Influence of Particle Shape on Size Distribution Measurements by 3D and 2D Image Analysis and Laser Diffraction

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Prof. Dr. Eric Pirard , Ir. Arnaud Califice
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The results presented in this report are part of a research aiming to determine the influence of particle shape on the physical properties of powders (such as flowability and compaction).

Most of the time, industrialists are willing to characterize their products with the best accuracy and reproducibility. But the results obtained by different techniques may vary, and the interpretation of those results may not always be correct, depending on the characteristics of the analyzed products.

The influence of particle shape on particle size distribution results obtained by different techniques was investigated. Such studies were already done in the past, but the products prepared here were mixes of two metallic powders presenting extreme shape properties (sphere-like and fibre-like particles).

Five products containing two types of particles with different shapes were prepared. 2D dynamic image analysis and laser diffraction results were compared to 3D image analysis results, taken as the reference.

It appeared that usual image analysis size parameters such as the equivalent area disc (or sphere) diameter, often used in image analysis software, did not give meaningful results in regard of the true physical dimensions of the particles. The existence of two populations could not be highlighted with that size descriptor.