The measurement of particles suspended in a stirred vessel using microphotography and digital image analysis

Timothy A. Kramer*, Mark M. Clark

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A novel technique to determine the size of particles suspended in a stirred vessel is investigated. The method uses microphotography to obtain a still image of the particles in situ. The equivalent circular diameter of the particles is obtained from the photographs using digital image analysis. The particles used for the test were certified particle size standards of a very small tolerance in diameter deviation. The size comparison was determined as a percent error between the measured particle diameter (equivalent circular diameter) and the diameter established by the particle manufacturer. To determine the limiting ranges of particle size and concentrations, spherical particles in a size range of approximately 1 to 10.0μm (microns) in diameter were employed in the test. Concentrations varied from 0.00005% to 0.1% (mass basis). For each particle size, an aqueous solution of the particles was prepared at the desired concentration and placed in a stirred vessel. Photographs of the solutions were made at 25.5x, 40x, 60x and 80x magnification. For all sizes of particles, the entire range of concentration was examined. The results indicate a minimum size resolution of approximately 3 μm, in a corresponding concentration range of 0.0001% to 0.05%. Similar limits on concentration were found for the larger diameter particles, although a true upper limit for the largest particle sizes was not established. The functional concentration range appears to shift towards higher mass concentrations with increasing particle size. For 2.92 μm diameter particles, the error in size measurement was found to be below 10% for a concentration range of 0.0005% to 0.05%. Additionally, a relationship between turbidity and the error was seen at low particle concentration levels where decreasing levels of turbidity generated increasing levels of error.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
JournalParticle and Particle Systems Characterization
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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