Delft Solids Solutions B.V. laboratory
2600 BA Delft
Delft Solids Solutions is a contract analysis and R&D laboratory founded in 2002. We provide high quality services and research in materials characterisation. Our core activities include powder, particle and porosity characterisation, which are applicable to a wide variety of powders, granules and other solid materials. A more detailed description of particle properties on the micro-level allows an improved understanding of the behaviour and control of solids on the macro-level.
A broad range of techniques and instruments including method development and consulting is available for bulk solids characterization: physical gas adsorption, chemical gas adsorption, mercury porosimetry, laser diffraction, photon correlation spectroscopy (PCS), sieving, helium pycnometry, microscopy. Besides investigation of these fundamental parameters, our laboratory infrastructure is also capable of measuring flowability, segregation, crushing strength, shear, and dustiness characteristics of powders. In this way, a firm link can be established between the various physical properties of solids and their behaviour during processing, handling and application.
Information typically obtained comprises:
- Specific surface area (e.g. BET analysis)
- Pore volume
- Pore size distribution
- Metal surface area
- Metal dispersion
- Particle size distribution
- Density (bulk, apparent, skeletal, tap)
- Flowability (Carr indices)
- Oil absorption index
- Multi-element composition
Bulk solids characterisation
In any particulate process, the physical characteristics of powder and granular material e.g. cohesiveness, density, compressibility, particle size distribution, particle shape and humidity have an effect on the properties and behaviour of the bulk material. To this end, several techniques and methodologies are available for (bulk) solid characterisation.
Compact strength testing
The technique measures the strength of consolidated powder after uniaxial compaction. The force at failure is measured as a function of the surface ratio and is suitable for processes which don’t involve steady state shearing as for storage of powders in silos but for problems in powder technology for which the construction of the flow function is not representative like caking behavior, tabletting at low stresses, storage in big bags, trains, mixers or storage in any container in which the compaction of the powder is governed mainly by its own weight.
Flowability by Hosokawa powder tester
Bulk powders are characterised by seven mechanical measurements and three supporting measurements. This provides a numerical evaluation of the characteristics of a powder by determining the flowability and floodability at the transition points when transferred from a static to a dynamic state. The measured values are assigned to indices based on standardised analysis of about 3000 different bulk materials by R.L. Carr.
Heubach dust analysis
Heubach is the European standardized method for the determination of dust generated by the handling of powders, granules, tablets, etc. These emissions tend to generate human diseases or cause other environmental effects. The sample is placed into a stainless steel drum with three blades inside. Handling and conveying is simulated by the rotation of the drum. The dust released from dropping material is conducted by an air flow to a sampling section where it is pre-separated aerodynamically and the airborne particles are deposited onto a filter. The particulates are quantified or can be used for further analyses.
Delft Solids Solutions now offers dust measurement following EN 15051
During the Easyfairs SOLIDS 2011 exhibition (Rotterdam, 5-6 October 2011), Delft Solids Solutions will for the first time showcase her newly acquired dust measurement equipment fully working in accordance with the EN 15051 standard “Workplace atmospheres – Measurement of the dustiness of bulk materials”. This method is more and more often used in the quantification of dustiness of existing but especially newly-introduced powder materials. It is also a required method by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the USA.
In view of workplace safety and healthiness, more and more attention is paid to the formation of dust during conveying of powder-containing or powder-releasing products. The harmfulness of airborne dust particles is classified in so-called inhalable, thoracic, and respirable dust fractions. This classification corresponds to the size of the particles, the degree of penetration in the human respiratory system and thus the health hazard.
The Delft Solids Solutions laboratory has now the capability to quantify the various dust fractions employing the so-called rotating drum method, fully in accordance with the EN 15051 standard. In this method, a known amount of powder is placed in a specially-prepared drum that rotates at a given speed. A calibrated air stream flows through the drum and guides the airborne particles to special filters that are able of separating the dust particles based on their harmfulness (inhalable – thoracic - respirable).
Delft Solids Solutions is pleased to provide you additional information on the possibilities of the EN 15051 dust measurement; the staff can be found at booth no. A1000 during the Easyfairs SOLIDS 2011 exhibition.
Laboratory analysis of segregation of powders
Delft Solids Solutions now offers the capability to test the tendency of (pharmaceutical) powders towards segregation in its laboratory.
Considerable efforts are often devoted to the mixing of several different species of powders (of various sizes, shapes and densities) in order to have a homogeneous mixture of the intermediate or final product. Nevertheless, a well-mixed system may segregate during handling, e.g. when discharging into a bin or big-bag, transportation in a truck or pipe-line, but this could also occur when loading the powder in e.g. a tablet press for production of pharmaceutical tablets. Surprisingly, this phenomenon is often overlooked or not adequately tackled.
Prediction and quantification of this segregation phenomenon can now be executed in the Delft Solids Solutions laboratory. The fluidization segregation tendency of powders is assessed in accordance with ASTM D 6941 standard. In this segregation test, a fixed volume of a representative powder sample is fluidized and collected in different fractions. Subsequently, typical characteristics (e.g. particle size or density) of the top and bottom fraction are determined in order to quantify the segregation tendency of the sample. This experimental approach improves the understanding of how transportation and handling efforts can lead to the often undesired segregation of powders.
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