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Fertilizer Research 30: 99-114, 1991.

1991 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands. 99


Fertilizer caking: mechani sms, influential factors, and met hods of
preventi on
D.W. Rut l and
International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), P.O. Box 2040, Muscle Shoals, AL 35662, USA
Key words: Anticaking agents, caking, coating, conditioners
Abstract
Most fertilizers have some tendency to form lumps or agglomerates (caking) during storage. The
mechani sm of caking in fertilizers is most often attributed to the formation of salt bridges and/ or
capillary adhesion. The severity of caking can be influenced by a number of factors, such as chemical
composi t i on, moisture content, particle structure, mechanical strength, hygroscopic properties, product
t emperat ure, ambi ent conditions, storage time, and storage pressure. The various met hods of reducing
or eliminating caking in fertilizers basically involve process control, st orage/ packagi ng conditions,
and/ or addition of anticaking agents.
Caking mechanisms, factors that influence caking, and met hods of prevention are discussed in this
paper. Particular attention is given to the various types of anticaking agents and their modes of action.
The paper also provides a fairly comprehensive list of commercially available anticaking agents and
their producers.
Introduction
It is the responsibility of the manufact urer to see
that the consumer receives a quality fertilizer. A
quality fertilizer should meet not only the
specified nutrient requi rement s but also certain
' expect ed' standards of physical quality. There-
fore, a fertilizer should be as free flowing, dust
free, and nonhygroscopic as possible.
Fertilizers, bet ween the time of production
and final application to the soil, must be stored,
either in bul k or in bags, for periods that can
vary from less than a mont h to a year or more.
Duri ng this time it is essential that the materials
remain free flowing (noncaked). Unfort unat el y,
many fertilizers, under certain conditions, t end
to cake into hard lumps [1].
Causes of caking
Caking of fertilizer is caused by the formation of
contact points bet ween the particles (granules,
prills, tablets, briquettes, powder, crystals, etc.).
These contact points differ in nature and can
be divided into t hree types, namely, phase
contacts, adhesive contacts, and liquid contacts
[2].
Phase contacts (salt bridges) are crystal bridges
formed at the contact points bet ween the fertil-
izer particles. The most t roubl esome caking of
fertilizers is believed to be caused by crystal
bridging. Crystal bridges develop during storage
as a result of continuing internal chemical re-
actions, dissolution/recrystallization processes,
and/ or thermal effects.
Adhesi ve contacts (capillary adhesion) are
formed as a result of molecular attraction be-
t ween the surfaces in contact. These forces of
attraction, known as Van der Waals forces, are
considered to be relatively weak. This type of
contact is influenced mostly by the plasticity of
the particles and the pressure exert ed on the
fertilizer material when it is stacked in bags or
piled in bulk. The condition is usually referred to
as bag or pile set, and the material normally
100
reverts to a free-flowing form rat her easily with a
minimal amount of handling.
Liquid contacts are due to considerable wet-
ting of the product , which causes films of a
sat urat ed solution to form bet ween particles.
Format i on of t hese types of contact points is
defined as ' sticking' . Al t hough such 'sticking' has
little strength, it is obviously undesirable.
Fact ors i nf l uenci ng caki ng
Caking in fertilizers can be influenced by a num-
ber of factors. These factors can be divided into
internal factors, related to the physical-chemical
constitution of the fertilizer, and external fac-
tors, rel at ed to the environmental conditions to
which the fertilizer is exposed during handling
and storage. Many of these factors are interre-
lated [1, 3, 4, 5, 6].
Internal factors
The moisture cont ent of the product is usually
consi dered to be the most important factor in
promot i ng caking. For most caking mechanisms,
t he presence of moisture, in the form of solution
phases, is essential. Generally, the higher the
degree of drying at the time of manufacture, the
less active the caking mechanisms will be. The
ext ent of drying requi red to effectively inactivate
caking mechanisms varies rather widely with
the composi t i on and physical makeup of the
fertilizer.
The chemical composition has an effect on the
caking t endency of a fertilizer. For example, it
has been shown that the caking t endency of
ammoni um ni t rat e-based and urea-based NPK
fertilizers is significantly great er than that of
ammoni um sulfate-based and ammoni um phos-
phat e-based NPK fertilizers. Even impurities
may affect caking. The Tennessee Valley Au-
thority (TVA) has demonst rat ed that iron and
aluminum impurities present in di ammoni um
phosphat e are effective in decreasing caking.
The size and shape of the particles are also
important. If the particles are relatively large,
well formed, and uniform in size and shape with
very little fine material, the specific surface area
is reduced. Consequent l y, forces of attraction
and points of contact bet ween adj acent particles
are reduced, lowering the tendency to cake.
The mechanical strength or hardness of the
particles has an effect on the caking tendency.
Weak granules may break down under stack or
pile pressure (crushing strength) or during handl-
ing (abrasion and impact strength). As a result, a
substantial quantity of fines can be created,
t her eby increasing the number of contact points
bet ween particles.
The hygroscopic properties of the product can
have an effect on the degree of caking. All
fertilizers have a maximum relative humidity (re-
ferred to as the critical relative humidity [CRH])
above which t hey will absorb moisture. The
CRH, a uni que material propert y, is generally
l owered when the material contains impurities or
is mixed with ot her fertilizer salts. Caking as a
result of moisture absorption usually occurs
along the pile surface; with prol onged exposure
of the material to el evat ed humidities, caking
can become quite deep. The hygroscopic nat ure
of a fertilizer product , along with product tem-
perat ure, ambient t emperat ure, and atmospheric
relative humidity, also influences the mass trans-
fer of moisture through a bulk pile of fertilizer.
Transfer of moisture through a pile of fertilizer
can cause severe caking problems.
The t emperat ure of the product when placed
in storage influences caking tendency. Hi gher
t emperat ures increase the chemical reactivity,
such as the re-evaporat i on of wat er, which re-
sults in recrystallization and formation of solid
crystalline bridges. Additionally, a high product
t emper at ur e can pr omot e particle plasticity caus-
ing the particles to deform under pressure. This
deformat i on promot es bot h crystal bridging and
capillary adhesion. For example, a report by
Nederl andse Stikstof Maatschappij (NSM), a
company that has done extensive research on the
caking t endency of urea, states, ' Ur ea being fed
to the stockpile at 50C to 70C will definitely
form strong cakes. The lower the feed tempera-
ture, the lower the t endency to cake. ' The con-
clusion of the study was that if the prills are
cool ed bel ow 30C before entering storage, t here
is less agglomeration and, mainly, the agglomer-
ates are softer [7].'
101
External factors
The warehouse or storage t emperat ure can have
an effect on caking t endency in fertilizer. Hi gher
ambi ent t emperat ures lower the CRH of a fertil-
izer material and t hereby increase its hygros-
copicity. For example, the CRH of a 15-15-15
ni t rophosphat e is approximately 55% at 30C,
whereas it is approximately 45% at 40C. Con-
versely, raising the t emperat ure of existing
warehouse air will reduce the relative humidity
( RH) . This met hod is empl oyed to lower the
warehouse RH bel ow the CRH of the fertilizer.
The humidity of the surrounding at mosphere
affects caking. As ment i oned previously, when a
fertilizer is exposed to a RH above its CRH,
absorpt i on of moisture will t ake place. Saturated
solutions will t hen be formed at the granule
surface, promot i ng capillary adhesion and crys-
tallization processes due to changes in tempera-
t ure or subsequent evaporation. Her e the severi-
ty of caking depends mainly on the rate of
absorpt i on. The rate of absorption is dependent
on factors such as:
1. The difference bet ween the RH of the air and
t he CRH of the fertilizer;
2. The movement of air with a constant RH over
t he fertilizer;
3. The moisture-holding capacity of the fertilizer
as influenced by the granulometry and porosi-
ty and
4. The rate of penet rat i on into the bulk of fertil-
izer [3].
The length of storage time influences caking.
In most cases, the t endency of a fertilizer to cake
is highest during the first few weeks after produc-
tion. However , if a fertilizer has a t endency to
cake, in most cases prol onged storage periods
will result in a significant increase in caking.
Conversely, if a fertilizer does not have a ten-
dency to cake, prol onged storage will usually not
result in caking.
The pressure exert ed at the bot t om of a stack
or pile of fertilizer has a definite effect on cak-
ing. As with storage time, if a fertilizer has a
t endency to cake, excessive and prol onged pres-
sure will result in a significant increase in caking.
Under pressure, particle deformat i on may occur,
resulting in increased contact area. Conversely,
if a fertilizer does not have a t endency to cake,
excessive and prol onged pressure (within reason-
able limits) will usually not result in caking.
Solutions to caking
The fertilizer industry has adopt ed various mea-
sures to alleviate caking, including the following:
1. The use of various drying processes to obtain
a product with a low moisture content.
2. The use of various cooling processes to obtain
a product with a low t emperat ure.
3. The use of various granulation, prilling, and
pelletizing processes to produce larger parti-
cles t hereby decreasing the surface area and
number of contact points bet ween particles.
4. The use of screening equi pment to obt ai n a
more uniform particle size t hereby decreasing
the surface area and number of contact points
bet ween particles.
5. The control of storage conditions such as RH,
t emperat ure, pile height, and storage time.
6. Packaging fertilizer products in moisture-
resistant bags.
7. The addition of anticaking agents (con-
ditioners).
As indicated, much can be done to decrease
the caking t endency by improving bot h process
and storage conditions. However , there is always
a practical and economical limit to which the
above measures can be used. Thus, in many
cases the use of an anticaking agent in combina-
tion with process and storage control is the obvi-
ous answer to caking problems. However , it
should be emphasized here that an anticaking
agent cannot be used to compensat e for a poorl y
pr oduced or handled fertilizer.
Acti on of anticaking agents
Various modes of action have been suggested to
explain how anticaking agents prevent caking.
The following mechanisms are commonl y cited
in the literature [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]:
1. Preventing saturated solutions on the surfaces
of two adj acent particles from coming in
contact.
102
2. Spreading of the crystallizing phase over the
particle surface.
3. Nucl eat i on of small crystals during dissolu-
tion / recrystallization processes.
4. Modification of crystal makeup/ behavi or dur-
ing dissolution/recrystallization processes.
5. Inhibition of dissolution/recrystallization pro-
cesses.
6. Creat i on of a hydrophobi c barrier on the
surface of the particles.
7. Reduct i on of capillary adhesion bet ween par-
ticles.
8. Dryi ng of the granule surface.
9. Reduct i on in the strength of salt bridges be-
t ween particles.
The mode of action that prevents caking in a
particular fertilizer is det ermi ned predomi nant l y
by the t ype of anticaking agent used and to a
lesser ext ent the t ype of fertilizer being con-
ditioned. In most cases, more than one mode of
action is involved.
Types of anticaking agents
An anticaking agent is a material added to a
fertilizer to pr omot e the mai nt enance of good
physical condition (flowability) during storage
and handling. Anticaking agents can be classified
according to several criteria including mode of
action, conditioner chemistry, met hod of appli-
cation, and fertilizer type. For this discussion,
anticaking agents will be assigned to two
categories according to the met hod of applica-
tion, namel y, (1) coating agents and (2) internal
conditioners [1, 3, 4]. A fairly comprehensi ve list
of commercially available anticaking agents and
their producers is included in the Appendi x.
Coating agents
Coating agents are conditioning materials that
are applied uniformly ont o t he surface of the
fertilizer particles. Most coating agents are either
very finely divided inert powders (dusts) that
adhere to t he particle surfaces or are liquids that
are sprayed ont o the surface. These anticaking
agents function by various mechanisms. Inert
powders such as kaolin clays (basic aluminum
silicate), di at omaceous eart h/ ki esel guhr (silica),
and talc (basic magnesium silicate) function as
mechanical barriers bet ween particles and also
serve to absorb, spread, and inactivate any solu-
tion phase that may occur on particle surfaces.
Wher e caking bonds do occur, the presence of
dust -t ype anticaking agents usually weakens the
bonds; thus, caking is less severe. Liquid coating
agents usually function either as crystal modifiers
to inhibit or weaken crystal growth on and be-
t ween the particles or as hydrophobi c barriers to
inhibit moisture absorption.
Inert powders. Clay anticaking agents are ex-
t remel y fine (typically 90% less than 10 jxm and
50% less than 1/ xm) and thus adhere well to the
fertilizer granules. Kaolin clays are widely avail-
able and relatively inexpensive. When used
alone t hey are usually sufficiently effective for
use on NP or NPK fertilizers and on urea. They
are not normally considered effective for use on
ammoni um nitrate or ot her high-nitrate prod-
ucts. However , kaolin clay combi ned with cer-
tain organic additives can be used with these
product s; organically t reat ed kaolin is an accep-
t ed condi t i oner for ammoni um nitrate.
Di at omaceous earth (also referred to as kiesel-
guhr) is coarser than most clays (typically 90%
minus 20 txm and 50% minus 3b~m) and thus
does not usually adhere to the fertilizer particles
as well as clay. However , di at omaceous earth
has good absorpt i on propert i es and is also an
effective anticaking agent for ammoni um nitrate.
The maj or disadvantages to using inert powders
as anticaking agents are their diluting effect on
the product analysis and their dustiness.
Liquid coating agents. These agents include or-
ganic surface active agents (surfactants) and non-
surface active agents.
Surfactants function by altering the interfacial
tension bet ween a solid and a liquid. Their ac-
tion as anticaking agents is not clearly under-
st ood, and various mechanisms have been pro-
p o s e d - p r o t e c t i o n from moisture, spreading of
liquid film, modification of crystal makeup/
behavi or, inhibition of dissolution and crystalli-
zation, and modification of bond tensile strength.
Because surfactant molecules comprise a non-
pol ar hydrophobi c (water repellent) group and
one or more polar hydrophilic (having a strong
affinity for water) groups, t hey can be subdivided
into two classes according to their polar struc-
ture: (1) ionic, which can be further classified
according to the polarity of the charge carried on
the active part of the molecule (anionic if the
charge is negative or cationic if the charge is
positive), and (2) nonionic, where the molecule
is electronically neutral.
The anionic surfactants commonl y empl oyed
are mainly sulfonates, particularly alkyl aryl sul-
fonat es obt ai ned from napht hal ene and benzene
derivatives. It is primarily due to their hydropho-
bic nat ure that the anionic surfactants act as
anticaking agents; i. e. , this increases the contact
angle of the fertilizer solution and reduces the
tensile strength of the caking bond.
Cationic surfactants are domi nat ed by the fatty
amines, especially those with a long carbon
chain-like octadecyclamine. Caking is prevent ed
by t hree different mechanisms: by the formation
of a hydrophobi c coating on the surface of the
particles, thus improving wat er repellency; by
reducing capillary adhesion bet ween particles;
and by inhibiting nucleation or otherwise mod-
ifying crystal growth.
The largest class of nonionic surfactants is the
pol yoxyet hyl ene condensates, but these have
only a moder at e effect and are not widely used.
Silicone fluids may be considered as nonionic
surfactants; although t hey are used as anticaking
agents for many powders, their use on fertilizers
is limited due to their high cost. Ot her nonionic
surfactants include fatty acid esters, substituted
ureas, and aldehydes and ket ones with low
mol ecul ar weight.
Nonsurface active coating agents are organic
compounds that do not exhibit surface activity
but that form a moisture-resistant layer on the
surface of the fertilizer particle. Typical nonsur-
face active coating agents include paraffin wax,
synthetic polymers, and oils. They can be used
alone or in combi nat i on with an inert dust.
Internal or chemical conditioners
This t ype of conditioner (anticaking agent) is
added to the fertilizer during processing. These
conditioners act internally, usually as hardeners
or crystal modifiers to improve storage prop-
erties.
103
For urea conditioning, a current popul ar prac-
tice in some countries is the inclusion of 0. 3%-
0. 5% of formal dehyde in the final product. The
formal dehyde is added to the mol t en urea in the
form of a 37% formal dehyde solution or concen-
t rat ed urea-formal dehyde (UF85 containing 26%
urea, 59% formal dehyde, and 15% water). For-
mal dehyde addition also reduces the formation
of dust in the finishing (granulation) process
because the granules are harder and more resis-
tant to abrasion and breakage than is unt reat ed
material.
For ammoni um nitrate, the most popular in-
ternal condi t i oner is magnesium nitrate, which is
added in the form of a solution to the molten
ammoni um nitrate in many commercial pro-
cesses. A t reat ed product typically contains
about 1.8% magnesium nitrate [8].
Fertilizer products (diammonium phosphat e
and monoammoni um phosphate) made from
wet-process phosphoric acid characteristically
contain significant quantities of iron and
aluminum phosphat e impurities. These im-
purities serve as effective internal conditioners in
these products. The iron and aluminum phos-
phat es are found in the products as amorphous
' gels' that harden the products and apparently
immobilize the solution phase. Format i on of the
iron and aluminum phosphat es under conditions
of relatively high pH and low t emperat ure pro-
mot es format i on of the amorphous gel-type
structure rat her than the less desirable crystalline
forms. Caking probl ems with some granular
di ammoni um phosphat es have been traced to the
use of wet-process phosphoric acid containing a
low level of iron and aluminum impurities [4, 5].
Method of applying anticaking agents
The met hod used to apply anticaking agents to
the fertilizer depends upon the fertilizer material
being t reat ed and the anticaking agent being
used. The anticaking agents must always be
spread u n i f o r ml y - o n the particle surface if the
agent used is a coating agent or t hroughout the
fertilizer if it is an internal conditioner. In certain
manufacturing processes, the t reat ment is an in-
trinsic part of the process, whereas in others the
anticaking t reat ment may be a separat e oper-
104
ation. As ment i oned earlier, t here are a number
of materials that can be used to prevent caking
of fertilizers. Even so, research into new anticak-
ing agents is constantly being carried out, and
new product s are being devel oped and intro-
duced. Devel opment is not restricted to only
new product s; it includes new techniques as well.
The most frequent l y used met hods for applying
anticaking agents are described.
Coating agents
Inert powders can be supplied to the fertilizer
particles by using a rot ary coating drum l ocat ed
downst ream from the screening and cooling
equi pment . In some cases the inert powder has
been added to the fertilizer in the discharge
section of a rotary cooler. This met hod is less
common and generally less effective than em-
ploying a separat e coating drum. The proport i on
of powder applied usually is in the range of
1 %- 4 % by weight, thus reducing the analysis of
t he final product . For example, urea, if coat ed
with clay, will contain about 45% nitrogen in-
st ead of 46%.
In addition to this disadvantage, there may be
difficulties in obtaining a continuous layer of
coating on the granules. Despi t e these probl ems,
inert powders are frequent l y used to coat granu-
lar materials because this met hod is relatively
simple and low in cost.
Li qui d coating agents such as organic surfac-
tants can be sprayed ont o the fertilizer particles
as t hey pass through a rot ary coating drum.
Ot her points in t he process where liquid coating
agents have been added are at the end of the
product cooler, on the product belt, and at bel t
transfer points. The liquid coating has the fol-
lowing advantages over an inert powder coating:
1. The amount of liquid coating is usually less
than 0. 5%, thus resulting in smaller impact on
the final product analysis;
2. It is easier to obt ai n a homogeneous coating
layer with liquids than with powders;
3. There is less evolution of dust during produc-
tion and handling. In some cases liquid coat-
ing agents (amines, sulphonates, etc.) may
also be used in combi nat i on with inert pow-
ders (either added separately or the powder is
pret reat ed with the liquid coating agent).
Internal conditioners
As previously ment i oned, formal dehyde has
been used for t reat ment of urea for many years.
Accordi ng to a 1982 industrial survey made by
Esso Chemical, Canada, of 30 urea (solid) pro-
ducers in Nort h Ameri ca, 21 producers used
formal dehyde, 3 producers used URESOFT- 150,
and the ot hers used a variety of ot her condition-
ers or no conditioners at all (Table 1).
When formal dehyde or a compound contain-
ing formal dehyde is added to mol t en urea, a
reaction t akes place to yield ureaforms ranging
from small water-soluble molecules to moderat e-
ly large water-insoluble molecules. In most com-
mercial urea prilling/granulation processes, the
formal dehyde addition point is either at the out-
let of the second stage evaporat or where the
urea concentration is above 98.5% or at the inlet
of the second-stage evaporat or where the urea
concent rat i on is 95% or more.
Unr eact ed formal dehyde is carcinogenic and
toxic to animal life. Al t hough free formal dehyde
is essentially nonexistent in the product urea and
t here are no known direct environmental effects
resulting from the use of formal dehyde for urea
t reat ment , t here is a possibility that the toxic
nat ure of formal dehyde could prompt enact ment
of envi ronment al prot ect i on and worker safety
legislation that woul d prohibit the future use of
formal dehyde for this purpose. In recognition of
this possibility, TVA has done work to develop
ot her conditioners for urea that could replace
formal dehyde. As a result of these studies, TVA
has pat ent ed an alternative process and class of
conditioners for urea [9, 10]. The class of con-
ditioners used is lignosulfonates with the most
effective being calcium lignosulfonate.
Probabl y the most popul ar internal condition-
ers (stabilizing agent) used to prevent caking for
ammoni um nitrate prills is magnesium nitrate. It
has been used commercially for over 20 years in
t he Imperial Chemical Industries, Ltd. (ICI) Nit-
ram process. Al so, in the 1960s, the Agri-Chemi-
cal Division of the Uni t ed States Steel Corpora-
tion pat ent ed a process for adding magnesium
nitrate to ammoni um nitrate melt. In 1982 A1-
bright & Wilson, Lt d. , in the Uni t ed Kingdom,
devel oped still anot her system for injecting mag-
nesium nitrate into the ammoni um nitrate melt
bef or e prilling [8].
1 0 5
Table 1. Conditioners and storage of urea used by North Ameri can urea producers (Survey conducted by ESSO Chemical,
Canada, March 1982)
Response
Number of producers (mailed)
Number of responses
Urea solution or no solid urea production
Ur ea (solid) production
No conditioner
URESOFT-150
Clay
Formal dehyde
Oil-base conditioner
Concentration in product
Formal dehyde
Clay
URESOFT-150 (three responses)
Maximum temperature to storage
C
20
30
40
50
60
70
Addition point
Type of conditioner
0. 2%- 0. 6%
3%
1. 0.004%
2. 0.05% (granules)
3. 0.025% (prills)
Number of
responses
2
7
12
4
2
_!1
28
Conditioner
addition point
Number of
responses
56
42
12
30
3
3
1
21
2
URESOFT- 150
Clay
Oil-base conditioner
Formal dehyde
Formal dehyde
Time in storage
6-12 months
3- 6 months
3 months
1 week
Type of product storage
Bulk
Bag
Dehumidified storage
Yes
No
Heat ed
Dry product
Dry product
Dry product
Dry product prills
Urea melt
3
1
2
1
2o
27
Number of
responses
11
3
9
2
25
27
8
35
12
12
___2
26
106
Table 1 ( cont i nued)
Number of
Hei ght o f pi l e ( f t ) responses
20 or less 2
20-30 3
30-40 11
40-50 7
50-55 1
24
Screened when shi pped
No 8
N H 3 Level s in storage building
120 ppm 1
10-225 ppm 1
50-250 ppm 1
100 ppm 1
25 ppm 8
12
Formal dehyde levels in storage building
2 ppm 1
0.12 ppm 1
0.06-0.09 ppm 1
0.04-0.05 ppm 1
0.029 ppm 1
0.016 ppm 1
6
Selection of anticaking agents
In sel ect i ng an appr opr i at e ant i caki ng agent for a
fert i l i zer, t he fol l owi ng fact ors shoul d be con-
si dered:
1. Ant i caki ng effect of t he agent .
2. Avai l abi l i t y of ant i caki ng agent , its cost, and
i mpact on pr oduct analysis (dosage requi red).
3. Met hod and equi pment r equi r ed for appl yi ng
t he ant i caki ng agent .
4. Envi r onment al and wor ker safet y consi dera-
t i ons.
Al t hough t he t r end in devel oped count ri es is
t o devel op and use i nt ernal -t ype ant i caki ng
agent s and l i qui d coat i ng agent s, t he use of i nert
powder s wi t h or wi t hout organi c additives is still
c ommon in many count ri es.
In eval uat i ng pot ent i al powder - t ype ant i caki ng
agent s, it is advi sabl e t o first conduct an adher-
ence test; powder s t hat do not adher e well when
appl i ed in a wel l -desi gned coat i ng dr um are like-
ly t o resul t in dust y product s and r educed an-
t i caki ng efficiency. Pr oper sizing and oper at i on
of t he coat i ng dr um are i mpor t ant . The design of
t he coat i ng dr um is descri bed in several publica-
t i ons [4, 5, 11]. Powders f ound t o have accept-
abl e adher ence shoul d be subj ect ed to tests for
ant i caki ng efficiency at vari ous rat es of applica-
t i on wi t hi n t he range of economi c feasibility.
Adher ence of powder s of t en can be i mpr oved by
sprayi ng t he fertilizer wi t h a small amount of oil
(usually onl y 0. 2%- 0. 5%) ei t her bef or e or aft er
appl i cat i on of t he powder. Resul t s are best when
a fai rl y viscous oil (25-100 mPa' s) of hi gh paraf-
fin cont ent is used. Less viscous oils are t oo
easily absor bed i nt o granul es and also present
some hazar d due to volatility. The use of oils on
ammoni um ni t rat e or hi gh-ni t rat e product s, how-
ever, is not advisable because of t he hazards of
expl osi on or burni ng.
1 0 7
m , ,
L)
N
0
%1
0
O
'2, O
a g { "~ aa
."= N
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Re f e r e n c e s
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November-December
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3. Rosenblom J and Zettervall S (1978) Anticaking Treat-
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Based Complex Fertilizers and Ammonium Nitrate.
Proceedings of the Soviet-Swedish Symposium on the
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United Nations Industrial Development Organization,
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6. Thompson DC (1972) Fertiliser Caking and Its Preven-
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