Significance and Use
The myriad array of particle size analysis techniques available to the modern-day powder technologist is both daunting and confusing. Many of the techniques are applicable only to certain types of materials, and all have limited ranges of applicability with respect to powder particle size. This guide is an attempt to describe and define the applicability of each of the available techniques, so that powder technologists, and others interested in powders, may make informed and appropriate choices in characterizing their materials.
This guide is intended to be used to determine the best and most efficient way of characterizing the particle size distribution of a particular powder material. It may also be used to determine whether a reported powder particle size, or size distribution, was obtained in an appropriate and meaningful way.
Most particle size analysis techniques report particle size in terms of an “equivalent spherical diameter”: the diameter of an ideal spherical particle of the material of interest that would be detected in the same manner during analysis as the (usually irregular-shaped) actual particle under the same conditions. The different techniques must necessarily use different definitions of the equivalent spherical diameter, based on their different operating principles. However, when analyzing elongated particles, the size parameter most relevant to the intended application should be measured; for example, length (maximum dimension).
Reported particle size measurement is a function of both the actual dimension and/or shape factor as well as the particular physical or chemical properties of the particle being measured. Caution is required when comparing data from instruments operating on different physical or chemical parameters or with different particle size measurement ranges. Sample acquisition, handling, and preparation can also affect reported particle size results.
1.1 This guide covers the use of many available techniques for particle size measurement and particle size distribution analysis of solid particulate (powder) materials. It does not apply to analysis of liquid droplets or liquid aerosols. The guide is intended to serve as a resource for powder/particle technologists in characterizing their materials.
1.2 This guide provides more detail regarding the particle size analysis methods listed in Guide E1919, which is a compilation of worldwide published standards relating to particle and spray characterization. Although Guide E1919 and this guide are both extensive, neither is all inclusive.
1.3 The principle of operation, range of applicability, specific requirements (if any), and limitations of each of the included particle size analysis techniques are listed and described, so that users of this guide may choose the most useful and most efficient technique for characterizing the particle size distribution of their particular material(s).
1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.
1.5 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.