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Morphological Characterization Techniques

Many stages in materials development require morphological characterizations. Starting from the determination of medium particle size and particle size distribution up to evaluation of the particle shape and the uniformity of the surface or coatings enable to gather important information related to characteristics of the material. If one can correlate a specific particle shape with the desired crystal habit, even conclusions to structural properties are possible. For porous sorbents, the particle size is correlated to the kinetics of the pore filling, which is most important for the development and use of heterogeneous catalysts, of adsorbers or for chromatographic media.

In case of compact or nonporous media, there is a direct geometric relation between particle size distribution, particle shape and the specific surface area - and therefore to their reactivity or the speed of dissolution. This is important for the synthesis and preparation of soluble salts or dry chemicals up to reactive powders or explosives.

Furthermore, optical aspects like the visibility or invisibility of structural changes play an important role. While structural changes in nanotechnology usually should be too small to be optical recognizable, for the development of pigments a maximum of color brilliance is desired and therefore undesirable refraction should be suppressed.

And, last but not least: "a picture is worth a thousand words..." this is true even in all stages of materials development. Visualization techniques based on optical or electron-microscopical methods enable to illustrate structures, which are invisible for the naked eye - and of course this is not only helpful to present achievements in the development process.

The following methods are most often used to resolve morphology-related problems:

  • laser granulometry / Cilas:
    medium particle size • particle size distribution

  • mercury intrusion porosimetry:
    medium particle size • particle size distribution

  • optical microscopy:
    particle shape • crystal habit • homogeneity of surfaces incl. color •
    medium particle size • particle size distribution

  • scanning electron microscopy (SEM):
    particle shape • crystal habit • homogeneity of surfaces •
    medium particle size & particle size determination

  • transmission electron microscopy (SEM):
    particle shape • crystal habit • medium particle size • particle size
    distribution

  • X-ray diffraction (XRD):
    crystallographic structure

Please contact us to check which method fits best for your needs.

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