How Particle Agglomeration Affects Test Sieve Analysis
Test sieve analysis is a particle analysis that is designed to test free-flowing particles of variating sizes. But as lab conditions change and the list of material manufacturers must test grows longer, you may encounter instances in which your material agglomerates before and during testing.
As yielding accurate and repeatable results is a significant element to maintaining an efficient operation, you must work to prevent particle agglomeration. Doing so requires you to identify what is causing the agglomeration and implement best practices to combat it.
W.S. Tyler is a prominent leader of the particle analysis industry with over 140 years of experience and is dedicated to helping lab technicians and managers perfect their test sieve analysis process.
Having said that, this article covers:
- What particle agglomeration is
- What causes particle agglomeration
- How particle agglomeration affects test sieve analysis results
- How to prevent particle agglomeration
What Is Particle Agglomeration?
When conducting a particle size analysis, particle agglomeration refers to the agglomeration of the individual particles that make up your sample material. As most test sieve analysis processes rely on the use of dry, free-flowing material, particle agglomeration can hinder your ability to yield accurate and repeatable results.
To that end, there is often a tendency to blame the sieve shaker or test sieves when particle agglomeration occurs; however, this is rarely the case. It's usually the material itself.
What Causes the Agglomeration of Particles?
Typically, when there is an issue of particle agglomeration, that is a sign that the particles of the sample material are moist or damp. This can either be caused by the material coming into contact with a foreign liquid or even the humidity in the room.
Some particle agglomeration can also be caused by static electricity. This can be caused by the general properties of the material itself; however, the location of your lab and other outside elements, such as humidity, often aid in the creation of static amongst your particles.
How Does Particle Agglomeration Affect Particle Analysis Results?
If you experience particle agglomeration when conducting a test sieve analysis, odds are you will have trouble gathering an accurate representation of the quality of the production line. This is because agglomerated particles will not accurately pass through the sieve stack, causing individual sieves in the stack to hold more material than expected.
How Can I Prevent Particle Agglomeration?
Depending on the material being tested, you can sometimes evenly distribute the particles on a metal sheet and place them in an oven. This will rid the particles of any moisture, allowing any agglomeration to be broken up by the hammer tapping and oscillating motions of the RO-TAP® Sieve Shaker.
If you suspect your particles are agglomerating because of static electricity, it is recommended that you lightly wipe the inside edge of the frame as well as the surface of the mesh screen with a dryer sheet. Burgess clay can also be added in small quantities to prevent static; however, you will want to make sure you weigh the sample material with the burgess clay prior to testing the material.
If the particle agglomeration is severe, it may be a good opportunity to introduce an Alpine Air Jet Sieve to your lab. This is because the Alpine Air Jet Sieve utilizes a vacuum system that is intended to break down and test material that often becomes agglomerated.
Combat Common Issues With the Right Test Sieve Accessories
Particle agglomeration is the occurrence in which large quantities of particles consolidate together, forming clumps of material that often hinder the ability to gather reliable test sieve analysis results. If you begin to encounter particle agglomeration, you should start asking questions, such as "Have there been any recent changes to my particles?" and "Are my particles truly considered dry, free-flowing material?", to begin identifying solutions.
But it's to understand that you may never encounter particle agglomeration but will face other obstacles that can affect the accuracy of your results. To prevent costly retesting, you must explore the various test sieve accessories that are designed with the type of material you are testing in mind.
With over 140 years of particle size analysis experience, W.S. Tyler is here to help you fine-tune your operation and ensure you implement an efficient test sieve analysis process.
To learn more about the accessories you can use to enhance your test sieve analysis process, read the following article:
About Ronnie Brown
Ronnie is the Content Writer for W.S. Tyler and has four years of experience as a professional writer. He strives to expand his knowledge on all things particle analysis and woven wire mesh to leverage his exceptional writing and graphic design skills, creating a one-of-a-kind experience for customers.