Tabletop powder aerosolizer

Device smashes small particles together to generate an aerosolized form of the powders in their smallest natural size

Materials Other

The particle turntable (16) contains wells filled with agglomerated powder which is sucked up through tubes (64) into nozzles (30) and (32). From there the separate particle streams are smashed into one another in the collection housing (33). Vertical axis (18); base (12); speed controller (22); variable speed motor (20); complete device (10).

The U.S. Army has invented a tool for deagglomerating and disseminating powders and particulate into a uniform aerosol using small feedstock volumes.

There are many types of lab experiments in which powders and aerosols form a part of a test protocol. In these types of tests, it is oftentimes desirable to disseminate or aerosolize small quantities of powdered materials at a steady concentration and which can be varied by the scientist. It is also advantageous to produce maximal breakup of the powder material into its smallest natural sized particles when the aerosol is produced and tests are conducted.

Unfortunately, many types of powders tend to agglomerate into masses that, while small, are still many times larger than the individual powder particles. Consequently, in those situations, it is necessary to break up the masses of powder particles thereby reducing the overall size of the powder particles to their native sizes. In addition, it is difficult to produce a steady concentration of aerosol particles using low volume powders over time.

Methods for breaking up agglomerated particle matter exist but they are time-consuming and may fail to completely separate the powder into small particles. This can adversely affect the results of the experiments. In response, Army scientists have developed an apparatus for deagglomerating and disseminating powders and particulate matter and producing a steady concentration of aerosolized particles over time using low volumes of powders.

In brief, the device includes a motor driven turntable with circumferentially spaced wells filled with the powder to be processed. An intake hose sits over the ring of wells and air flow drawn through the conduit inducts the powder contained in the wells into the ae hose. The other end of the hose is mounted to a nozzle located within a powder aerosol collection housing.

The nozzle housing is larger in diameter than the tube thus forming a cylindrical chamber around the tube. Consequently, upon connection of a pressurized gas source to the nozzle’s cylindrical chamber, the gas flow through the nozzle outlet opening draws or inducts powder contained in the turntable wells through the conduit into the tube and out through the nozzle. An identical nozzle is mounted to the particle collection housing so that it is also similarly connected to the wells in the turntable using a second conduit. However, the second nozzle may be connected to wells different from those in fluid connection with the first nozzle.

The nozzles are arranged in the collection housing so that they produce their particle flow in directions opposite one another. With this setup, the particles from one nozzle impact upon the particles from the other nozzle and the impact not only breaks the powder components into finer particles through an air milling effect, but the velocity of the two high-speed gas streams cancel each other. Consequently, the now deagglomerated particles may be conducted away from the collection housing at a much lower velocity to the target test system for testing or other uses.

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