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Abrasives

For an abrasive material to perform as specified, it is important that it have an appropriate size distribution with no particles above or below the intended size range. To make sure that each batch meets specifications, the sample must be analyzed as a volume (weight) and population (number) distribution. The volume distribution is used to ensure that the range and mean sizes are within specifications, and also that there are no over-sized particles in the sample.

Particle Size

Activated Carbons

Surface area and porosity must be optimized within narrow ranges to accomplish properly gasoline vapor recovery in automobiles, solvent recovery in painting operations, or pollution controls in wastewater
management.

Surface Area

Adsorbents

Knowledge of pore area, total pore volume, and pore size distribution is important for quality control of industrial adsorbents and in the development of separation processes. Porosity and surface area characteristics determine the selectivity of an adsorbent.

Porosity 
• Surface Area 
• Volume/Density

Adsorbents for Pressure Swing Adsorption

The adsorption capacity of alkaline-exchanged zeolites is a key parameter for the design and optimization of pressure swing adsorption processes. PSA is commonly used to produce nitrogen and oxygen from air. Both the capacity and isosteric heat of adsorption are required to evaluate the performance of new materials ASAP 2050XP

Aerospace

The adsorption capacity of alkaline-exchanged zeolites is a key parameter for the design and optimization of pressure swing adsorption processes. PSA is commonly used to produce nitrogen and oxygen from air. Both the capacity and isosteric heat of adsorption are required to evaluate the performance of new materials Porosity 
• Surface Area 

Batteries

Rechargeable nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries require a large hydrogen storage capacity. Increasing the hydrogen storage capacity increases the usable time for a battery. Adsorption and desorption isotherms can be used to understand the performance of NiMH in batteries. ASAP 2050XP

Biological
Materials

Biotech research depends on accurate measurements. Particle sizing of blood cells, platelets, bacteria, plant cells, mammalian cells, yeast, pollen, spores, and many other types of materials is typically done by population (number). Data collected are the number of cells per milliliter and/or the population distribution of cells. For example, these data can indicate to a researcher if a process adequately reduces the bacteria population in drinking water. Population data can also be used to evaluate fermentation processes. Particle Size

Blending of
materials

Many powder products are shipped and used as blends of primary ingredients. The accuracy and reproducibility of the blend can be monitored by comparing the measured densities to the expected density based upon the target recipe of primary ingredients. Volume/Density

Carbon Black

Carbon Black whether low or high surface area carbons will be required. • Surface Area 
• Volume/Density

Catalysts

The active surface area and the porous structure of catalysts have a great influence on production rates. Limiting the pore size allows only molecules of desired sizes to enter and leave, creating a selective catalyst that will produce primarily the desired product. Chemisorption experiments are valuable for the selection of catalysts for a particular purpose, qualification of catalyst vendors, and the testing of a catalyst’s performance over time to establish when the catalyst should be reactivated or replaced. Chemisorption
Surface Area
Particle Size

Catalytic
Cracking

Acid catalysts such as zeolites are used to convert large hydrocarbons to gasoline and diesel fuel. The characterization of these materials includes:
  • Ammonia chemisorption
  • Temperature-programmed desorption of ammonia
  • Temperature-programmed decomposition of alkyl amines
  • Temperature-programmed desorption of aromatic amines
Chemisorption

Catalytic
Reforming

Catalysts containing platinum, rhenium, tin, etc. on silica, alumina, or silica-alumina are used for the production of hydrogen, aromatics, and olefins. These catalysts are commonly characterized to determine:
  • Metal surface area
  • Metal dispersion
  • Average crystallite size
Chemisorption

Cement

Particle size of cement affects setting time and strength characteristics of the finished concrete and cement. Surface Area
Porosity 
Particle Size

Ceramics

Surface and porosity information helps to determine curing and bonding procedures, ensure adequate green strength, and produce a final product of desired strength, texture, appearance, and density. Surface Area
Porosity 
Particle Size
Volume/Density

Ceramics and
powder metallurgy

Density measurements can be used to determine closed porosity from casting, sintering, and forging operations where parts are made from powdered samples. If the density of the finished part is significantly less than that of the constituent powder, closed pores have formed during the part processing Volume/Density

Column Packing Materials

The back-pressure of the packed bed within the column is a direct function of the size of the channels through the bed and, thus, the size distribution of the column packing material. Over-sized particles create voids in the bed, reducing efficiency due to remixing of the separated sample components. Undersized particles lead to blockage of flow paths through the bed, increasing the back-pressure and analysis time. A proper distribution Particle Size

Construction Materials

Particle size of cement affects setting time and strength characteristics of the finished concrete and cement. Surface Area
Porosity 
Particle Size

Cosmetics

The appearance, application, and packaging of cosmetics are influenced by the particle size distribution of base powders, such as talc, and the pigments used for coloring. Surface Area 
Particle Size

Electronics

The manufacture of compact, miniature capacitors using a minimum of costly raw material requires the development of controlled, high surface area material with a carefully designed pore network, Surface Area
Porosity 
Particle Size

Emulsions

Elzone results can be used to determine shelf life, proper emulsification, and droplet size of a wide variety of emulsions including pharmaceuticals, foods, and lubricants. Because the Elzone measures the volume of a particle, the data are little affected if the droplets change shape as they pass through the orifice tube. • Elzone II

Films

Plastic films are produced through extrusion of plastic beads. Film quality is related to the amount of encapsulated air in the starting beads. Density can be used to determine the quantity of entrapped air. In addition, the degree of crystallinity of the final film can be determined using density. Brittleness of the film increases with crystallinity, while strength decreases.. AccuPyc II 1340

Filtration

Pore size, pore volume, pore shape, and pore tortuosity are of interest to filter manufacturers. Often, pore shape has a more direct effect upon filtration than pore size because it strongly correlates with filtration performance and fouling. Surface Area
Porosity 
Volume/Density

Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis

Cobalt, iron, etc. based catalysts are used to convert syngas (carbon monoxide and hydrogen) to hydrocarbons larger than methane. These hydrocarbons are rich in hydrogen and do not contain sulfur or nitrogen. The characterization of these materials includes:
  • Temperature-programmed desorption
  • Pulse chemisorption
Chemisorption

Fuel Cells

Fuel cell electrodes require controlled porosity with high surface area to produce adequate power density. Surface Area
Porosity 
Volume/Density

Hydrocracking,
Hydrodesulfurization, and Hydrodenitrogenation

Hydrocracking catalysts typically composed of metal sulfides (nickel, tungsten, cobalt, and molybdenum) are used for processing feeds containing polycyclic aromatics that are not suitable for typical catalytic cracking processes. Hydrodesulphurization and hydrodenitrogenation are used for removing sulfur and nitrogen respectively from petroleum feeds. The characterization of these materials includes:
  • Temperature-programmed reduction
  • Oxygen pulse chemisorption
Chemisorption

Isomerization

Catalysts such as small-pore zeolites (mordenite and ZSM-5) containing noble metals (typically platinum) are used to convert linear paraffins to branched paraffins. This increases the octane number and value for blending gasoline and improves the low temperature flow properties of oil. The characterization of these materials includes:
  • Temperature-programmed reduction
  • Pulse chemisorption
Chemisorption

Medical Implants

Controlling the porosity of artificial bone allows it to imitate real bone that the body will accept and allow growth of tissue. Surface Area
Porosity

Metal Hydrides

Hydrogen storage capacity is a key parameter for fuel cell systems. PEM fuel cells for vehicles may operate in the 1 - 10 atmosphere range and at temperatures ranging from 20 - 120 °C. The performance of the metal hydride is characterized by its hydrogen storage capacity (adsorption) and subsequent release (desorption) of hydrogen ASAP 2050 XP
AutoChem 2950 HP

Metal Powders

By controlling particle size, very specific pore characteristics can be designed into a product. Porosity characteristics often are the key to product performance. Similar to ceramics, the particle size distribution is critical to green body and final product strength and density. Surface Area
Porosity 
Particle Size
Volume/Density

Minerals and
Inorganic Chemicals

Reactivity of materials is dependent upon exposed surface area and thus particle size distribution. •  SediGraph III

Mining

Refining efficiency of materials is related strongly to the particle size distribution of the raw mineral. For products that are used without chemical change, the size of particles taken from the mine may be too large for final usage. Analyses performed on the extracted minerals will help determine the amount of size reduction needed once the product reaches the processing plant. Particle Size

Nanotubes

Nanotube surface area and microporosity are used to predict the capacity of a material to store hydrogen. Surface Area

Nickel

Rechargeable nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries require a large hydrogen storage capacity. Increasing the hydrogen storage capacity increases the usable time for a battery. Adsorption and desorption isotherms can be used to understand the performance of NiMH in batteries Surface Area

Paints and
Coatings

The surface area of the pigment or filler influences the gloss, texture, color, color saturation, brightness, solids content, and film adhesion properties. Porosity can control application properties such as fluidity, drying or setting time, and film thickness. Surface Area
Particle Size

Paper

The porosity of print media coating is important in offset printing where it affects blistering, ink receptivity, and ink holdout. Surface Area
Particle Size
Volume/Density
Chemisorption

Partial Oxidation

Manganese, cobalt, bismuth, iron, copper, and silver catalysts used for the gas-phase oxidation of ammonia, methane, ethylene, and propylene are characterized using:
  • Temperature-programmed oxidation
  • Temperature-programmed desorption
  • Heat of desorption of oxygen
  • Heat of dissociation of oxygen
Chemisorption

Pharmaceuticals

Porosity and surface area play major roles in the purification, processing, blending, tableting, and packaging of pharmaceutical products as well as a drug’s useful shelf life, its dissolution rate, and bio-availability Surface Area
Particle Size
Volume/Density
Porosity

Pigments

Particle size alone can affect the tinting strength of a color. As tinting strength goes up, the quantity of pigment needed to produce required color intensity goes down. The particle size affects the hiding power of the paints. Also the particle size distribution influences gloss, texture, color saturation and brightness. Surface Area
Particle Size

Plastic films

Plastic films are produced through extrusion of plastic beads. Film quality is related to the amount of encapsulated air in the starting beads. Density can be used to determine the quantity of entrapped air. In addition, the degree of crystallinity of the final film can be determined using density. Brittleness of the film increases with crystallinity, while strength decreases.. AccuPyc II 1340

Projectile Propellant

The surface area of propellants used in the manufacture of munitions directly affects the burn rate. Too high a rate can be dangerous; too low a rate can cause malfunctions and inaccuracy. Surface Area

Rigid cellular
plastics

Closed-cell rigid plastics (foams) exhibit different properties based upon the ratio of open and closed cells. Insulation foams limit thermal conductivity through pockets of trapped gases contained within closed pores. Flotation devices, likewise, owe buoyancy to closed air-filled pores that prohibit water entry AccuPyc II 1340

Slurries

With knowledge of the dry powder and suspending liquid densities, the quantity of liquid in a slurry mixture can be calculated by measuring the density of the slurry. Generally it is expensive to ship excess liquid in slurries, and then to remove suspending liquid before casting operations. On the other hand, too little suspending fluid can lead to difficulty in transporting the slurry due to unfavorable rheological properties of the slurry when the solids content is too high. These rheological properties can be monitored by measuring the density of the slurry AccuPyc II 1340
•  SediGraph III

Toner and Inks

It is important that the particles have a narrow size distribution intoners or inks for printing. If there are any large particles, printer nozzles can clog or streaks can be left on prints. Both volume and population data are useful in analyzing toners and inks. • Elzone II