Since many of us are now working from home, we get to spend more time looking at our possessions. For some of us this prompts a desire to redecorate or buy new things. For me, it’s led me to think more about how particle size is important for the everyday items that surround us. A little unusual perhaps; but having measured everything from chocolate to silver on the Mastersizer 3000, I know how vital the correct particle size is to a great final product.
Laptops have made it easy to take our work home with us. This portability is thanks to Li-ion batteries, and their performance is directly related to particle size. You can find out how particle size affects battery capacity and cycling in this webinar.
It’s not just batteries though, particle size analysis is often a crucial part of the design and manufacture of the electronics on your desk. One oversize particle could have damaged your computer’s printed circuit boards or the LCD screen you’re probably staring at right now.
And if you have an inkjet printer, a lot of work will have gone into formulating the inks. The particle size distributions are optimized for stability and to prevent blockages, as described in this application note.
Particular About Lunch?
By mid-morning I’m nearly always looking forwards to lunch. In the UK nothing says lunch quite like a sandwich and a cup of tea. Much like ground coffee, the particle size of the crushed tea leaves is key to a good brew time and strength. And regardless of whether the mug you’re drinking it from is earthenware or bone china, the raw ceramic materials used to make it will have had a defined particle size distribution.
Bread is one of the oldest man-made foods, with evidence of wheat being ground to make flour dating back to 6000 BC. Wheat flour contains A- and B-type starch granules. These have different particle sizes, the relative ratio of which affects bread quality and digestibility. If you choose to spread on some butter or mayonnaise (both food emulsions), their stability and texture will also be affected by particle size.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Going for a walk at lunchtime is refreshing, especially when the Malvern Hills are on your doorstep. Particle size plays a big part in air quality, be it levels of airborne particle pollution or pollen. Studying the size and shapes of pollen from different plants can help develop treatments for hay fever. Many of us turn to nasal sprays to relieve symptoms, and yes you guessed it, to be effective the particle size of both the spray and active ingredient is critical, as discussed in this webinar.
I could carry on! Hopefully this blog shows that particle size is important, wherever we are!