Analysis of needle-shaped particles of cellobiose octaacetate (COA) obtained from vacuum agitated drying experiments was performed using three particle size analysis techniques: laser diffraction (LD), focused beam reflectance measurements (FBRM) and dynamic image analysis. Comparative measurements were also made for various size fractions of granular particles of microcrystalline cellulose. The study demonstrated that the light scattering particle size methods (LD and FBRM) can be used qualitatively to study the attrition that occurs during drying of needle-shaped particles, however, for full quantitative analysis, image analysis is required. The algorithm used in analysis of LD data assumes the scattering particles are spherical regardless of the actual shape of the particles under evaluation. FBRM measures a chord length distribution (CLD) rather than the particle size distribution (PSD), which in the case of needles is weighted towards the needle width rather than their length. Dynamic image analysis allowed evaluation of the particles based on attributes of the needles such as length (e.g. the maximum Feret diameter) or width (e.g. the minimum Feret diameter) and as such, was the most informative of the techniques for the analysis of attrition that occurred during drying.
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