The flowability of spray-dried laundry detergent is important for manufacturing process performance and reliability, and product quality; it is strongly dependent on formulation. In this work, a detailed study of four model formulations provides fundamental understanding of the role of particle composition, and micro-structure, on spray-dried detergent powder flow behaviour. All spray-dried powders studied contained the sodium salt of linear alkylbenzene sulphonate (NaLAS) and sodium sulphate. However, their formulation varied depending on either the initial water content (30.0 or 63.0 wt%) of the slurry or the addition of sodium silicate with molar-ratios of 1.6 and 2.35 SiO 2:Na 2O. The nil-silicate powder, made from low water content slurry, had the poorest flow characteristics. The addition of the silicate binder, significantly improved flowability, 2.35 ratio silicate, providing better flowability than 1.6 ratio. Remarkably, increasing the water content of the slurry also improved flowability significantly. Detail analysis showed that this was due to changes in composition and micro-structure of the composite matrix formed on drying the liquid components of the slurry, and that the improved flowability was due to improvements in mechanical strength of this matrix. These changes in mechanical robustness were significantly more important to the flowability than the powder shape.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) [grant number 31587, 233189] for funding the project. AMSCI is a government supply chain fund which is helping to rebuild British manufacturing processes. We also acknowledge the input of Joel Caragay and Paul Gould of Procter and Gamble for production of materials and their support throughout the project.
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