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Solutions to electrostatic problems in powder handling and processing

Electrostatic charges are the cause of problems in many industries where powdered materials are manufactured or processed. Electrostatic hazards are now well understood, but powder handling and processing problems still occur which can reduce quality and productivity leading to inferior products and higher costs. At the root of these difficulties is a lack of understanding of their cause and a lack of appropriate solutions, shortcoming which are being addressed by a consortium of 5 companies.

By focussing on the specific operations of one of the partners the group has been quantifying electrostatic problems and comparing various charge control techniques. This is providing the basis for the development of methods and/or equipment for use on full scale plant.

The specific processes which have been addressed, and for which laboratory scale units have been constructed, are pneumatic conveying, milling, and mixing and blending. Clearly, practical problems with these processes can now be readily investigated. Furthermore, the broad appreciation of powder problems and their solutions through working with these processes means many of the lessons can be applied to other processes.

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