Powder Permeability – Measuring How Easily Air Moves

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Video Transcript for Powder Permeability :

The permeability of powders influences the ability of a powder mass to either retain or release air such as during rapid filling of dies and voids for tabletting and capsule filling processes.

Powders with poor permeability can display issues such as capping, where the top or ‘cap’ of the tablet separates due to insufficient evacuation of air from void spaces leading to poor inter-particle interaction, or lamination whereby splitting occurs anywhere but the top of the tablet.

By measuring the pressure drop of a stream of air across a powder column, we can investigate how compaction affects the ability of the air to permeate through the powder.

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Powder rheology and flow testing methods can provide a range of insights into predicting whether a powder will cake, flow, crumble, bridge/arch or rathole. While simple test methods such as angle of repose can provide a quick measurement, they lack significant detail and sensitivity to fully describe how a powder will behave in different scenarios.

Temperature, humidity, applied external stresses, static charge, particle geometry and physical dimensions can all play a role in the final observed bulk powder handling behaviour, sometimes with unexpected results.

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