You are on page 1of 24


Dept of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering
National Institute of Technology Warangal

Used for particle size analysis based on size

To determine the optimum size of the feed to
the process for maximum efficiency

Important changes in plant operation may be

made on the results of the laboratory tests.
Small quantity of material was used for sieve
It is essential that the sample is
representative of the bulk material

Some methods used for particle size analysis

Sieving is carried out with wet or dry

Sieves are usually agitated to expose all the
particles to the openings
Particles were passes through sieve only when
they are in favourable position (irregular
Presence of "near-size particles which cause
"blinding", or obstruction of the sieve
apertures, and reduce the effective area of the
sieving medium
Blinding is most serious with test sieves of
very small aperture size

The effectiveness of a sieving test depends on

the amount of material put on the sieve (the
"charge") and the type of movement imparted
to the sieve
If input charge is more then more time is
required for sieving
The sample must contain enough particles to
be representative of the bulk, so a minimum
size of sample is specified
In some cases, the sample will have to be
subdivided into a number of charges if the
requirements for preventing over- loading of
the sieves are to be satisfied

Mesh number : referred to the number of wires per inch,

which is the same as the number of square apertures
per square inch

BSS 1796 wire-mesh sieves

Wire cloth in sieves with a nominal aperture of

75 m and greater are plain woven, while those
in cloths with apertures below 63 m may be

Weaves of wire cloth: (a) plain weave,

(b) twilled weave

Standard test sieves are not available with

aperture sizes smaller than about 20 m
Micromesh sieves are available in aperture sizes
from 2 m to 150 m and are made by
electroforming nickel in square and circular
Micro plate sieve
Fabricated by electro etching of nickel plate
The apertures are in the form of truncated
cones with the small circle uppermost
This reduces not only blinding but also the
percentage open area
Used at where high degree of
accuracy is required

Aperture size

Note : (a) In general, the sieve range should be chosen such that no more than
about 5% of the sample is retained on the coarsest sieve, or passes the finest
(b) Sieves can be procured in a range of diameters, depending on the particle
size and mass of material to be sieved. A common diameter for laboratory
sieves is 200 mm.

Steps involved in sieve analysis (BS 1796):


The sieves chosen for the test are arranged in a stack, or nest, with the coarsest
sieve on the top and the finest at the bottom


A tight-fitting pan or receiver is placed below the bottom sieve to receive the

final undersize, and a lid is placed on top of the coarsest sieve to prevent escape
of the sample

The material to be tested is placed in the uppermost (coarsest sieve), and the
nest is then placed in a sieve shaker which vibrates the material in a vertical

plane/horizontal plane

The duration of screening can be controlled by an automatic timer . During the

shaking, the undersize material falls through successive sieves until it is retained
on a sieve having apertures which are slightly smaller than the diameter of the
particles. In this way the sample is separated into size fractions


After the required time, the nest is taken apart and the amount of material
retained on each sieve weighed

Vibrating Sieve Shaker





The sieve size ranges used in the test

The weight of material in each size range, e.g. 1.32 g of material
passed through the 250 m sieve, but was retained on the 180 m
sieve: the material therefore is in the size range -250 to + 180 m
The weight of material in each size range expressed as a
percentage of the total weight
The nominal aperture sizes of the sieves used in the test
The cumulative percentage of material passing through the sieves,
e.g. 87.5% of the material is less than 125 m in size
The cumulative percentage of material retained on the sieves

The results of a sieving test should always be

plotted graphically in order to assess their full
There are many different ways of recording the
Important plot cumulative undersize (or versize)
against particle size
It suffers from the disadvantage that points in
the region of the finer aperture sizes tend to
become congested
It is not necessary to plot both cumulative
over size and undersize curves as they are
mirror images of each other

A valuable quantity which can be determined from such

curves is the "median size" of the sample
median size : This refers to the
mid-point in the size
distribution -50% of the
particles are smaller than
this size and 50% are larger

Screen analysis graph

Many curves of cumulative oversize or undersize against

particle size are S-shaped, leading to congested plots at
the extremities of the graph
The two most common methods, which are often applied
to comminution studies, where non-uniform size
distributions are obtained, are the Gates-GaudinSchuhmann (Schuhmann, 1940) and the Rosin-Rammler
(Rosin and Rammler, 1933-34) methods
In the Gates-Gaudin-Schuhmann method, cumulative
undersize data are plotted against sieve aperture on loglog graph paper
As with most log-log plots, this very frequently leads to
a straight line, over a wide range size, particularly over
the finersizes

Interpolation is much easier from a straight line

than it is from a curve
Plotting on a log-log scale considerably
expands the region below 50% in the cumulative
undersize curve, especially that below 25%
It does, however, severely contract the region
above 50%, and especially above 75%, which is
a major disadvantage of the method
The Rosin-Rammler method is often used for
representing the results of sieve analyses
performed on material which has been ground
in ball mills

Sieving is rarely carried out on a routine basis

below 38 m and below this size the operation
was referred as sub-sieving
The most widely used techniques are
Laser diffraction

Conversion factors between methods will vary with

sample characteristics and conditions, and with size
where the distributions are not parallel
For spheres, many methods will give essentially the same
result but for irregular particles it is difficult to calculate
Some approximate factors for a given characteristic size

Austin and Shah, 1985; Napier-Munn,

1985; Anon., 1989

In sedimentation techniques, the material to be

sized is dispersed in a fluid and allowed to
settle under carefully controlled conditions
In elutriation techniques, samples are sized by
allowing the dispersed material to settle against
a rising fluid velocity
Both techniques separate the particles on the
basis of resistance to motion in a fluid
This resistance to motion determines the
terminal velocity which the particle attains as it
is allowed to fall in a fluid under the influence
of gravity

For particles within the sub-sieve range, the terminal

velocity is given by the equation derived by Stokes (1891)

V = Terminal velocity of the particle (ms-1)
d = Particle diameter (m)
g = acceleration due to gravity (ms-2)
Ds = Particle density (kgm-3)
Df = Fluid density (kgm-3)
= Fluid viscosity (Ns m-2)
= 0.001 Ns m-2 for water at 20 C

Stokes' law is derived for spherical particles

non-spherical particles will also attain a terminal velocity,
but this velocity will be influenced by the shape of the
Terminal velocity can be substituted in the stokes equation
and diameter of the particle can be calculated
Stokes' law is only valid in the region of laminar flow
Reynolds number

The Reynolds' number should not exceed 0.2 if the error

in using Stokes' law is not to exceed 5%

In general, Stokes' law will hold for all particles below

40 m dispersed in water
The lower limit may be taken as 1 m, below which the
settling times are too long, and also the effects of
unintentional disturbances