Powders and liquids belong together
3/4/2024 Insights Interview

Powders and liquids belong together

In addition to powder and bulk solids technologies, POWTECH TECHNOPHARM will also increasingly focus on process engineering solutions for liquid process technology in the future. In an interview with Industry Insights, Dr. Hans-Joachim Jacob from dispersing specialist ystral explains why this combination is becoming increasingly important.

Dr Hans-Joachim Jacob at the ystral booth at POWTECH 2023 Dr Hans-Joachim Jacob is Senior Expert Process and Applications at ystral "The process technology for adding powders to liquids has a decisive influence on the quality of the end product.

Why should liquid process technology play a greater role at POWTECH TECHNOPHARM?

POWTECH TECHNOPHARM is traditionally a trade fair for powder processing. But if we want to visualize where powders are everywhere, we only need to take a look around us. Whether in walls, floors, their coatings or even in concrete –- powders are everywhere. Clothing also contains a lot of powdery substances. And an estimated 99 percent of these powders have to be incorporated into liquids at some point during processing. This is why the combination of powders and liquids is so important, because the process technology for incorporating powders into liquids has a decisive influence on the quality of the end product.

How does that come about?

A simple example is paints: Their opacity also depends on how well a powdered pigment is dispersed. The effect of adhesives also depends on how well or poorly powders are dispersed. Or take the example of battery production: If a battery gets hot during charging or discharging, this is a clear indication of thermal losses –- the electricity is converted into heat. The reason for this is sub-optimal conductivity within the battery –- and we can influence this in a targeted manner by optimally dispersing the particles that ensure conductivity.

Alternative proteins are a trending topic in the food industry. What significance do the technologies on show at POWTECH TECHNOPHARM have here?

Plant-based products are in vogue. When we produce plant-based drinks, meat or cheese alternatives, it is important to break down these proteins in a suitable way. It is not enough to simply mix or stir in the proteins –- because they have the property of being very sticky or foaming. Simple mixing methods would only produce lumps or foam.

What is the reason for this?

This is because proteins have a very complex structure –- we talk about primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures. Depending on what is to be produced, this structure has to be built up or broken down: For example, to create a highly viscous texture for alternative meat products, or a low-viscosity structure to achieve a liquid, for example for drinks. And for this you need an adapted technology –- and we will see such technologies at POWTECH TECHNOPHARM.


Armin Scheuermann

Armin Scheuermann

Chemical engineer and freelance specialised journalist