Published: CABEQ 34 (4) (2020) 209-222
Paper type: Review

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Understanding Caking Phenomena in Industrial Fertilizers: A Review

A. Ulusal and C. Avsar

One of the most important problems of the fertilizer industry is that fertilizers show caking tendency during transportation and storage. Caking occurs as a result of interaction at the contact points formed between solid fertilizer particles. These interactions, also called contact mechanisms, are activated by a number of properties that fertilizers have and by environmental conditions. Prevention of caking mechanism is a substantial research subject that directly affects the quality and financial value of the final product and ensures its applicability. Fertilizer in good quality can provide ease in agricultural applications, and directly affect plant nutrition and crop productivity. At this point, there are various promoter practices for obtaining the free-flowing property in fertilizers that can be maintained or suggested during or after production, both in industry and in R&D studies. In order to develop new process control points in the industry, it is important to understand the factors that cause caking and the mechanism of physicochemical interactions that progress depending on these factors. In addition, it is essential to improve the storage conditions of the fertilizer, as well as to maintain its quality until end-use. This paper focuses on the caking behavior of fertilizers in detail, giving brief information about the prevention of caking and various types of anticaking agents.

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caking, particle contact mechanisms, granular fertilizers, anticaking agents