How To Characterize Powder Flow

What is powder flow and why is it important?

Similar to viscosity in liquids, powder flow values denote the resistance of a powder to movement if a force is applied. A wide range of factors influence powder flow – generally speaking, its own physical properties (particle size and shape, chemical structure, static charge, surface morphology, etc.) and the processing conditions (humidity, temperature, packaging behavior, gas adsorption, etc.).

Powder flow is especially important when it comes to the processing, storage and also intake and predelivery control of all kinds of powders, for example concrete, sugar, powder paint, metal powder, glass beads, etc. An intake control may be performed, for example, to ensure that the delivered powder did not get moist (often impossible to determine with the naked eye).

How to measure powder flow?

Powders – as mixtures of solids, liquids and gases – are complex. There is one important value that can be gained when measuring powder flow to simplify this complexity: Cohesion Strength. Cohesion Strength is the internal resistance of the powder to flow. Based on Cohesion Strength, you can predict whether the powder will flow through your process smoothly and whether the quality of your powder has changed.

Anton Paar Powder Cell

Powder flow can be measured with an MCR rheometer combined with a Powder Cell. This gives you all of the measuring possibilities available from rheology in the field of powder, including rotational and oscillatory modes. With the Powder Cell you can simulate and determine powder flow under various conditions. This ensures efficient quality control and smooth powder processing. But the Powder Cell is more than just an instrument for quality control: it also enables you to investigate dry granular flow, especially in the fluidized or near-fluidized state. In this way it is possible to measure powder in any state of consolidation and fluidization as well as in any state between. With these fields of applications, the Powder Cell is the ideal instrument to implement your ideas for further developing the science and art of granular media analysis.

Powder Cell at the CHoPS 2015

We officially introduced the new Powder Cell for the first time at the CHoPS 2015. The 8th International Conference for Conveying and Handling of Particulate Solids is one of the leading scientific conferences on the handling and processing of bulk solids. Besides the possibility to take a closer look at the Powder Cell at our booth, where Ronen Pelov from our business partner Rhenium Ltd and I were happy to answer all the questions, my colleague and leading scientist in the development of the Powder Cell, Dr. Denis Schütz, held a lecture session.

Powder Cell at the CHoPS 2015
Dr. Denis Schütz (Leading Scientist Powder Cell), Elke Riedl (Product Manager Powder Cell), Ronen Pelov (Sales, Rhenium Ltd, Anton Paar’s Business Partner) – Tel Aviv, Israel, May 3 to 7, 2015

Many people came to our booth with new application ideas based on the measuring results presented. Many interesting conversations were held, many contacts were established and many impressions were gained: So we came home with a number of new impulses and ideas for further research. It is clear to me that it was the right decision to introduce the Powder Cell to the scientifically interested audience of the CHoPS, which is the one of the three most important powder conferences taking place this year. We are looking forward to all the follow-up talks and further possibilities to present the Powder Cell to an interested audience.

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