Modeling the size distribution in a fluidized bed of nanopowder
The release of nanosized particles from fluidized beds of ceramic oxide nanopowders, namely, TiO2 (P25), Al2O3 (AluC) and SiO2 (A130) has been assessed for the first time. Previous models and experiments for processing engineered nanoparticles (ENP) using fluidized beds reported only the formation of micron-sized cluster agglomerates in the gas phase. In this work, aerosol spectrometry techniques such as scanning mobility particle sizing (SMPS) and optical particle counting (OPC) have been combined with powder technologies, such as the borescope high-speed camera system, to determine the particle size distribution from 5 nm to 1 mm above a fluidized bed. Furthermore, the morphology of nanoparticulate aerosol at different locations in the bed was determined by offline electron microscopy. The results demonstrate that free nano- and micron-sized particles are released from fluidized beds. Since the structures found above the bed are also expected to be present within fluidized beds, a revision of existing nanoparticle fluidization models, and improved safety and control measures in reactors for gas-phase ENP processing are needed to avoid nanoparticle release.