Analytical Contract Lab Providing Particle Size and Characterization Testing Services

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plant emissions from smoke stacks

Our Roots as Experts in PM10 and PM2.5 Testing

By William Kopesky – Director of Analytical Services

Did you know Particle Technology Labs began as a testing service for companies needing to meet EPA environmental safety standards? While we are most known today for our testing for the pharmaceutical industry and our commitment to cGMP quality assurance regulations, some will be surprised to learn that the company’s early services were in testing environmental emission and water filtration samples. Now, almost 30 years later, we still assist companies in these industries including some of those first clients who are still with us today!

Testing for PM10 and PM2.5

The founder of Particle Technology Labs, Richard Karuhn Sr., started the company by providing analysis of stack emission samples for PM10 and PM2.5 in 1992. He not only tested them – he spent time collecting them as well!

What do PM10 and PM2.5 stand for? Glad you asked. PM is an abbreviation for “particulate matter.”  PM10 or PM2.5 is the particulate matter in an emission sample that is less than 10 or 2.5 micrometers respectively by mass. These sizes are of interest to the USA Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as particles in this size range are not easily filtered out by the nasal passages nor impact the back of the throat for removal when we breathe. Particles less than 10 micrometers will enter the lungs and can cause both acute and chronic respiratory issues. Factories, power plants, and similar types of companies are required to monitor and control their emissions for these particles or risk expensive fines and/or production shutdowns.

Working at Particle Technology Labs | Kelli Hubert, Customer Service Manager

Blessed. Thankful. These Words are More Than Cliches for a PTL Team Member

Kelli Hubert, Particle Technology Labs’ Customer Service Manager, highly values her work and her colleagues

I can genuinely say that I am blessed to work at Particle Technology Labs and thankful for my coworkers. Without a doubt, I belong here. There are many “why’s” behind these feelings. However, I’d like to highlight three key reasons I’m especially proud of being part of the PTL Team.

1. I celebrated my 25-year work anniversary

September 2020 marked 25 years of working at PTL and being a part of this particle size and characterization world. It has been fun and enriching to work in such a niche industry over the years. It’s been gratifying to play a role in expanding PTL’s capabilities and ensuring results are on time, of a high quality, and deliver true business value to our customers. Over the past 25 years, I have worked alongside many dynamic staff members and communicated with a lot of fantastic clients that make the day-to-day simply a pleasure. I learn something new daily—which is great for me and for our clients. I am proud to bring 25 years of knowledge to those I serve.

Testing Particle Size by Laser Diffraction

Testing Particle Size by Laser Diffraction

By Jorie Kassel – Laboratory Division Manager

Laser diffraction is a frequently requested technique in the particle characterization industry, but how do you know if it’s right for your material and process?

The experts at Particle Technology Labs have years of experience evaluating powders, semi-solid products, and suspensions and can help determine if this particle sizing technique is right for you.

What is Laser Diffraction?
Laser Diffraction is considered an ensemble technique. This means instead of determining the size distribution one particle at a time (such as with a particle counter), it does so by measuring the light scatter from a cloud or group of particles as it passes through a light source (a laser beam in this case) all at once. The angle of scatter is inversely proportional to the particle size (i.e., small particles scatter light at larger angles). This light scatter, referred to as a diffraction pattern, is then reported as an equivalent spherical diameter within the instrument software based on optical parameters input by the operator. Like many other particle sizing techniques, laser diffraction assumes that the particle is spherical to allow the reporting of a single value…the diameter of a sphere which would scatter the same angle of light detected.

Vaccines and particle size illustration

Vaccine Facts and the Role of Particle Size in Antigen Uptake

With more people getting their COVID-19 vaccines, a larger discourse on vaccination is occurring. Many questions are being presented. How are vaccines made? What is the safety of a vaccine? How is the efficacy of a vaccine determined? How small are vaccine particles? This blog discusses some history of vaccine development and several ways Particle Technology Labs supports the characterization of today’s vaccines.

History of Vaccines

Smallpox was an infectious disease that had a mortality rate of ≤30%. Variolation was developed as a process to inoculate individuals from smallpox (Variola major/minor). Variolation was achieved through the use of powdered smallpox scabs or fluid from pustules being introduced to a patient through scratches on their skin or inhalation through the nose. Variolation was successful in reducing the mortality rate of smallpox to <1% in the variolated patients. However, the variolated patients were able to transmit the virus causing secondary outbreaks.

Say Cheese … a Snapshot of Flowability in Cheese Powder!

William Kopesky – Director of Analytical Services

Moisture Impact on Powders

The physical properties of powders directly impact their processability. This probably isn’t a surprise to anyone, especially if you are previously aware of Particle Technology Labs and what we do for a living! Powder processing involves moving, compacting, packaging, milling, and agglomerating just as a few examples. Particle Technology Labs helps clients on a daily basis investigate powder processing issues as well as predict performance when handling powder products. Any plant manager and production engineer can tell you that moisture has a significant impact on all of the powder processing steps previously mentioned. As the spring season begins here in North America, specifically Chicago, and with summer not far behind…thoughts turn to warmer temperatures, sunny days, the potential to be closer than 6 feet from other individuals and more humid conditions.

Moisture and Cheese

So, you may be asking yourself, “Why is cheese in the title of this blog post? I thought this may be about photography and this guy is talking about powders instead.” Well, here at Particle Technology Labs, it is never a dull moment and we assist with a wide variety of sample types and client issues.