly 45% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new particle size analyzer. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:
|Replacement of aging systems||
|Addition to existing systems, increase capacity||
|Setting up a new lab||
|First time purchase||
Top 10 Features/Factors Respondents Look for When Purchasing a Particle Size Analyzer:
|Simple Operation / calibration||66%|
|Durability / Rugged design||66%|
|Better sensitivity and resolution||62%|
|Wide dynamic range||53%|
|Faster acquistion and data analysis||46%|
|Onsite service / support||44%|
For more information on balances, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit www.labmanager.com/particle-sizing