Analytical instrumentation supplier Malvern Panalytical, part of Spectris plc, Egham, Surrey, UK, has launched a new dynamic imaging accessory which it states provides a “window to deeper materials insights” for researchers, scientists, and quality control managers.
The new tool, called Hydro Insight, was created by combining the imaging technology of Vision Analytical, a supplier of material characterisation solutions that specialises in particle size and shape, with Malvern Panalytical’s flow cell technology.
Hydro Insight is designed to work alongside Malvern Panalytical’s Mastersizer 3000 particle sizing instrument and enables real-time particle imaging of both individual particles and liquid particle dispersions. Based on these images, it also generates quantitative data on particle shape, such as width and elongation data, to complement the Mastersizer 3000’s particle size data.
“Laser diffraction is a highly valuable tool for particle size analysis, but to ensure truly high quality and performance, scientists sometimes need additional materials insights,” explained Anne Virden, Product Manager Micro-Materials. “In particular, when it comes to getting to know your materials, there’s nothing better than actually being able to see your sample up close.”
Metal powders for high-value Powder Metallurgy applications such as Additive Manufacturing have strict specification requirements, because small variations in input material can adversely affect the properties of the final component. In assessing the quality of metal powders for AM, particle sizing and analysis is an important step.
“By combining the high resolution of imaging with the wide dynamic range of laser diffraction, we’re able to provide a more comprehensive overview of a material than with laser diffraction alone,” she continued. “This allows researchers and scientists to get deeper insights into how the combination of particle size and shape is affecting their material’s behaviour – including packing, flow, and dissolution rate. It’s a solution that really demonstrates how the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts.”
In addition, “the particle images make it easier to troubleshoot unexpected particle size results, enabling greater confidence in the materials and, ultimately, the final product,” Virden stated. “And, because it lets you see your dispersion throughout the process, the Hydro Insight also makes it quicker for scientists to develop new particle sizing methods, or to switch from sieving to laser diffraction.”
“I’m very excited to see all the important scientific advances that the Hydro Insight unlocks,” Virden added. “With its unique combination of benefits, we believe our new accessory will help accelerate innovation in Additive Manufacturing, batteries, medical applications, and beyond.”