Features and benefits
The market-leading Mastersizer 3000 particle size analyzer is a versatile, compact instrument that aligns with the analytical requirements, resource constraints and demanding workflows of today’s laboratories. Combining expert engineering and applications know-how, it delivers:
- Class-leading particle sizing performance that generates the robust, reliable data you need, while making the best use of valuable laboratory space
- Intuitive software with built-in expertise that eases your analytical workload, enabling you to develop and run a variety of methods efficiently and effectively
- Flexible reporting capabilities so you can display your data exactly as you want it, customizable directly to your needs
- Rapid, effective sample preparation capabilities for suspensions, emulsions and powders, tailored for different sample requirements to provide the understanding you need to optimize your methods and ensure ongoing control
Malvern Panalytical’s unique, practical laser diffraction particle size analysis know-how enables the Mastersizer to deliver results you can rely on, with data quality analysis that empowers both particle sizing experts and measurement novices to deliver insight and results you can trust. For the Mastersizer 3000 price, please click to request a quote.
How it works
The Mastersizer 3000 uses the technique of laser diffraction to measure the particle size and particle size distribution of materials. It does this by measuring the intensity of light scattered as a laser beam passes through a dispersed particulate sample. This data is then analyzed to calculate the size of the particles that created the scattering pattern. Three main elements enable the system to consistently and reliably deliver the accurate, robust particle sizing data that is central to the effective operation of so many industrial processes.
- Optical bench - Mastersizer 3000 delivers measurements from 10 nm to 3.5 mm using a single optical measurement path, making it suitable for an extremely wide range of applications. The dispersed sample passes though the measurement area of the optical bench, where a laser beam illuminates the particles. A series of detectors then accurately measure the intensity of light scattered by the particles within the sample for both red and blue light wavelengths and over a wide range of angles.
- Sample dispersion units - Mastersizer 3000 offers a choice of six wet dispersion accessories to handle an extended range of sample volumes and a wide variety of dispersants. A state-of-the-art dry dispersion system enables rapid and reproducible powder dispersion, even for more fragile materials. Sample dispersion units ensure that particles are delivered to the measurement area of the optical bench at the correct concentration and in a suitable stable state of dispersion to ensure accurate, reproducible measurements
- Mastersizer software - Mastersizer 3000 software meets the growing demand for easy-to-use instruments that deliver excellent results without constant input from experts. The software controls the system during the measurement process, analyzing scattering data to calculate a particle size distribution. Its intuitive interface guides users through every stage of the process, from selecting a robust method through to routine measurement and result reporting. In-built expert advice on method performance and results quality reduces training requirements and makes particle size analysis simpler and faster.
Powder flowability is important in maintaining manufacturing efficiency for many processes. Inconsistent powder flow can directly affect product quality variables such as the content uniformity of pharmaceutical dosage forms, or may lead to process variability as powder feed inconsistencies change the effectiveness of particle size reduction processes. Powder flow is a critical consideration in the manufacture of sintered products using additive manufacturing or 3D-printing techniques. Here, poor flow during powder bed deposition may lead to variations in powder bed density, resulting in defects that reduce the strength of the finished part.
Particle size and particle size distribution analysis are critical to understanding the flow properties of a powder, since these characteristics help predict how particles within the powder will pack and lock together. Powders that have a large particle size with a narrow size distribution tend to exhibit good flowability. Those with a small particle size, or a broad particle size distribution, tend towards poorer flowability because of the greater surface area of contact that exists between the particles and the ability of the fine particles present to fill the voids.
Packing density of particles influences the success of many processes, including mould-filling in ceramic and metal component production, powder coating, and the solids loading of suspensions. The way that particles pack together is a function of both their size and size distribution. Larger particles pack less efficiently than smaller ones, creating bigger voids. Broadening the particle size distribution improves packing efficiency by allowing smaller particles to pack the spaces between larger ones. Minimizing voidage is crucial to producing flaw-free sintered components. In powder coating, close packing enables efficient melting at lower temperatures, giving more time for cross-linking reactions between polymer particles for a better finish.
Particle packing also influences the rheology of suspensions, principally their viscosity. A mix of large and small particles has the least impact on the viscosity of the system because of their greater packing efficiency, a phenomenon that can be exploited to increase the solids loading of suspensions such as paints and ceramics.
Stability of the suspensions and emulsions used and produced in industries such as pharmaceuticals and foods is important in ensuring product efficacy, acceptability, and success. Dispersion stability and gravitational separation are both key elements.
Dispersion stability: Achieving a stable dispersion requires control of the forces of adhesion and cohesion that exist between particles within a medium. These forces can lead to flocculation of emulsions or the creation of agglomerates within suspensions and powders. The risk of poor dispersion stability increases with decreasing particle size and can significantly impact processing. It may lead to powder conveyance issues within manufacturing processes, or problems with final product performance, such as the formation of agglomerates that give rise to imperfections in coatings and paints. Particle size and particle size distribution analysis is used in the management of dispersion stability risk and to identify the impact of stability problems on product performance and acceptance.
Gravitational separation: Improving the stability of a suspension or emulsion to gravitational separation relies on balancing the gravitational pull on the particles, a function of particle size and density, with the up-thrust of the suspending fluid, which depends on viscosity. In emulsions, particle size analysis is used to assess the likelihood of creaming, to which larger droplets are prone, and to monitor stability to flocculation and coalescence over time. Since droplet size and the degree of flocculation may also affect characteristics such as the mouthfeel of a food or viscosity of a drink, particle size should be measured routinely when optimizing and manufacturing emulsion formulations.
Dissolution rates of materials are influenced by the specific surface area of the particulates. Increasing the specific surface area of particles by reducing their size accelerates the dissolution process. This correlation is especially important in pharmaceutical products, where dissolution directly impacts the bioavailability of a drug substance. Agrochemical and detergent manufacturers must also manage particle size to control the dissolution and release rates of active components within a formulation.
Ease of inhalation is an important criterion, both for preventing human inhalation of harmful particles and to optimize drug deposition in the respiratory tract. For all orally-inhaled and nasal drug products (OINDPs), particle size is a critical parameter, with clear size ranges specified for deposition and retention in the nasal cavity and for penetration to different areas of the lungs. In contrast, manufacturers of products such as cleaning materials and hairsprays must control fines to prevent inhalation, making particle size analysis essential to safety testing.
Reaction rates in solid systems are often a function of the specific surface area of the particles involved. The finer the particles, the larger their surface area to volume ratio, which promotes higher reaction rates. This is important in industries as diverse as cement, where particle size impacts the speed of hardening of cement products, and catalyst production, where particle size must be tailored to optimize reaction rates or ensure the effective scavenging of pollutants.
Optical properties such as the light scattering ability of particles are exploited by paint, coatings and pigments manufacturers. The way a particle scatters light depends on its size, so manipulating the size of particles in a surface coating influences performance parameters such as hue and tint strength, product coverage and gloss.
Consumer perception of products such as foodstuffs is often influenced by particle size. For example, the particle size of coffee, the extent to which it is ground, impacts both the flavour released and the time required to brew. A fine particle size in chocolate gives a smooth mouthfeel, frequently perceived as superior to a grainy texture.