Does Mechanical Force Matter in Particle Size Reduction?

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David Shechter
Mar 3, 2016
min read
Does Mechanical Force Matter in Particle Size Reduction?

Particle size reduction is the ‘force’ behind many of the products we enjoy on a daily basis. From pharmaceutical tablets to flavorful sodas, the size of the particles comprising them has a significant effect on their effectiveness. Specific benefits include factors like increased bioavailability, longer shelf life, extended efficacy, and improved sensorial properties. The process of reducing particle size is therefore a critical component to consider when planning product synthesis. While various methods are available, a small few, such as homogenization, are more effective than most other machines on the market.

Below we consider the role for mechanical forces, commonly used during homogenization, in particle size reduction.

Homogenization, particularly high pressure homogenization, works by imparting impressive amounts of pressure on a sample while it is being forced through a narrow space. In addition, this method uses mechanical force to further decrease size and create a uniform mixture. Forces that may be used include, but are not limited to, turbulence, cavitation, shear, process intensity, and impact; every machine is different in terms of which are available to the user.

Related to particle size reduction, mechanical force is an indispensable factor in its effectiveness. Because particle size reduction works to physically break particles into smaller pieces, it is important that the particles are only disrupted physically and not chemically. Treatments like heat/cold, ultrasonic force, and electromagnetic force can alter the chemical composition of a sample, which may also alter its ability to function in the intended way. Yet mechanical force only alters the physical structure and leaves chemical structure untouched. Additionally, particles of various sizes, shapes, and sensitivities undergo particle size reduction. While some require higher force, others may need a more sensitive process, and each mechanical force can be intensified or reduced based on sample’s needs.

The above evidence should have convinced you of the necessity for mechanical forces in particle size reduction. If it did not, however, consider the effectiveness of a homogenizer that offers only a single mechanical force compared with a machine that offers multiple mechanical forces. Stirrers, agitators, bead mills, and high shear mixers each use a single mechanical force to reduce particle size. In contrast, high pressure homogenizers use multiple forces and can achieve much smaller particle sizes as a result. Therefore, high pressure homogenizers that offer multiple adjustable mechanical forces will be key to a high quality particle size reduction process.

Pion: Particle Size Reduction Equipment Recommendation

As you hunt for particle size reduction equipment that will suit your lab’s purposes, consider how the above-listed factors will improve the quality of your products. Although many companies manufacture homogenizers, few are of the high quality needed to achieve reliable and reproducible results. One example of equipment that does meet such expectations is the high pressure homogenizer by Pion.

Pion's products are trusted by researchers and lab managers around the world for key benefits, such as production of nano/micro emulsions, dispersions, and suspensions; importantly, this equipment can achieve consistent particle sizes at or below 100 nm, a key benefit for researchers & corporations across a wide variety of industries.

Learn more about Pion's equipment. 

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