The particle size is one of the most important characteristics of particulate materials. It directly affects several properties, from the accessibility of minerals during processing to the mouthfeel of many foods. In industry, the aim of particle size measurement is to first find a correlation between the particle size and the property of interest (e.g. mouthfeel, reactivity, sintering behavior).This information can then be used to modify the properties of the substances via the particle size and also use the particle size as a parameter for quality insurance purposes.
Today, measuring the particle size distribution of a substance is an easy and straightforward task thanks to the modern instrumentation available which often enables measurement in less than one minute. To determine particle size there is a large variety of techniques available, which deliver a similarly large selection of results in the form of means, averages, modes, and other parameters. The key to understanding the results is to first know the meaning of these parameters. In this article we will introduce the basic terms and their use in particle size analysis and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using single parameters vs. multiple parameters to characterize the particle size distribution.