Product News: Unique applications for Malvern Mastersizer 2000 at Chilworth Technology

11 Dec 2006

A Malvern Mastersizer 2000 particle size analyzer is being used in two unique applications for powder explosion and powder handling safety studies being conducted by leading industrial process safety specialist Chilworth Technology.

Particle size is one of a range of properties examined by Chilworth when determining the flammability of materials, and is also a critical parameter in toxicological safety testing of powders.

Particle size has a huge effect on a powder’s sensitivity to ignition, and on subsequent explosion severity. Finer powders tend to have lower minimum ignition energies and temperatures; they also exhibit stronger explosion severity. Even with granules or pelletised materials, fines are normally present somewhere in the process. The Mastersizer 2000 permits rapid, accurate particle size analysis of materials either as solids or in liquid suspension. The system overcomes the drawbacks of traditional mechanical sieve analysis, which often fails because of sieve blinding or agglomeration of the powder, aside from the risks of shaking toxic active compounds in a laboratory environment.

Toxicological safety testing of powders also requires a good understanding of particle size. If more than 10% of a product has a particle size of less than 10 microns, it is subjected to respiratory inhalation studies.

According to Steve Rowe, Technical Manager at Chilworth Technology, “When our previous laser diffraction analyzer, from another company, became unsupported and was showing signs of age, we canvassed the market for a replacement. The Malvern system was selected primarily due to the responsiveness of the Malvern sales and technical teams and their clear desire to match Chilworth’s needs.”

He went on to say: “Technically, the Mastersizer 2000 offers excellent versatility, a wide range of analysis and a very user friendly operating environment. Furthermore, the support provided by Malvern since installation has been second to none.”