Nowadays, nanoparticles are attracting a lot of attention in several industry applications such as ceramic material, atmospheric plasma spray (APS) coating, drug formulation or drug delivery system. Their small size makes them challenging to handle and can represent a risk for the health of the personnel using such powders. Agglomerating the nanoparticles is necessary to overcome the previously mentioned issue.
Free-flowing, spherical particles with uniform morphology and narrow size distribution are highly desirable for many applications and can easily be obtained by spray drying. For applications in ceramic material or drug formulation for example, a compression of the agglomerate material is necessary to obtain the final product. The properties of the agglomerated material will largely determine the compaction behavior of the powder and the uniformity of the final product. Spray drying is an established method to produce granulated material by converting a liquid (i.e. solution, emulsion or suspension) into solid spherical particles with precise specifications.
If the used suspension consists of nanoparticles, the resulting agglomerated product comprises nanoparticles forming a nanostructured powder in the sub-micrometer / micrometer size range. Through this approach, the properties of nanoscale particles are preserved into micrometer scale particles which are easier and safer to handle.
Due to its chemical and physical properties, silica is an advanced material widely used in a variety of applications such as ceramic production, drug formulation or drug delivery. Here, silica was chosen as a model suspension material to invest igate the feasibility to agglomerate nanoparticles using the Nano Spray Dryer B-90 HP.