What's Your Problem?

 

Scientists and engineers typically look to measure the flow properties of their materials when they are having specific problems with their process or with the use of their material. Testing the flow properties of powders and granular material is easy. Determining which flow properties are relevant to the application can be more challenging. The reason is that not all flow properties are directly related to the problem being studied. In addition, many application issues result not from the initial properties of the material but rather to the fact the these properties have changed as the material is processed or used. For this reason, our instruments offer many methods for testing materials and for testing how the materials change over time as they are subjected to environmental conditions. The data from all of these tests can be very interesting but usually only one test is required to solve any given problem.

The  key to solving handling or use problems with materials is to first understand the nature of the problem. Once the problem is defined, then it is straightforward to determine the appropriate flow property to measure to correct the problem. 

For example, a typical problem is that a material works well when it is fresh but performs poorly after storage. The first question to answer is what does perform well and perform poorly mean? Does perform well mean that the material flows easily from its storage container or silo? Does perform poorly mean that it contains aggregates and clumps that do not feed well through a feeder? The next step is to then define the storage conditions, i.e. the humidity level, temperature, and pressure conditions the material will be under. With these questions answered it is easy to set up the appropriate test to measure study the problem.

Below is a sampling of the types of material problems that can be studied with our instruments: