Powder Handling and Processing

Particulate materials, powders or bulk solids are used widely in all areas of the process industries; for example in the food processing, pharmaceutical, chemical, mineral processing, metallurgical, detergent and cosmetics industries. The importance of a knowledge of the science of particulate solids (often called particle or powder technology) to these industries cannot be over-emphasised. Very often, difficulties in the handling or processing powders are ignored or overlooked at the design stage, with the result that powder-related problems are the cause of an inordinate number of production stoppages. However, it has been demonstrated that the application of even a basic understanding of the ways in which powders behave can minimise these processing problems, resulting in less downtime, improvements in quality control and environmental emissions and giving companies a competitive edge. 

Course aims

Success in the handling and processing of particulate materials is based on science. It is important for companies using and producing particulates to have in-house expertise in this science.

This course aims to provide participants with a broad understanding of the fundamentals of particle technology with emphasis on basic concepts and practical problems.

Participants will appreciate the practical way in which particle technology principles are put across in a relaxed atmosphere. The programme, though intensive, will provide time for participants and presenters to meet and interact.

Challenges of powder handling and processing - setting the scene:  Why are difficulties in the handling powders overlooked at the design stage? Why are powder-related problems the cause of so many production stoppages? What industries are involved. The current state of knowledge. What are the challenges?

Characterisation of particles and powders and sampling of powders: Sampling methods to ensure representative samples. Defining an appropriate particle size. Particle size distributions. Choosing the correct mean particle size. Size measurement techniques: how they work, the most appropriate for each application.                     

Mixing and segregation of powders: Types of mixture. How does particle size segregation occur? Why is segregation such a problem? Minimising segregation and achieving good mixing. Assessing mixture quality, mixer performance.

Storage, flow, feeding and metering of powders: Problems associated with storage and feeding of powders. How hoppers are designed to avoid problems of flow and segregation. Feeding and metering systems.                  

Pneumatic conveying and gas-particle separation: Defining dilute and dense phase conveying. Equipment and design methods for dilute and dense phase conveying. Advantages and disadvantages of different equipment. Overcoming common problems. Devices for separation of particles from gases. Design and operation of gas cyclones and filters.

Fluidisation: Applications of gas fluidization. Fundamentals of gas fluidization. Predicting pressure drop-velocity relation bed expansion, heat transfer. Reactor modelling, distributor design. Overcoming common problems.                                                   

Size enlargement – granulation and Coating:  Reasons for granulating and coating particles. Science of granulation and coating. How to achieve the desired granule properties and size distribution. Equipment for granulation and coating. Overcoming common problems.

Fire and explosion hazards: Dust explosion case studies. Fundamentals of fire and explosion and the application to airborne dusts. Testing for explosibility and explosion parameters. Controlling the hazard.

This 2 day course will be of particular benefit for:

  • those who have recently become involved in the handling and processing of particles and powders
  • those who experience problems in handling and processing of particles and powders

Industries expected to benefit include; 

  • energy and environmental
  • pharmaceutical
  • food processing
  • chemical
  • oil
  • mineral processing
  • metallurgical
  • detergent
  • cosmetics
  • and related industries

Previous participants include;

  • chemical and mechanical engineers
  • chemists
  • physicists
  • pharmacists

The course will be given by specialist presenters who are all actively engaged in areas of particle technology and who are familiar with the needs of industry:

Richard Farnish, Principal Research Fellow, Consulting Engineer, Wolfson Centre, University of Greenwich

Mojtaba Ghadiri, Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of Leeds

Martin Rhodes, Emeritus Professor, Monash University, and Visiting Professor at the University of Leeds

Rachel Smith, Senior Lecturer, University of Sheffield.


£800 (2 day course). Fees are VAT exempt.

Fees include:

  • cost of tuition
  • course materials (including book for post course reading as detailed below)*
  • lunches and light refreshments
  • course dinner on Monday evening

*You will also receive a copy of the Introduction to Particle Technology, 2nd Edition, 2008 book (Author: Martin Rhodes) to provide you with detailed background follow up to the course. 

Discounted fees apply to postgraduate students. Please contact us.


Registration for the course will be held in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering entrance/foyer area.

Presentations will take place in the Agilent Lecture Theatre within the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. 

Directions to the course venue will be sent out with the delegate joining instructions.

Faculty of Engineering
University of Leeds

How to find us

Please note onsite parking is not available at the University.


You’re responsible for your own accommodation, if required. A list of hotels close to the University will be sent with your course joining instructions.

Jenna Kellett
CPD Course Coordinator

CPD Conference and Events Unit
Faculty of Engineering
3.11 School of Chemical and Process Engineering
University of Leeds,

T: + 44 (0)113 343 2494

E: cpd@engineering.leeds.ac.uk