Powder Characterization

Metal and Ceramic Powder Testing and Analysis

State-of-the-Art Powder Evaluation

NSL Analytical’s metal and ceramic powder characterization involves testing for physical characteristics such as microhardness testing, particle size and shape as well as chemical composition. Our team of scientists have extensive knowledge of handling, sampling and analyzing powder to provide accurate repeatable results.

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NSL Analytical Solutions for Powder Characterization

NSL’s reliable results and quick turnaround times will give your company the competitive advantage to ensure the quality of your product.

Chemical Composition

Major and trace level elements

Particle Size Distribution

Laser Diffraction (ISO 13320) Light Scattering (ASTM B822) Sieve Analysis (ASTM B214)

Flow Rate

Hall (ASTM B213) Carney (ASTM B964) Avalanche Drum Rheometer


Apparent Density (ASTM B212 or ASTM B417) Tap Density (ASTM B527) Bulk Density (ASTM D7481) Skeletal Density (ASTM B923)

Powder Specific Surface Area

BET Surface Area (ASTM B922)

Particle Morphology

(SEM & Optical)

Customized Powder Re-use Studies

Consulting Services

Chemical Composition Testing

NSL tests materials and products for chemical composition, components and impurities. We can analyze a wide range of products and samples, with detection down to trace levels.

Available Tests

The chemical composition tests we offer include:


  • Gas Chromatography
  • Ion Chromatography
  • Liquid Chromatography

Inductively Coupled Plasma

  • Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)
  • Optical Emissions Spectroscopy (ICP-OES)

Wet Chemistry

Mass Spectrometry

  • GC Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)
  • Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)


  • GC Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)
  • FTIR (Solution & Pellet)
  • X-Ray – Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (X-Ray EDS)
  • X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF)
  • Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP-AES)
  • Atomic Absorption Graphite Furnace (GF-AAS)
  • Spark Atomic Emissions (Spark-AES)

Chemical Composition Tests

Our chemical composition tests include:

  • Chemical Trace Analysis
  • Elemental Trace Analysis
  • Failure Analysis
  • Contamination Analysis
  • Materials Analysis and Testing

Particle Size Distribution

Laser Diffraction for Particle Size Analysis

Laser diffraction is the most widely used technique for particle size analysis. The methods have developed considerably over the years as had the capability to analyze over broad size range in a variety of dispersion media. Manufacturers and end users of powdered materials depend upon these accurate, reproducible, high resolution light scattering measurements to ensure full characterization of the particle size distribution of their sample.

NSL offers this particle size characterization analysis with the recent launch of our laser diffraction methods using the Malvern Mastersizer 3000. Laser diffraction is a well-established industry standard technique, defined by ISO 13320.

A large variety of material types can be analyzed including:

  • Powdered metals and oxides
  • Pigments
  • Emulsions
  • Suspensions of polymers

Applications include measuring the particle size distribution of pigments and materials used in the following:

  • Optical coatings
  • Electronic devices
  • Solar cells
  • Wear resistant coatings
  • Medical devices

The NSL Solution

Our solution offers the following benefits:

  • A detection range of 100 nanometers to 3.5 millimeters for dry media, and 10 nanometers to 2.1 millimeters for liquid dispersions
  • Accuracy within 1 percent
  • Repeatability better than 0.5 percent
  • Reproducibility better than 1 percent

Microstructure (Microscopy Evaluations)

NSL provides metallurgical evaluations, SEM analysis testing services, & microstructure analysis. Contact us to learn more or request a quote.

SEM Analysis (Scanning Electron Microscopy)

NSL Analytical’s state-of-the-art Scanning Electron Microscopy Lab provides high magnification-high resolution imaging of samples at magnifications from 15-50,000X. Our large sample chamber can accommodate samples up to approximately six inches in length by three inches wide.

Remotely access material evaluations in real-time from your computer to watch, assist, or even drive the SEM. With this exciting technology, you can feel like you are in our lab during SEM analysis, from the comfort of your own office.

SEM Testing Lab

An Energy Dispersive Spectrometer (EDS) system attached to the SEM allows NSL Analytical to provide semi-quantitative microanalysis of discrete areas on a sample. Our microscopy capabilities include:

  • Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) evaluations at 15-50,000x magnification
  • SEM equipped with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) detector capable of semi-quantitative micro-chemical analysis and Rutherford Backscattering capabilities
  • Remote SEM evaluations available