Building materials are required for a wide range of construction work including carpentry, roofing, structural reinforcement, insulation, and plumbing. The particle size and particle shape of the raw materials influence quality and performance of the end product, and therefore require quality control by particle characterization. Microtrac analyzers are successfully used to determine the size and shape of various building materials.

Building materials range from naturally occurring substances such as rock, clay, sand, and wood to synthetic polymers and multiple combinations of both (composites). Concrete or mortar are for example mixtures of cement and aggregates like sand or gravel.

Why are particle properties so important for building materials?

The particle size and particle shape of raw materials are important for many reasons. The particle size distribution has various effects on the processing of building materials, for example:
  • Powder flow: a wide distribution or too many fines reduce flowability
  • Segregation: a wide distribution will lead to size segregation
  • Suspension rheology: fines or irregularly shaped particles increase viscosity

Problematic effects due to oversized particles

  • Poor quality of the final product (grains sticking out of the plaster, rough surfaces of tiles, inhomogeneous materials may break)
  • Changes in the “look and feel” of the final product
  • Changes in the flow behavior and other process parameters of the final product
  • Blockage of production sieves
  • Removal of material from the production process, and recycling (additional costs and effort)

Problematic effects due to undersized particles

  • Change of the “look and feel” of the final product
  • Dust (pollution) in the work place
  • Filter blockage
  • Changes in the flow behaviour and other process parameters of the final product


Particle Size and Shape Analyzer CAMSIZER X2

The CAMSIZER X2 is a powerful, extremely versatile particle size and shape analyzer with a wide measuring range that combines state-of-the-art camera technology with flexible dispersion options. Based on the principle of Dynamic Image Analysis (ISO 13322-2), the CAMSIZER X2 provides precise particle size and shape information of powders, granules and suspensions in a measuring range from 0.8 μm to 8 mm.

The CAMSIZER X2 produces a particle flow which is characterized by an optical system with high resolution. An ultrabright LED stroboscopic light sources and two high-resolution digital cameras achieve a frame rate of more than 300 images per second which are evaluated in real time by a powerful software. Thus, the CAMSIZER X2 captures the images of hundreds of thousands to several millions of particles with highest accuracy within only 1 to 3 minutes.

The CAMSIZER X2 provides a wide selection of particle information which allows for comprehensive and reliable characterization of the sample material. It is suitable for use in R&D as well as for routine tasks in quality control.