Out of all the particle types in the world, latex particles are perhaps one of the most interesting. Latexes are used in a variety of chemical products, such as adhesives and other industrial goods. They are polymerics found naturally occurring in plants, such as in the rubber tree. Despite advancements, it is very difficult imitate natural latex. Chemically, latex is defined as a polymer that is present in a liquid as individual particles. In general, one of the most important aspects for consideration with latex is the size of latex particles. This may seem superfluous, but it is extremely fundamental in designing specific products.
Controlling the size of a latex particle can control its functions, uses and effectiveness. The size of a latex particle also determines how it is prepared, handled and applied in the natural world. Particle size for latex is typically more difficult to determine because it requires the measurement of individual particle size as well as particle distribution. There are many reasons for the need to analyze latex particle size: the size and distribution of latex particles in adhesives, for example, affect the effectiveness of the adhesive. Molecularly, the strength of adhesives is directly affected by the size of the latex particles involved. Latex particles are also used in mechanics and chemical research. They are also used in certain instruments or diagnostic methods. Before any latex product can be used, though, the general size of the particle and its characteristics must be effectively determined, since the sizes of latex particles can vary widely. Their diameters range from .03 to 220 microns.
There are various ways to analyze the particle size of latex. The newest is the Delsa Nano Zeta Potential and Submicron Particle Size Analyzer. Using photon correlation spectroscopy, it measures the size of a particle by evaluating light scattered by the particles. It essentially uses the movements of particles to help determine size. A more commonly used method, however, is the dynamic light-scattering method, which in a similar way to measure particle size distribution.
Other methods towards analyzing the size of latex particles include TEM, or transmission electron microscopy, along with image analysis. The measurements acquired through this method turn out to be the inverse of the actual particle size. This method of analysis is used by sending an electron beam through the latex particles and forming an image. The image results from the interaction of electrons and other particles. Analyzing latex particles is a delicate matter that requires intense focus, but benefits those seeking to use latex for many purposes.