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The Influence of Relative Humidity on the Properties of Flour: Combining Vapor Sorption, Surface Area, Laser Diffraction, Cohesion Strength and Compressibility Measurements

Knowing the properties and behavior of powders and granular media is essential for many different industrial applications. Powder behavior can change during manufacturing processes or can vary depending on environmental conditions. In this application report, the influence of climatic conditions - including temperature and humidity - on wheat flour was investigated. Surface area and water sorption kinetics were determined. Further, Warren Spring cohesion strength, compressibility and particle size distribution by laser diffraction were investigated to compare the process-relevant physical properties of samples with different moisture content.

Introduction

Powder behavior is influenced by various environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity. The same powder sample can function uniquely at different locations for the same application. Thus, knowing the powder properties and characteristics is important for both process design and quality control.

Anton Paar offers a versatile toolbox for the characterization of powders, including adsorption analyzers, to investigate water adsorption of samples as well as their accessible surface area. In addition, laser diffraction methods measure particle and aggregate sizes, and powder rheological equipment enables the characterization of their flow- and mechanical behavior.

In this application report, the influence of relative humidity on wheat flour was investigated. Flour samples were stored in an environmental chamber for various time periods and characterized afterwards by the previously mentioned techniques. 

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