The key difference between agglomeration and deglomeration is that agglomeration is the process of aggregation, whereas deglomeration is the process of breakdown of aggregates.
Agglomeration and deglomeration are two chemical processes that are opposite to each other. Agglomeration refers to the formation of large masses via the combination of small masses. Deglomeration is the opposite of this process, which is, the breakdown of a large mass into small masses.
What is Agglomeration?
Agglomeration is the formation of aggregates via the combination of small particles. Therefore, this term refers to the formation of large masses from small masses. In this process, the small particles stick together either spontaneously or due to the addition of an external substance that is called a coagulant. The formed large masses are “agglomerates”. Some common methods of agglomeration include rewetting fine powder, spray drying, moistening, etc.
Agglomeration is very important in some processes. For example, it is important in increasing the particle size of food powders. Also, it is helpful in reducing dust generation, improving powder properties in bulk, improved wettability and solubility, etc.
Moreover, the process of agglomeration is also critical for kidney stone formation. The presence of more crystal-forming substances in the urine (e.g. calcium, oxalate, uric acid, etc.) and agglomeration of these substances result in kidney stones such as calcium oxalate crystals.
What is Deglomeration?
Deglomeration is the breakdown of large aggregates into small particles. Usually, this term refers to the production of fine particles. The process can happen due to several reasons such as oxidation, the presence of anticoagulants, etc. Deglomeration is very important in increasing the solubility of substances, increasing the reactivity of reactants, thickening solutions, and increasing reaction rates (reaction rate increases when the particles are fine because then more surface of reactants get the chance to react with each other).
What is the Difference Between Agglomeration and Deglomeration?
Agglomeration and deglomeration are opposite to each other since these terms refer to the combination or breakdown of masses. The key difference between agglomeration and deglomeration is that agglomeration is the process of aggregation, whereas deglomeration is the process of breakdown of aggregates. Furthermore, the reactants in agglomeration are small or fine particle while the reactants in deglomeration are large substances.
Moreover, the final product of agglomeration reaction is a large mass, whereas the final products of deglomeration are fine particles. Besides, in terms of their applications, agglomeration is important in the reduction of dust generation, decrease in solubility, decrease in reactivity, improvement of wettability, etc. Meanwhile, deglomeration is important in increasing the solubility of substances, increasing the reactivity of reactants, thickening solutions, and increasing reaction rates. So, this is also a significant difference between agglomeration and deglomeration.
Summary – Agglomeration vs Deglomeration
Agglomeration and deglomeration are opposite to each other since both these terms refer to the combination or breakdown of masses. The key difference between agglomeration and deglomeration is that agglomeration is the process of aggregation, whereas deglomeration is the process of breakdown of aggregates.
1. Öner, Mualla, et al. “Importance of Calcium-Based Scales in Kidney Stone.” Mineral Scales and Deposits, 2015, pp. 393–416., doi:10.1016/b978-0-444-63228-9.00015-2.
2. Marquardt, Wolfgang. “Adaptivity in Process Systems Modeling.” European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering-12, 35th European Symposium of the Working Party on Computer Aided Process Engineering Computer Aided Chemical Engineering, 2002, pp. 42–56., doi:10.1016/s1570-7946(02)80038-4.
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1. “Visual Representation of Agglomeration” By FSHN595 Team 10 – Made in Paint (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “SolGelTechnologyStages” By Claudionico – Own work , inspired in Brinker and Scherer book (“Sol-gel Science: The Physics and Chemistry of Sol-gel Processing”) and in several images found online (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia