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The Basic Principles of Sieve Analysis

Retsch GmbH


Many natural and manufactured materials occur in a disperse form, which means that they consist of differently shaped and sized particles. The particle size distribution, i.e. the number of particles of different sizes, is responsible for important physical and chemical properties such as: mechanical bulk behavior, surface reaction, taste, miscibility, filtration properties and conductivity

This list could be continued at great length. The examples clearly show how important it is to have knowledge of the particle distribution, particularly within the context of quality assurance in the production of bulk goods. If the particle distribution changes during the manufacturing process then the quality of the finished product will also change. Only a continuous monitoring of the particle size distribution can guarantee a constant product quality.

Particle size determination methods

There are different methods for determining the particle distribution. The choice of a particular method depends primarily on the dispersion status, i.e. on the degree of fineness of the sample.

The oldest and best-known method is particle size determination by sieve analysis. The particle size distribution is defined via the mass or volume. Sieve analysis is used to divide the granular material into size fractions and then to determine the weight of these fractions. In this way a relatively broad particle size spectrum can be analyzed quickly and reliably.

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