Powder and Bulk Engineering
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
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Publication Date: 02/2005
Pages: 4
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Sensitivity — the often-forgotten parameter in particle sizing

A particle size analyzer’s sensitivity is its ability to identify low levels of too-small or too-large particles in a powder, a critical factor in controlling the final quality of many products. Yet this factor is often overlooked by users choosing a new particle size analyzer. This article explains why a particle size analyzer’s sensitivity is important and presents test results showing the high sensitivity of the single-particle optical sensing method compared with other sizing methods.

Many articles have been published about how to choose a particle size analyzer based on accuracy, reproducibility, and even resolution. But rarely do the articles mention sensitivity. What do we mean by sensitivity? It can be defined as the ability to detect the presence of a secondary particle population several standard deviations away from a sample’s primary population (that is, the particle size distribution’s main peak).

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