2019 Advanced Course: Powder Characterisation and Dispersion – from nanometers to millimeters and from theory to practice

Monday 24 to Wednesday 26 June, 2019 – Materials Institute, EPFL & CSEM Neuchâtel

“It was great to have theoretical and experimental parts in the same course.”


  • Introduction to some basic methods used for powder characterisation, particle size measurement and a brief introduction to powder dispersion and suspension characterisation.
  • Brief discussion of the fundamental theories behind the methods and their limitations.
  • Measurement of real samples and correct interpretation of the results collected.
  • Presentation of in-house protocols for reproducible and reliable measurements (towards metrology).
  • Examples of “real” powders in applications and the influence of their intrinsic characteristics.
  • Presentation of in-house software and models for interparticle interactions and yield stress prediction.

This course may be validated for 1 ECTS credit in the doctoral programs of EPFL and ETHZ after acceptance by the corresponding institution. The credit will be attributed to students who pass the examination held on 26 June 2019 after the course.


Prof. Paul Bowen (EPFL), Dr. Olha Sereda (CSEM), Dr. Ralf Duempelmann (Inolytix), Dr. Ivan Marozau (CSEM)

Who should attend

Industrial and academic engineers, PhD students and R&D staff.
The number of participants is limited to 16.


Please register online here. The deadline for registration is Friday, 7 June 2019.


  • Particle Size Measurement – basics and different techniques
  • X-ray Powder Diffraction – phase analysis, crystallite size & strain, non-ambient conditions
  • Image Analysis — Shape Analysis
  • Specific Surface Area and Porosity
  • Introduction to Inverse Gas Chromatography
  • Particle Dispersion and Suspension Characterisation — dispersion mechanisms, rheology, surface charge and interparticle interactions

Please note that while the theory presented in this course applies to all types of materials, the practical examples concentrate on inorganic materials. Also due to limited time only a brief overview of the theory can be given although key references for more advanced analysis are provided throughout.



Monday 24 June 2019

09:00 Welcome & introduction to the course
09:15 Particle Size Measurement
10:30 Coffee Break
11:00 Specific Methods and Practical Examples
12:30 Lunch together
14:00 Practical Studies: Particle Size Measurement Equipment
15:30 Coffee break
16:00 Image analysis / Shape Analysis
17:30 End of first day

Tuesday 25 June 2019 – at CSEM in Neuchâtel

Specific Surface Area and Porosity
11:00 Coffee break
11:30 Particle Dispersion and Suspension Characterisation I
Introduction to Inverse Gas Chromatography  
13:00 Lunch together
14:00 X-ray Powder Diffraction
15:30 Coffee break
16:00 Further examples, instrument visits                                           
17:30 End of day two 

Wednesday 26 June 2019

09:00 Particle Dispersion and Suspension Characterisation   
10:30 Coffee break
11:00 Yield stress model, accounting for particle size distributions, aggregates and absorbed surface layers 
11:30 Practical studies
12:30 Lunch together
14:00 Practical studies
15:30 Concluding remarks, end of course

16:15 – 17:15

Open book exam for students seeking credit


The participation fee is CHF360 for doctoral students from EPFL, ETHZ, PSI, Empa and CSEM; CHF460 for other academic researchers and CHF1,500 for all other participants. Lunches and coffee breaks are included in the fee. Please note that any applicable VAT and bank transfer fees must be covered by the participant.