2018 Advanced Course: Powder Characterisation and Dispersion – from nanometers to millimeters and from theory to practice

Monday 2 July to Wednesday, 4 July 2018 – Materials Institute, EPFL – Room MXC320 & CSEM Neuchâtel (Tuesday, 3 July)


Please register online here. The deadline for registration is Friday, 22 June 2018.


  • 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 ETH Zurich after acceptance by the corresponding institution. The credit will be attributed to students who pass the examination held on 4 July 2018 after the course.


Prof. Paul Bowen (EPFL), Dr. Olha Sereda, Dr. Ralf Duempelmann (Inolytix), Martin Bossard (LS Instruments)

Who should attend

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


  • 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 2 July 2018

09:00 Welcome & self-introduction by participants
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 3 July 2018 – at CSEM in Neuchâtel

09:00 X-Ray Powder Diffraction by Dr. Olha Sereda  
10:30 Coffee break
11:00 Further examples and instrument visits   
12:30 Lunch together
14:00 Specific Surface Area and Porosity
15:30 Coffee break
16:00 Particle Dispersion and Suspension Characterisation                                           
17:30 End of day two 

Wednesday 4 July 2018

09:00 Particle Dispersion and Suspension Characterisation   
10:30 Coffee break
11:00 Practical Studies: Specific Surface Area and Porosity and Inverse Gas Chromatography  
12:30 Lunch together
14:00 Practical studies
15:30 Concluding remarks, discussion
16:00 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.