Extension of the method of moments for population balances involving fractional moments and application to a typical agglomeration problem

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  • Politecnico di Torino
  • IRSID Institut de Recherches de la Siderurgie Francaise


The method of moment (MOM) is a powerful tool for solving population balance. Nevertheless it cannot be used in every circumstance. Sometimes, in fact, it is not possible to write the governing equations in closed form. Higher moments, for instance, could appear in the evolution of the lower ones. This obstacle has often been resolved by prescribing some functional form for the particle size distribution. Another example is the occurrence of fractional moment, usually connected with the presence of fractal aggregates. For this case we propose a procedure that does not need any assumption on the form of the distribution but it is based on the "moments generating function" (that is the Laplace transform of the distribution). An important result of probability theory is that the kth derivative of the moments generating function represents the kth moment of the original distribution. This result concerns integer moments but, taking in account the Weyl fractional derivative, could be extended to fractional orders. Approximating fractional derivative makes it possible to express the fractional moments in terms of the integer ones and so to use regularly the method of moments.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-112
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2004


  • Aggregation, Fractal dimension, Method of moments, Population balance