When I was first offered my job as a product technical specialist at Malvern Panalytical (was Malvern Instruments at the time), I called my parents to tell them all about it. Because my mum is of the age where girls in the UK were taught domestic science in school rather than biology, chemistry and physics, she has a kind of ‘mental block’ about science. Anyway, she said, “But Sarennah, where are all these particles? What are they?” And that stumped me for a moment. Because I work with laser diffraction, which means I specialize in characterizing particle size, and so I know particles are everywhere, in almost every manufacturing process and product one can buy.

Particles around the world

This year there will be a theme of “Particles around the world” for a series of blog posts from our technical specialists. And it has fallen to me to write the introductory post. So, I thought of Phileas Fogg and I gave myself five minutes to come up with 80 different particles:

Abrasives for carpentry Ink jet inks
Abrasives for cleaning products Innovator drugs
Active pharmaceutical ingredient powders Lactose
Agrochemical sprays Magnesium stearate
Air fresheners Matcha green tea
Athletes foot powder Metal flakes for paints
Baby powder Metal powders for additive manufacturing
Bacteria Meter-dosed inhaler formulations
Binders Mica flakes for iridescent eyeshadow
Calcium carbonate Nasal sprays
Carbon nano-tubes Nebuliser formulations
Catalyst powders Oil droplets in sea water near oil drilling platforms
CementOven cleaner
Ceramic slurries applied by ink jet Packaging materials
ChocolatePaper coatings
Clay Pest control
Coal dust Phages
Coffee Pigments for cosmetics
ConcretePigments for paints
Construction materials Pollen
DeodorantPolymer feed stocks
DNA Preservatives
Dried milk powder Pigments for paints
Drilling muds Protein powders for athletes
Dry powder inhaler formulations Proteins
E-cigarette vapor Sand
Excipients Shell fragments
Fertilizers Silt
Fire suppression systems Smoke from scented candles
Flour Spray coatings
Fortifying vitamins Sugar
Fuel injection sprays Sweeteners
Furniture polish Tablet mixtures
Generic drugs Talc
Graphene Tea
Graphite Tobacco cigarette smoke
Gravel Vaccines
Grit Virus
Hairspray Water droplets in crude oil
Industrial diamond Window cleaner

So, as you can see, particles really do surround us, and come in all sizes. Follow this blog series to learn more about particles characterized around the world using Mastersizer platforms.