Particle size reduction through the grinding process plays a significant role in several aspects in the food processing industry. This process, particularly the one involving a fine grind, is a very energy intensive operation. It is frequently required in processing many food products and is done by applying different methods and forces to achieve the desired particle size and shape.
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The entire grinding process involves the use of different machines such as mills, grinders, crushers, shredders and more. Several factors affect the end result of the powder, including the machinery used, the amount of time of grinding, and the moisture content of the material to be grinded.
All of these parameters affect the characteristics of the finished powder product. Among them, one of the most important factors that help determine the find grind is the moisture level. The structure of the material can vary at different levels of moisture content.
It’s been determined that coarse particles with lower moisture content has a smaller mass fraction than those with a higher moisture level. The irregular shapes in coarse materials are influenced by the powder flow properties. As a result, food materials containing varying levels of moisture content produce different powder properties.
Powder properties play a crucial role in handling or processing operations. These include mixing, formulation, compression, packaging, and storage. With the inter-particle liquid bridges, the cohesiveness of fine grind powder can be directly associated with the moisture content. This, in return, causes the agglomeration of particles.
This is something to be avoided, since powder properties such as flow-ability will help eliminate any serious handling limitations. Food materials will have a high grinding efficiency if they have a low moisture content since they’re more brittle. So, an increase in moisture content also leads to more difficulty in the grinding of a material.