How to select an agglomeration method — Part I
Enlarging particle size by agglomeration can be achieved by several methods. The method best suited to your application depends on several factors. In this two-part article, the author discusses which factors to consider when selecting a method as well as how to size the agglomeration equipment for your application. Part I covers selection factors related to your feed and agglomerate. Part II [to appear in the March 1999 issue] discusses factors related to the equipment and your plant location, how to use an agglomeration method selection table, and how to select and size your equipment.
Agglomeration is the size enlargement of particles by various mechanisms, such as particle interlocking, molecular [van der Waals], electrostatic or magnetic forces, chemical reaction, or the use of a hardening binder. An agglomerated material is desirable in many solids processing and handling applications. It contains little or no dust, flows freely for easy metering, and has good storage and handling characteristics. An agglomerate also has a defined shape, high bulk density, and low bulk volume. Its porosity and density can be controlled, within limits, to influence the material's solubility, reactivity, heat conductivity, and other properties. An agglomerate often has better product appeal and sales value than a fine particle product.