Sizing Solids with Help from the Web

July 15, 2002

To adjust the size of solid particles to match product specifications, plant personnel often require specialized equipment and understanding. As the Internet has grown, so has the number of references for this important topic. Although some of the available information comes at a price, good resources also are available at no charge.

Locating solids processing information can be challenging. The 11-page Solids Processing Handouts from Professor Chase of the University of Akron provides a convenient guide to solids-processing nomenclature and topics and can be accessed at It might be considered a keyword generator. Although the notes principally are for use in a solids processing course (, much of the information could contribute to a better understanding of the topics by practicing engineers.

Particle technology notes and learning resources ( from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne "Chemical Engineering Swot Shop" ( include links to course study notes and educational resources for particle technology (ERPT). A series of articles exploring the behavior of particles and particle size distribution also is included. Of particular interest are the technical areas of size reduction, attrition, size enlargement, particle physics and particle characterization. All of these areas are linked from the ERPT home page at

Agglomeration can be difficult to define. The Working Party on Agglomeration,, connects and combines industry, research and student resources. An up-to-date assessment of the topic is provided. Links are provided to institutions and companies that deal with agglomeration. A list of recommended publications concerning agglomeration also is supplied.

Two additional Web-based references might help further the understanding of agglomeration. "Agglomeration Methods and Equipment" ( by Peter Koenig of Hosokawa Bepex,, provides a useful in-depth introduction to agglomeration. The 80-page APV Dryer Handbook ( online at the University of Texas at Austin's CACHE University,, explains how spray-drying process variables affect the particle size of dry solids.

Despite the vast resources available on the Internet, books remain some of the best technical sources. The Process Associates of America's BookShelf ( includes a selection of size reduction and size enlargement reference books,, listed by "editor's choice" and further listed alphabetically by title. A second topic listing, "Solid-Solid Operations and Equipment" (, also describes some applicable titles. Most of the books are reviewed at the associated link provided along with the listing.

"Find Information on Your Subject" ( is a good review, as well as a primer, to using printed and electronic sources of information. The source is Heriot-Watt University Library, Edinburgh, Scotland. The library's "Concise Guide to Information Sources in Chemical and Process Engineering" ( includes a number of Internet gateways for chemical and process engineering, many of which are referenced in earlier "On the Web" columns. A more detailed guide also is available.

Another area of particular concern is the rapid pace with which the markets change, especially with respect to the Internet and e-business. "Knowledge@Wharton" ( is a biweekly online news source that offers business insights, information and research from a variety of sources. It is a free site, but to access its contents, you must register. CP

Hodel is

Chemical Processing's Internet columnist. Contact him at [email protected].