Bead Homogenizers vs. High Pressure Homogenizers

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Deb Shechter
Dec 1, 2016
min read
Bead Homogenizers vs. High Pressure Homogenizers

Homogenization is a large and rapidly growing field, critical to a variety of industries, including biotech, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, chemical, and food. Homogenization involves blending, mixing, emulsifying, dispersing, or otherwise disrupting particles in order to modify their size and ensure even dispersion.

The current methods of homogenization can easily be broken down into three major categories: ultrasonic homogenization, pressure homogenization, and mechanical homogenization. While ultrasonic homogenization has its benefits, most homogenizers fall into the category of pressure or mechanical homogenizers – more specifically, bead homogenizers and high pressure homogenizers. Continue reading to learn the differences between these types of homogenizers as well as how we at BEE International can help you pick the right homogenizer to suit your specific needs.

Bead Homogenizers

Bead homogenizers -- also known as bead mill homogenizers -- can be used for liquids or solids, and work through shear force. With this homogenizer type, samples are introduced into a chamber surrounded by beads. The beads are agitated and work to homogenize the sample by disrupting cells and/or breaking up tissue. Bead homogenizers are great for processing tissue samples for laboratory or R&D use, boast high throughput levels, and are quick.  However, due to the closed system in which bead mills operate, there are sample size limitations, which make these homogenizers impractical for large scale homogenization.

High Pressure Homogenizers

Alternatively, high pressure homogenizers offer an effective way to mechanically disrupt particles on a much larger scale. In high pressure homogenization, liquids are driven through a narrow channel under pressure. Higher homogenization pressure results in a higher efficiency of disruption of cells. Similar to bead homogenizers, high pressure homogenizers work through shear force. However, additional forces come into play with high pressure homogenizers: cavitation, fluid-on-fluid impact, and turbulence. The combination of these forces results in a more thorough and effective emulsification of product.

High pressure homogenizers tend to be much larger and heavier than bead homogenizers; however, the benefits are virtually endless: high pressure homogenizers offer constant, uninterrupted pressure, which eliminates the possibility of contamination. These homogenizers also offer consistent, repeatable results with fewer required passes.

Pion's BEE brand offers a number of high pressure homogenizers to suit the needs of any industry. Our homogenizers have the ability to be fine-tuned to meet your unique needs:

  • Turbulent premixing can be replaced with a laminar flow
  • Cavitation can be intensified or reduced as needed
  • Shear process time can be adjusted to be shorter or longer
  • Impact can be maximized with our reverse flow setup
  • Process intensity can be increased or reduced

Contact us to learn more about our technology and how our wide offering of high pressure homogenizers can meet your company’s needs.

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