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What Do Particle Size Analyzer Users Have to Say?

Learn about the key techniques used and more from our latest particle size survey results

by Jason Kerkhof

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

  1. 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 that can be used.
  2. 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.
  3. Are you trying to characterize different particle types in a single sample?
  4. In what “state” should the measurements be made? In many cases, measurement of the particles in the “native state” may not be possible.
  5. 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.
  6. 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:

Laser Diffraction42%
Dynamic Light Scattering32%
Automated Imaging14%
Electrozone Sensing13%
Dynamic Imaging8%
Electrophoretic Light Scattering7%

For respondents engaged in purchasing a new particle size analyzer, the reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Replacement of an aging system32%
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity21%
First time purchase7%
Setting up a new lab3%

Top 10 Features/Factors Respondents Look for When Purchasing a Particle Size Analyzer:

Excellent Repeatability81%
Simple Operation / calibration68%
Durability / Rugged design63%
Wide dynamic range63%
Better sensitivity and resolution62%
Onsite service / support44%
Faster acquistion and data analysis44%
High throughput36%

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