Laboratory analysis using Laser Granulometry

Your needs : to measure the particle size distribution of a powder

Granulometric analysis is used to measure the size of particles found in a sample, with the aim of understanding their nature.

This kind of analysis is also used to evaluated the quality of powders used in various fields (chemistry, pharmaceuticals, medical devices…) and to ensure that they comply with standards, most notability as part of additive manufacturing.

These analysis are carried out using laser granulometry (wet or dry), sieving or sedimentation.

Our solution : to study the particle size distribution of samples using laser granulometry

To be able to fulfil an increasing number of requests, FILAB uses laser granulometry to measure the particle size distribution of dry or damp powders, with sample sizes varying from 3 to 10nm.

Laser granulometry is used to characterize organic, inorganic and even metallic powders used in pharmaceutical, cosmetic, chemical, ceramic and metallurgical (additive manufacturing) applications, all while abiding by regulatory standards such as ISO 13320.

FILAB is able to provide its technical know-how relating to granulometric analysis and can support you by fulfilling your needs for analysis and expertise :

    • Granulometric analysis (particle size distribution, D50 measurement…)
    • Laser granulometric analysis of powders
    • XRD and SEM powders analysis
    • BET specific surface area measurements
    • Particulate and contaminant analysis
    • Hydroxyapatite powder characterization in accordance with the ISO 13779-3 standard
    • Nanomaterial characterization
    • Development and validation of analytical methods
    • Porosity and permeability testing using Helium Pycnometry, Mercury porosimetry …

What is a particle size analysis used for?

Particle size analysis is a method used to measure and characterise particles in terms of size, shape, surface area, porosity and other physical characteristics. It can identify the types of materials or particles present in a sample and assess how they interact with each other. This information can be used for a variety of purposes, including ensuring product safety and quality control, developing industrial processes that use particle technology to mix, separate or coat materials, or studying the behaviour of particle systems. Particle size analysis can also help to understand how different particles can affect filtration performance or how two different powders can mix. Particle size analysis can be used to measure sedimentation rates and to differentiate between different particle sizes before further analysis.

What is the difference between sieve size analysis and sedimentation size analysis?

Sieve sieve analysis is a physical process that uses sieves to separate particles according to their size. Particles are poured onto a sieve and the sieve is gently shaken, allowing the smaller particles to pass through while the larger ones remain on top. This method works well for measuring the size of small particles, but is not practical for larger particles.

Sedimentation particle size analysis uses centrifugal force to separate particles according to their specific gravity. Samples are placed in a centrifuge and spun at high speed until the heavier particles settle to the bottom of the tube or vessel. This method is more accurate for large particles than sieving, as it separates them according to their actual weight rather than just their size.

What industries might be interested in particle size analysis?

Particle size analysis (particle size analysis) is widely used in a variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, cosmetics, food processing, agriculture and petrochemical production. Pharmaceutical companies use particle size analysis to ensure the quality of their products by determining the particle size distribution of active ingredients in tablets or capsules. The food industry uses particle size analysis to measure the particle size distribution of grain or flour for cooking purposes. Particle size analysis can be used in agriculture to monitor soil erosion and sedimentation rates. Petrochemical companies can also use particle size analysis to study the emulsification or dispersion behaviour of their products.

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Laser granulometry is a modern and widely used technique for measuring particle size distribution in a sample. It relies on the principle of light scattering to determine the sizes of particles within the sample. Here's how laser granulometry works:


Sample Preparation: Before analysis, the sample must be appropriately prepared. This often involves dispersing the sample in a liquid (usually deionized water) to ensure that the particles are well-separated and uniformly distributed. The goal is to avoid particle aggregation, which could lead to inaccurate results.


Laser Scattering: Laser granulometry utilizes a laser beam, typically in the visible or near-infrared spectrum, as the light source. The laser beam is directed through the dispersed sample, which is typically contained in a cuvette or flow cell.


Light Scattering: As the laser beam encounters the particles within the sample, the light is scattered in all directions due to interactions with the particles. The scattered light contains information about the size and shape of the particles.


Collection of Scattered Light: Detectors are strategically placed around the sample cell to capture the scattered light at various angles (usually multiple detectors are used to capture a range of scattering angles). The scattered light is then measured and quantified.


Data Analysis: The measured light scattering data are processed through sophisticated algorithms to determine the particle size distribution. The algorithms consider factors such as the intensity and angular distribution of scattered light to calculate the size distribution.


Size Distribution Output: The output of the analysis is typically presented as a particle size distribution curve, which shows the relative frequency of particles at different size intervals. Common parameters reported include the mean particle size, median size, and span (a measure of the width of the distribution).

Wide Measurement Range: Laser granulometry can measure a broad range of particle sizes, from submicron to millimeters, depending on the instrument's design and configuration.


Speed: It provides rapid measurements, making it suitable for real-time monitoring and quality control applications.


Accuracy: Laser granulometry is known for its accuracy and precision in determining particle size distributions, particularly for polydisperse samples (samples with a wide range of particle sizes).


Non-Invasive: Laser granulometry is non-invasive and does not require the destruction of the sample.


Wide Applicability: It is used across various industries, including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, food, minerals, and more, for quality control, research, and development purposes.


Laser granulometry is a powerful tool for understanding and controlling particle size in a wide range of applications, from optimizing industrial processes to ensuring product quality and performance. Its versatility and accuracy have made it a standard technique in particle characterization.


The positive aspects of FILAB

  • A highly qualified team

  • Responsiveness in responding to and processing requests

  • A complete analytical park of 2100m²

  • Tailor-made support

Thomas ROUSSEAU Scientific and Technical Director
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