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Understanding Powder Dispersion: How to Overcome Many Mixing Challenges

Published on Jul 1, 2015 12:00:00 AM

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The ability to disperse and mix powders and rheology modifiers uniformly into liquids is a familiar challenge for many process engineers and manufacturers. Whether it’s cosmeceuticals, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals or functional foods, many industries rely on advanced mixing technologies to achieve the alchemy that occurs when fine, dry ingredients are mixed together in liquids. This form of mixing is also among the least understood — and the most challenging to achieve.

While some forms of powdered ingredients are amenable to dissolution in liquid, others are not so accommodating. Examples of difficult-to-work-with powders include thickening agents such as high-molecular weight hydrocolloids, cellulose gums, starches and proteins. In short, some powders resist incorporation into liquids, making powder dispersion even more challenging. In fact, it’s safe to say that the majority of dry ingredients resist dispersion, posing formidable mixing challenges.

A Superior Solution for High-Speed Powder Dispersion

Fortunately, Quadro has engineered the perfect solution so you can achieve trouble-free solutions. The Quadro Ytron® ZC is an in-line high-speed powder disperser that’s capable of both inline single-pass and recirculating powder dispersion applications. An important step toward uniform powder dispersal is the ability to eliminate clumping and lumps before the powdered ingredient(s) are introduced into a mix. Quadro Ytron® achieves this with its advanced rotor-stator reactor, which ensures that powders will undergo intense shearing as they are being added to the liquid phase, and that enhances dispersal success. Even the most liquid-averse powders can be dispersed in a single pass, in most cases, thanks to the unique high speed mixer design of the Quadro Ytron® ZC. Often, this eliminates the need to incorporate additional dispersion or wetting agents.

Quadro Ytron® avoids adding powders directly to the process vessel, which is where many processes encounter difficulties with dispersal and hydration. Rather, the powder phase is added to the liquid phase in the piping, instead of in the process vessel itself.

Quadro Ytron’s reactor chamber achieves near-perfect vacuum, which greatly aids the speed of powder dispersion. It also eliminates air entrainment, which reduces the time needed to achieve final deaeration. Taken together, the superior powder dispersion rates made possible by the Quadro Ytron® ZC, combined with enhanced hydration performance, can result in significant process time reductions. In some cases, you may find that batch times are reduced by up to 90 percent. These unique properties also mean that you may be able to avoid the need for additional dispersion aids and processes, such as pre-dispersion into non-aqueous solvents, for example. This further reduces costs and process times.

Savings Make Sense

Overall, the Quadro Ytron® ZC makes perfect sense. The Quadro Ytron® ZC reduces the need for extensive deaeration, vastly decreases time needed to achieve dispersal and hydration, eliminates the problem of lumps and “fish eyes” (“fish eyes” are clumps of powder with hydrated skins and dry cores; no process engineer enjoys staring into these “eyes”), eliminates ingredient waste, and improves product yields. Clearly, the Quadro Ytron® ZC can significantly improve your bottom line.

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Posted by Matt Baumber
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