Manufacture of salt beads from fine salt powder


Porous Materials from Agglomerated Powder


A novel way of developing porous materials using agglomerated fine powder was developed at the University of Nottingham. The process enables fine powders to be agglomerated into larger porous, spherical beads. It improves the handling, flow and dispersion of fine powders, as well as giving them novel attributes based on their geometry and porous structure.

This is ideal for the development of metallic and ceramic foams and in some cases, food applications.

Key Benefits

Key benefits of the technology include:
   ·   The process is simple with low capital and operating costs.
   ·   Wide applicability to different materials.
   ·   It offers an attractive alternative to spray or freeze drying processes.

Markets Sectors

The processing method developed has wide ranging applicability. Whilst the limitations of the materials that can be processed using this method have not been fully established, agglomerates have been made from powders that are soluble and insoluble in water.

Powders that would benefit from being processed using this method can be used in applications relating to foodstuffs, ceramics, metals and minerals, agrochemicals and pharmaceutical materials.

IP Status

The IP around this technology is based on know-how.


The morphology of beads made from agglomerated salt particles

Technical Information

Examples of spherical beads made from fine, angular salt powders (<100 micron diameter NaCl) are shown above. In this example, the beads contain roughly 15% interconnected porosity, yet they are rigid and can be handled without damage. These porous beads were engineered to give rapid dissolution compared to monolithic beads of a similar size.

The process involves the controlled mechanical disintegration of a water-based paste containing the powder, in oil. Control of the paste composition and the agitation conditions in the oil bath ensure the production of spherical beads, of the desired size range, which do not agglomerate during processing. 

The figure below shows the good reproducibility, for what is essentially a very simple process, in obtaining beads with the same size distribution for 4 separate process runs.

Bead size distributions for 4 identical process runs

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
George Rice
Commercial Manager, Engineering & Physical Sciences
The University of Nottingham
0115 82 32190
Andrew Kennedy
Apichart Jinnapat
© 2019. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Inteum