Study of the mobility, surface area, and sintering behavior of agglomerates in the transition regime by tandem differential mobility analysis

Kuk Cho, Christopher J. Hogan, Pratim Biswas

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14 Scopus citations


The surface area of nanosized agglomerates is of great importance as the reactivity and health effects of such particles are highly dependent on surface area. Changes in surface area through sintering during nanoparticle synthesis processes are also of interest for precision control of synthesised particles. Unfortunately, information on particle surface area and surface area dynamics is not readily obtainable through traditional particle mobility sizing techniques. In this study, we have experimentally determined the mobility diameter of transition regime agglomerates with 3, 4, and 5 primary particles. Agglomerates were produced by spray drying well-characterised polystyrene latex particles with diameters of 55, 67, 76, and 99 nm. Tandem differential mobility analysis was used to determine agglomerate mobility diameter by selecting monodisperse agglomerates with the same number of primary particles in the first DMA, and subsequently completely sintering the agglomerates in a furnace aerosol reactor. The size distribution of the completely sintered particles was measured by an SMPS system, which allowed for the determination of the number of primary particles in the agglomerates. A simple power law regression was used to express mobility diameter as a function of primary particle size and the number of primary particles, and had an excellent correlation (R2 = 0.9971) with the experimental data. A scaling exponent was determined from the experimental data to relate measured mobility diameter to surface area for agglomerates. Using this relationship, the sintering characteristics of agglomerates were also examined for varying furnace temperatures and residence times. The sintering data agreed well with the geometric sintering model (GSM) model proposed by Cho & Biswas (2006a) as well as with the model proposed Koch & Friedlander (1990) for sintering by viscous flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1003-1012
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements Partial support from NSF-NIRT 0304649 and DOD-MURI UR 523873 grants are gratefully acknowledged. Kuk Cho acknowledges support from a McGrath Fellowship from the Washington University in St. Louis. Christopher J. Hogan acknowledges support from a NSF graduate research fellowship.

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Agglomeration
  • Instrumentation
  • Mobility diameter
  • Nanoparticles
  • Sintering
  • Surface area

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