Powder + particle analytics

In RMS Foundation we can offer you the following services in the area of powder and particle testing:

Particle analyses (General)


Components have particulate contamination on the surface even after thorough cleaning (new particles are also generated under load).

Consequences can cause mechanical as well as biological problems: Nozzles or filters clog, valves jam or bearings block. Particulate contamination on implants can trigger undesirable immune reactions that can lead to implant failure.

Therefore, it is important to know the particulate contaminants or particles generated during movement. Or, in the case of powders as the starting material, to characterize it regularly to ensure good process stability.

We offer the following particle analyses:

  • Analysis of particles on components by scanning electron microscope (SEM).
    Example: Quantification of abrasive residues + element identification by means of energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX).
    Detection limits: 50 nm for EDX, a few nanometers for SEM.
  • Gravimetry: weight of particles on a filter
    Detection limit: 0.1 mg resp. 3 mg according to VDA volume 19.1 (2015)
  • Particle size distribution by laser diffraction:
    Size range: from 17 nm (in liquid) or from 0.4 µm (dry) to 2'000 µm, assuming spherical particles. Only the size distribution is determined, not the absolute amount of particles.
    Standard: ISO 13320:2020
  • Particle size by light shading:
    Detection limit: 0.5 µm, assuming spherical particles.
    Standard: ISO 21018-4:2019; USP 788
  • Microscopy: automatic scanning of particles on a filter and discrimination of non-metallic and metallic particles.
    Detection limit: 10 µm
    Standards: ISO 16232:2018, VDA Volume 19.1 (2015) and Volume 19.2 (2010).
  • Scanning electron microscope (SEM): automatic identification and chemical analysis of particles on a sample à size distribution for different material classes.
    Detection limit: 50 nm (and depending on the pore size of the filter)
    Standard: ASTM F1877-16
  • Organic analysis of particles on a filter using Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (FT-IR) in combination with optical microscopy
    Detection limit: 5 µm
    Standards: ASTM E1252-98:2013, ASTM E573-01:2021
Standard(s): VDA Band 19.1 (2015) und Band 19.2 (2010) / ISO 13320:2020 / ISO 21018-4:2019 / USP 788 / ISO 16232:2018 / ASTM F1877-16 / ASTM E1252−98:2013 / ASTM E573-01:2021
Equipment: Beckman Coulter LS 13320 (laser diffraction) / Jomesa HFD4 (automated light microscopy, dried filters or glass plate) / SEM (scanning electron microscopy, dried filters)



Determination of the specific surface of powders and porous solids

Description: Determination of the specific surface area of solids according to the BET method (Brunauer, Emmet and Teller) based on gas adsorption. The standard method used is nitrogen adsorption at the temperature of liquid nitrogen.
Standard(s): Not accredited
Equipment: Tristar Plus 3030, Micromeritics

Contact:  Pascal Michel +41 32 644-2042



Testing of technical cleanliness according to VDA 19 Part 1 / ISO 16232


Performing standard-compliant component cleanliness analyses with regard to particles (residual dirt). Preparation of cleanliness test procedures (decay measurements, blank values, number of measurements, rinsing parameters, filters). Gravimetry, determination of the total mass of all particles present on the component (residual dirt). Light-optical analysis, counting and measurement and classification of particles into metallic, non-metallic and fibers. Advanced analysis, material determination of particles and particle analysis by SEM EDX, or FT-IR analysis.

Standard(s): VDA 19 Teil 1 / ISO 16232
Equipment: Stainless steel vacuum filtration unit Sartorius / washing cabinet Hydac CTU 1040, analytical balance Mettler AX 205 / filter analysis system Jomesa HFD4. Scanning electron microscope Zeiss Sigma 300 VP with EDX analysis (AZtec Oxford with UltimMax 40 detector. FT-IR microscope Bruker Lumos.

Contact:  Dieter Streit +41 32 644-2021



Particle size analysis (laser diffraction, automated microscopy)

Description: Particle size analysis is used to determine particle size distributions of granules, powders and suspensions. The size distribution of abrasion particles from wear tests can also be investigated. Laser diffraction and automated microscopy are available as measurement techniques. Laser diffraction produces particle size-dependent diffraction patterns that are detected by a series of detectors and converted into a particle size distribution. In automated microscopy, optical or electron beam-based microscopes are used. A statistically sufficient number of particles is automatically measured on a flat support (e.g. a dried filter). The distribution of length, width and/or equivalent circle diameter can be used for particle size analysis.
Standard(s): ISO 13320
  • Particle Size Analysis by Laser Diffraction (NL-17)
Equipment: Beckman Coulter LS 13320 (laser diffraction) / Jomesa HFD4 (automated light microscopy, dried filters or glass plate) / SEM (scanning electron microscopy, dried filters) / FTIR microscopy



Residual moisture content

Description: Determination of the residual moisture content via weight loss after intensive drying according to Ph. Eur. Monograph 2.2.32. "Loss on drying" 01/2008:20232.
Standard(s): Ph. Eur. 6 Monography 2.2.32. «Loss on drying» 01/2008:20232
Equipment: Drying oven Memmert type ULP 500 and UFP 500 / Precision balance Mettler Toledo AX205

Contact:  Pascal Michel +41 32 644-2042



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