Particle Characterisation

Descriptions of our particle characterisation instrumentation are given below, including specifications and typical applications.

Links to external resources can be found under the 'Resources' tab on the right.

Malvern Mastersizer 3000 PSA

Our Mastersizer system is the latest instrument from Malvern that allows particle size distribution to be measured via laser diffraction. A laser is passed through a dispersed particulate sample and the intensity of light scattered at different angles recorded. This diffraction pattern is correlated with modelled size distributions.

Our current capabilities are for wet dispersion only, in either water or IPA. The system has a measurement range of 0.01μm - 2mm when using wet dispersion.


Particle size distribution has a direct effect on various material properties, such as:

  • Reactivity or dissolution rate
  • Stability in suspension
  • Efficiency of delivery
  • Viscosity
  • Flowability


Particle size range 0.01 μm to 2mm (for wet dispersion) Detection systems

Red light - forward, side & back scattering

Blue light - wide angle forward & back scattering

Accuracy Better than 1% Dispersion Wet (water or IPA)

Better than 0.5% variation

Measurement principle Mie & Fraunhofer scattering
Reproducibility Better than 1% variation

Micromeritics AccuPyc II 1340

The Micromeritics helium gas displacement pycnometer allows the non-destructive measurement of volume and density of powder and solid materials. An inert gas (helium) is used as a displacement medium. Since the sample is sealed a compartment of known volume, when the purge gas is admitted and then expanded into a second internal volume, the pressure before and after expansion can be measured and used to determine sample volume.

Absolute (or true) density, i.e. the density obtained where the volume measured excludes pores and voids between particles, is determined using helium pycnometry.


  • Density determination
  • Volume determination


Precision +/- 0.01% (typical) +/- 0.02% (guaranteed) Sample cell size 1cm3 or 0.1cm3 available
Accuracy Within 0.03% reading, plus 0.03% of sample capacity Temperature Not controlled
Gas Research grade helium