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Agglomeration Technology: Mechanisms

By Bryan J. Ennis, E&G Associates, Inc. |

Powder agglomeration is used in a wide variety of the chemical process industries (CPI), and a virtually endless number of process options are available. Selection requires engineers to make a substantial number of design decisions, such as the choice between wet or dry processing, the intensity of mixing and shear rates, continuous versus batch operation, cross contamination of products and ease of cleaning. These choices must be made in light of desirable agglomerate end-use properties. Key agglomeration mechanisms and their impact on agglomeration processing are reviewed in this article. The impact on process selection is also touched upon within the context of mechanisms. Agglomeration processes Agglomeration processes can be loosely broken down into agitation and compression methods. Agglomeration by agitation will be referred to as wet granulation. Processes include fluid-bed, disc, drum, and mixer granulators, as well as many hybrid designs. Here, a particulate feed is introduced to a process vessel and is agglomerated, either batch-wise or continuously, to form a granulated product. The feed typically consists of a mixture of solid ingredients, referred to as a formulation, which includes a key active product ingredient (API),…
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