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Customizable non-charging material for eliminating electrostatic charge of particles at source
Contact electrification causes the electrostatic adhesion of particles onto surfaces. This causes a vast range of severe problems. In industry, fouling causes blockages of processes (e.g., vessels and pipes) and prevents Process Analytical Technology (PAT) probes from functioning. In research laboratories, adhesion causes expensive powders to be routinely lost during normal operations. To address these wide-ranging problems, this study describes a non-conductive polymeric material that resists triboelectric charging against powders (e.g., pharmaceutical and food). The material is a novel blend of two approved food- and pharmaceutical-grade polymers at a specific proportion. One polymer tends to charge positively (i.e., polyvinyl acetate; PVAc), whereas the other tends to charge negatively (i.e., polyvinylidene fluoride; PVDF), against the targeted powder. The non-charging polymer blend of PVAc and PVDF is successfully designed, translated, and deployed into industrially relevant situations. The polymer blend prevented milk powder and ethylcellulose powder from fouling the stainless-steel surface of a vessel in the food industry (e.g., for blending). It prevented aspirin powder from fouling an NIR probe used for accurate continuous monitoring of moisture during the drying process in a standard pharmaceutical industry glass filter dryer (GFD) for a long time of > 210 min. The original probe stopped functioning within 5 min. It prevented the adhesion of different types of expensive protein and enzyme powders onto tubes (e.g., for storage and transfer) commonly used in research laboratories. Therefore, this non-charging polymer blend is a universal solution for preventing particle adhesion and fouling for different types of processes, industries (e.g., food or pharmaceutical manufacturing), and powders.
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) under its AME Young Individual Research Grant Scheme (Project #A1884c0021)
Ministry of Education, Singapore, under grants R-279-000-496-114, R-279-000-638-114, R-279-000-633-114
iHealthTech grant R-279-001-638-731
Journal/Conference/Book titleChemical Engineering Journal
Corresponding authorShin Yee Wong, Siowling Soh
- 6535 (R-STR-A401-A001 ) Eliminate Static: Non-charging Materials for Powder Processing and PAT