Unilever Takes New Approach to Particle Sizing

Malvern, UK: Waxy semisolids, today the formulation vehicle for many pharmaceutical and personal care products, present a considerable challenge when it comes to particle size analysis, primarily because they are not liquid at ambient temperature. By taking a new approach to particle sizing for these materials using the Mastersizer 2000 system from Malvern Instruments, researchers at Unilever are now confident in their ability to make reliable measurements that are feeding back into improved product development, manufacturing and quality control.

"Particle size is a critical parameter that influences the quality and performance of many of our products," said Mark Flanagan, Process Chemist at Unilever, "but measuring materials that are not liquid at room temperature has posed considerable problems. Our solution has been to place the Hydro 2000SM small volume sample dispersion unit for the Mastersizer 2000 in a high temperature waterbath. We have been fully supported in this by Malvern's applications teams, who have helped to overcome the technical challenges involved. The result is that we can now achieve hot dispersion of semisolid samples, and generate truly reliable particle size measurements."

This new and highly successful approach to particle size measurement in semisolids is significant for Unilever since it provides the company's formulators and QC specialists with a tool for improved understanding and control of their products, and one that will also inform product development.

The Mastersizer 2000 has become the laser diffraction system of choice in many industries thanks to its rapid measurement capabilities, accurate and reproducible analysis, broad measurement range and the flexibility to measure many different sample types. It is especially sensitive to changes in coarse particle fraction and is therefore an excellent tool for studying the sample instability that results from, for example, agglomeration, creaming or sedimentation.

For more information about this new application for particle size measurement in waxy semisolids, and a write up of recent research work please visit www.malvern.com/semi_solids_sizing

About Malvern Instruments

Malvern Instruments provides a range of complementary materials characterization tools that deliver inter-related measurements reflecting the complexities of particulates and disperse systems, nanomaterials and macromolecules. Analytical instruments from Malvern are used in the characterization of a wide variety of materials, from industrial bulk powders to nanomaterials and delicate macromolecules. A broad portfolio of innovative technologies is combined with intelligent, user-friendly software. These systems deliver industrially relevant data enabling our customers to make the connection between micro (such as particle size) and macro (bulk) material properties (rheology) and chemical composition (chemical imaging).

Particle size, particle shape, zeta potential, molecular weight, chemical composition and rheological properties measurements are now joined by advanced chromatography solutions (GPC/SEC), extending Malvern's technologies for protein molecular weight, size and aggregation measurements, and synthetic polymer molecular weight and distribution. The company's laboratory, at-line, on-line and in-line solutions are proven in sectors as diverse as cement production and pharmaceutical drug discovery.

Headquartered in Malvern, UK, Malvern Instruments has subsidiary organizations in all major European markets, North America, China, Korea and Japan, a joint venture in India, a global distributor network and applications laboratories around the world. www.malvern.com

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