Distribution-Independent Empirical Modeling of Particle Size Distributions - Coarse-Shredding of Mixed Commercial Waste
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Particle size distributions (PSDs) belong to the most critical properties of particulate materials. They influence process behavior and product qualities. Standard methods for describing them are either too detailed for straightforward interpretation (i.e., lists of individual particles), hide too much information (summary values), or are distribution-dependent, limiting their applicability to distributions produced by a small number of processes. In this work the distribution-independent approach of modeling isometric log-ratio-transformed shares of an arbitrary number of discrete particle size classes is presented. It allows using standard empirical modeling techniques, and the mathematically proper calculation of confidence and prediction regions. The method is demonstrated on coarse-shredding of mixed commercial waste from Styria in Austria, resulting in a significant model for the influence of shredding parameters on produced particle sizes (with classes: > 80 mm, 30–80 mm, 0–30 mm). It identifies the cutting tool geometry as significant, with a p-value < 10–5, while evaluating the gap width and shaft rotation speed as non-significant. In conclusion, the results question typically chosen operation parameters in practice, and the applied method has proven to be valuable addition to the mathematical toolbox of process engineers.