ASTM D4464 - 10

    Standard Test Method for Particle Size Distribution of Catalytic Material by Laser Light Scattering

    Active Standard ASTM D4464 | Developed by Subcommittee: D32.02

    Book of Standards Volume: 05.05


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    ASTM D4464

    Significance and Use

    It is important to recognize that the results obtained by this test method or any other method for particle size determination utilizing different physical principles may disagree. The results are strongly influenced by physical principles employed by each method of particle size analysis. The results of any particle sizing method should be used only in a relative sense and should not be regarded as absolute when comparing results obtained by other methods. Particularly for fine materials (that is, average particle size < 20 μm), significant differences are often observed for laser light scattering instruments of different manufacturers. These differences include lasers of different wavelengths, detector configuration, and the algorithms used to convert scattering to particle size distribution. Therefore, comparison of results from different instruments may be misleading.

    Light scattering theories (Fraunhofer Diffraction and Mie Scattering ) that are used for determination of particle size have been available for many years. Several manufacturers of testing equipment now have units based on these principles. Although each type of testing equipment utilizes the same basic principles for light scattering as a function of particle size, different assumptions pertinent to application of the theory and different models for converting light measurements to particle size, may lead to different results for each instrument. Furthermore, any particles which are outside the size measurement range of the instrument will be ignored, causing an increase in the reported percentages within the detectable range. A particle size distribution which ends abruptly at the detection limit of the instrument may indicate that particles outside the range are present. Therefore, use of this test method cannot guarantee directly comparable results from different types of instruments.

    This test method can be used to determine particle size distributions of catalysts and supports for materials specifications, manufacturing control, and research and development work.

    For fine materials (that is, average particle size < 20 μm), it is critical that Mie Scattering Theory be applied. This involves entering an optical model consisting of the real and imaginary refractive indices of the solid at the wavelength of the laser. The imaginary refractive index is also referred to as the absorbance, as it has a value of zero for transparent materials such as glass beads. For common materials and naturally occurring minerals (for example, kaolin), these values are known and published, and usually included in the manufacturers instrument manual (for example, as an appendix). For example, kaolinite measured at 589.3 nm has a real refractive index of 1.55. The absorbance (imaginary component) for minerals and metal oxides is normally taken as 0.001, 0.01 or 0.1. Many of the published values were measured at 589.3 nm (sodium light) but often values at other wavelengths are also given. Extrapolation, interpolation, or estimation to the wavelength of the laser being used can therefore be made.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the determination of the particle size distribution of catalyst and catalyst carrier particles and is one of several found valuable for the measurement of particle size. The range of average particle sizes investigated was from 1 to 300 μm equivalent spherical diameter. The technique is capable of measuring particles above and below this range. The angle and intensity of laser light scattered by the particles are selectively measured to permit calculation of a volume distribution using light-scattering techniques.

    1.2 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D3766 Terminology Relating to Catalysts and Catalysis

    E105 Practice for Probability Sampling of Materials

    E177 Practice for Use of the Terms Precision and Bias in ASTM Test Methods

    E456 Terminology Relating to Quality and Statistics

    E691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method

    E1617 Practice for Reporting Particle Size Characterization Data


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 19.120 (Particle size analysis. Sieving)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D4464-10

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