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      11 Jun
    Ajay S. Satpute

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Chemical and Process Engineering Resources

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Category: Bulk Solids
Question: How can one determine the particle size distribution for a given bulk solid?
Keywords: v1i12,particle,size,distribution,measurement,determination,test,testing,procedure
Answer: While there are high-tech methods of performing such an analysis (laser-diffraction and video imaging system are available), the simpliest way is to use a sieve stack.For example, to analyze a particular solid, one would stack several different mesh sizes into a cylinder with the largest mesh opening on the top and progress down through the cylinder to finer mesh. The cylinder would contain a pan on the bottom.Before beginning, weight the test sample, each piece of mesh, and the pan. Then, the sample is loaded into the top of the test cylinder and the cylinder is exposed to a combination of movements (shaken) to allow the solids to pass through the appropriate mesh sizes. Finally, the amount of the sample on each mesh tray is weighed and recorded.A typical results report may look like this:Obviously, this method is appropriate for particles that are small and are able to pass through standard meshes. Other methods would need to be employed for size distribution measures of solids such as wood chips or other particles with a large size range.