Ronnie Brown

By: Ronnie Brown on November 18th, 2021

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Key Test Sieve Analysis Terms You Should Know

Particle Analysis

Test sieve analysis is regarded as one of the most reliable forms of particle size analysis as hundreds of labs across dozens of industries have had multiple decades to refine and perfect this process and share their experiences. While the process has remained relatively untouched in recent years, the way your lab conducts test sieve analysis is always subject to change.

Now, if you are new to the world of test sieve analysis, it is essential that understand the jargon used throughout the industry to make the most out of your process. But even if you are a veteran, brushing up on the key terms may refresh your outlook and help you innovate how your lab does things.

Regardless, W.S. Tylers proudly uses its 140 years of particle analysis experience to help test sieve analysis lab operators guide their team to take that next step forward.

To ensure you understand the key terms that surround test sieve analysis, the following article will cover:

  • What test sieve analysis is
  • Key test sieve terms you should know
  • Key sieve shaker terms you should know
  • Key test material terms you should know


What Is Test Sieve Analysis?

Test sieve analysis is a centries old particle analysis method used to determine the average size of particles within a given sample that represents a production line. It involves the use of several test sieves that are placed into a sieve shaker device that agitates the sieves, causing the particles to fall through the openings in the sieve screen.

That said, it is used by lab operators across dozens of industries, including the pharmaceutical, aggregate, and food industries.


Test Sieve Terminology

As the accuracy of your test sieves is an integral aspect of yielding accurate and repeatable, it's important that you understand them. To that end, the following are the standard terms you will come across regularly when working with test sieves.


Test Sieve


A test sieve is a particle size analysis instrument constructed using a screening medium that hosts precise openings that are uniform in size and shape, which is sacred using a metallic frame and skirt. The purpose of a test sieve is to be stacked onto other test sieves in an effort to separate the individual particles of a sample based on their size.


Test Sieve Stack

The term test sieve stack describes several test sieves stacked on top of one another to form a single column that consists of various sieve cloth specifications. While the order of your test sieves will place the finest sieve at the bottom getting progressively coarser to the top, the sieve specifications you place in your stack depend on the material you are testing.


Sieve Cloth

Sieve cloth is the wire mesh screen that consists of wire diameters and mesh openings that deliver the precision needed to comply with ASTM specifications E11 and ISO 3310-1 standards. When talking test sieves, sieve cloth is generally constructed from either brass or stainless steel, with stainless steel being the prominent material.



The aperture of the sieve cloth defines the measurement between two warp or weft wires that are adjacent. To identify the aperture of the sieve cloth is your sieve, the measurement should be taken from the mid positions of the projected plane.


Test Sieve Frame

The test sieve frame is the component that serves as the main body of the sieve and what is meant when the term sieve height is used. Standard frame heights are 3-inch, 8-inch, and 12-inch in the United States.

100mm, 200mm, and 300mm are the standard sizes internationally. To that end, much like sieve cloth, the frame is typically made from either brass or stainless steel.



The skirt of the test sieve serves two functions: a medium that works in conjunction with the frame to ensure the tensioning of the screen remains drum-tight and that the sieves can be securely stacked to form a sturdy stack. The frame and skirt are constructed from the same material to avoid corrosion caused by contact between dissimilar alloys.



Blinding is the occurrence in which the individual particles of a sample become logged in the openings of the sieve cloth or screen. This can occur when a single particle is the same size as the opening, or several fine particles accumulate in the opening.



The pan is a peripheral used to collect the fine particles that pass through the bottom-most test sieve in the sieve stack.

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Sieve Shaker Terminology

Sieve shakers come in a handful of forms, each with its own benefits and downfalls. Because these traditional devices are reflected in dozens of industry standards, it is important that you understand the following terms.


Sieve Shaker


Sieve shakers are particle analysis equipment that is used to agitate a test sieve stack to help the sample material within it find the screen openings of the various sieves to yield a reliable distribution curve.


Mechanical Sieve Shaker

Mechanical sieve shakers are devices that employ a handful of mechanical moving parts to create a dual brute force hammer tap, oscillating agitation to promote particle movement in the test sieve stack. Despite relying on decades-old technology, these devices are easy-to-use and, for the most part, automated.


Electromagnetic Sieve Shaker

Electromagnetic sieve shakers are particle analysis instruments that employ a three-dimensional elliptical agitation process to help the sample particles find the openings throughout the test sieve stack. This particular sieve shaker variant relies on minimal mechanical movements, making it much quieter and reducing the amount of maintenance needed.


Sonic Sifter

Sonic Sifters are a unique sieve shaker that uses a latex bladder to create sonic waves that generate a vacuum throughout the test sieve stack. In addition, the dual tapping motion is apple at the bottom of the test sieve stack.

Both the tapping motion and the sonic wave vacuum promote particle movement in the test sieve stack, especially when working with finer particles and particles known to become agglomerated.

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Material Testing Terminology

When conducting a test sieve analysis, your results are only as good as the material being tested. To provide insight into what to expect and look out for when working with test material, review the following key terms.


Sample Material


Sample material, also referred to as a representative sample, is defined as a portion of the larger bulk of material that makes up the production line. Gathering a reliable representative sample is possibly the most important step in any test sieve analysis, as accurate and repeatable results start with dependable sample material.


Material Agglomeration

Agglomerated material is used to describe the occurrence when accumulated clumps form throughout your sample material. This is particularly common when working with material that is either moist, fine, or contains some sort of fat/oil.


Particulate Contamination

The term particulate contamination is used to describe the occurrence in which foreign material is introduced to your representative sample. When conducting test sieve analysis, particulate contamination commonly comes in the form of biological matter, metallic fragments, and fibers from clothing.


Implement the Right Test Sieves To Obtain Desirable Results

Test sieve analysis is a traditional particle size analysis process that involves using a sieve shaker device to agitate a stack of test sieves in an effort to separate and analyze the average particle size of a sample of material. As it is a science in and of itself, it is critical that you understand the key terms that surround the test sieves, sieve shaker, and material you work with.

As we guide you through refining how you conduct test sieve analysis, you should understand what test sieve specifications work best for you. While the sieve cloth specification is possibly the most important aspect of your sieves, the sieve size in relation to the material size you plan on using must also be considered.

W.S. Tyler has spent several decades helping customers across dozens of industries and understands the struggles you go through when attempting to develop an efficient lab setting. To get you started on a path of implementing the best possible sieve specifications, we are prepared to sit down with you and learn your process inside and out.

In the meantime, review the following article to learn more about how sieve size and material weight relate to one another:

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.