Ronnie Brown

By: Ronnie Brown on April 29th, 2022

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How Static Electricity Impacts Test Sieve Analysis

Particle Analysis



Suppose you are a manufacturer of products that consists of several different particles, such as various foods and pharmaceuticals. In that case, odds are particle size analysis is critical to your quality control program. Test sieve analysis, in particular, is one of the oldest particle analysis methods used to date and has become standardized all over the world.

Despite being regarded as highly reliable, test sieve analysis doesn't come without its own trial and tribulations. Hindrances, such as static electricity, can sometimes present themselves, forcing you to tweak your process to maintain accuracy.

Knowing that, what impact does static electricity have on the world of test sieve analysis?

W.S. Tyler has been a trusted leader in the particle size analysis industry since 1842 and takes pride in helping lab technicians hurdle the roadblocks that stand in the way of accurate and repeatable results.

To help you combat troublesome static electricity when conducting a test sieve analysis, the following article will provide insight into:

  • What test sieve analysis is
  • The causes of static electricity when testing material
  • The ways static electricity affects test sieve analysis results
  • How you can stop static electricity in its tracks


What Is Test Sieve Analysis?

Test sieve analysis is a particle size analysis technique in which a test sieve stack is placed into a sieve shaker device to generate a particle size distribution curve. The shaker agitates the sieve stack to promote particle movement through the sieve stack, separating each particle by its size.


During the test sieve analysis process, each individual particle collides with each other, the test sieve frame, and the sieve cloth. This raises the potential to excite and generate static electricity.


What Causes Static Electricity When Conducting a Test Sieve Analysis?

Materials, such as plastic pellets and paint pigments, are known to generate a static charge during testing. Having said that, there are four prominent factors that cause this static charge.

These factors include the surface of the particles rubbing against each other, sieving different materials, the particles insulating the static charge, and low atmospheric humidity.


How Does Static Electricity Affect My Sieve Results?

When static is present, particles can become agglomerated, skewing the accuracy of your sieve results. This is because particle agglomeration prevents large qualities of particles from making their way through the mesh openings.

This means your particle size distribution curve will not accurately depict the actual characteristics of your sample material. Instead, it will reflect your material having larger particles than it does.


How Do I Prevent Static When Conducting a Test Sieve Analysis?

There are two ways in which you can attempt to keep static at bay when testing material. You can either conduct a wet sieve analysis or incorporate material such as burgess clay. 

Wet sieve analysis involves using specialized test sieve and sieve shakers to create a flow of water throughout the test sieve stack. The water surrounds the particle and works to prevent the static charge from jumping from particle to particle.

Lab technicians that don't risk the mess associated with wet sieving or don't have access to a water source can turn to anti-static material to resolve any static-related issues. This can be talc, activated charcoal, powdered magnesium carbonate, or burgess clay.

You should take a small amount of anti-static material and add it to your sample material. For instance, if you are working with a 100-gram sample, you should add 1 gram of burgess clay.

Regardless of what anti-static material you choose, it should be mixed in thoroughly with your sample until each particle is coated. To that end, you will want to weigh your sample both before and after anti-static martial is incorporated.

This will ensure your sieve results remain accurate.

Improve your particle analysis results with a tailored content journey

Improve Your Test Sieve Analysis Setup With the Right Accessories

When conducting test sieve analysis, friction between particles, dissimilar materials, insulated electrical charge, and low humidity all have the chance to create static charges throughout your sample material. Having static present can cause the individual particles to agglomerate and skew your results.

Fortunately, lab technicians can either switch to a wet sieve analysis process or incorporate anti-static material into their sample to inhibit most occurrences of static.

Now, test sieve analysis is a process that you must fine-tune to accommodate the specific needs of your lab setting. It's important to know that there are several test sieve accessories available that can improve the accuracy and overall efficiency of your operation.

Having helped lab technicians yield accurate and repeatable particle size analysis results for over 140 years, W.S. Tyler wants you to feel supported at every step you take towards building the best possible lab setting.

It's for this reason that we wrote the article below to highlight the key test sieve accessories we believe may benefit you:

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.