Particle analyser for non-aqueous solvents

Paul Boughton

The Sysmex FPIA-3000 automated particle shape and size analyzer from Malvern Instruments now includes the facility to measure particles suspended in non-aqueous solvents, as well as those in water-based materials.

This is especially important in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, where there is often a requirement to measure the shape and size of particles that are soluble in water. The Sysmex FPIA-3000 can now accommodate all common solvents including acetone, methylethylketone, ethyl acetone, xylene and toluene.

Since particle geometry as well as size is known to affect the characteristics and behaviour of particulate materials, the ability to measure particle shape continues to grow in importance. The fully automated Sysmex FPIA-3000 can measure particles in the range 0.8 to 300 microns and delivers both particle size and shape information.

Using a CCD camera, the system produces images of each particle and provides a scattergram of shape index versus particle size in just 2.5 minutes.

Samples pass through a sheath flow cell that transforms the particle suspension into a narrow or flat flow, ensuring that the largest area of the particle is oriented towards the camera and that all particles are in focus.

The CCD camera captures 60 images every second and these are analyzed in real time. Numerical evaluation of particle shape is derived from measurement of the area of the particle. A number of shape factors are calculated including circularity, aspect ratio and circle equivalent diameter.

All measurements are stored, as are the particle images, and the system provides comprehensive data analysis and display parameters, together with a variety of options for data output.

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