Optimize the Use of Flow Additives | AIChE

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Optimize the Use of Flow Additives

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Optimally blend flow additives to improve manufacturing efficiency and transform the performance of commercial products.

Flow additives are critical components of powder products and formulations. By altering the performance characteristics of solid products, flow additives can improve manufacturing efficiency. In the food industry, for instance, flow additives are routinely incorporated to reduce or eliminate powder caking, which makes products easier to blend. In powder coatings, flow additives improve the flowability and leveling performance required for high-quality finishes.

The pharmaceutical industry is particularly dependent on flow additives — both lubricants and glidants — because the fine, cohesive particles associated with pharmaceutical formulations frequently exhibit poor flowability. Materials such as magnesium stearate (MgSt) and colloidal silica improve blending, transport, and filling operations.

Before using flow additives, it is necessary to assess their effects. This article details the application of dynamic, bulk, and shear testing to characterize bulk powders. While flow additives are used to improve flow, they simultaneously influence other aspects of powder behavior that can impact process performance. The article also discusses how rigorous, multifaceted powder characterization provides the data required to develop a holistic view of such effects and supports the optimization of flow additive selection, concentration, and blending technique.

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