Effect of Particle Characteristics on Particle Pickup Velocity


Particle entrainment is investigated by measuring the velocity required to pick up particles from rest, also known as pickup velocity. Pickup velocity is a function of individual particle characteristics and interparticle forces. Although 5-200 μm particles are investigated, the work presented here focuses on the pickup of particles in a pile in the size range of 5-35 μm. These smaller particle sizes are more typical for pharmaceutical and biomedical applications, such as dry powder inhalers (DPIs). Pickup velocities varied from 3.9 to 16.9 m/s for the range of particle sizes investigated. There is a strong correlation between particle size and the dominating forces that determine the magnitude of the pickup velocity. Preliminary data investigating pickup velocity as a function of particle size indicate the existence of a minimum pickup velocity. For larger particle sizes, the mass of the particle demands a greater fluid velocity for entrainment, and for smaller particle sizes, greater fluid velocities are required to overcome particle-particle interactions. Pickup velocity remains relatively constant at very small particle diameters, specifically, less than 10 μm for glass spheres and 20 μm for nonspherical alumina powder. This can be attributed to the negligible changes in London-van der Waals forces due to a hypothesized decrease in interparticle spacing. At intermediate particle diameters, electrostatic forces are dominant.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering


National Science Foundation (U.S.)

Keywords and Phrases

Particle; Pickup Velocity; Van Der Waals Forces

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2003 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

03 Mar 2003