Use of Mortar and Pestle

Technology in the present time has scraped most of the ancient tools. There still exists some ancient types of equipment which are unreplaceable.

These types of equipment have unique features which have wide utility in different fields. One such kind of equipment which has set of paired tool, bowl cup-shaped structure with a rod is known as Mortar and Pestle.

The rich working surface enables the effective use of Mortar and Pestle. Considering the working of Mortar and Pestle, both of its parts have their own unique properties which work coordinately with each other in an effective manner. Mortar is an octagonal face, polished bowl shape, and deep molded base while Pestle is cylindrical and oversized in lower. There is a variety of Mortar and pestle, categorized on the basis of constituting material.

The categories are as follows: Grey Agate, Glass, Wood, Granite, and Ceramics. Each type of Mortar and Pestle has edge over other on the basis of their utility.

Considering each type of Mortar and Pestle, the Grey Agate mortar pestle maintains the purity of the sample and its texture. It is preferable to use in manual handy processes to crush ingredient which has a hardness less than 7. This makes it more suitable for pharmacy field. The glass one is suitable for mixing of the colourful substances/ components. The Mortar and Pestle made up of wood are suitable for group cooking and the gradual buildup of flavours. Lastly, Mortar and Pestle of Ceramics are highly suitable for bruising and maintain desired ingredient flavours.

Generally, Mortar which is thick wall bowl shape structure and pestle is blunt end rod structure. The rough touch of mortar pestle holds the ingredient against the blunt end of the pestle. The strikes from pestle apply some amount of thrust. This thrust is enough to first break-down them into semi-solid constituents. The end result of this process is fine powder or paste.

The use of mortar and pestle is to grind, mesh or crush various ingredients. One of the key applications and use of mortar and pestle is to transform ingredients into fine powder and paste. Most importantly, this use of mortar and pestle is only possible due to the unique dimensions, material quality and texture of mortar and pestle. The field of pharmacy, Chemistry, food industry highly preferred to use of Mortar and Pestle.

Here, mortar and pestle are considerably more used in the 3 fields, the brief discussion about the use of mortar and pestle in these respective fields is as follows:

·         First of all, the pharmacy shows high uses mortar and pestle in medicinal preparations.

The breakdown of the ingredient to a specific range plays a significant role. This tool can even maintain the purity at the same time. Certainly, the smaller fine ingredient can easily break through the systemic barrier of the body. Hence, long lasting, fast, effective and easy cure can be attained. Alternatively, Mortar & Pestle is used in DNA extraction by cryogenic grinding.

·         Another field is Chemistry and Scientific laboratory which showcases the use of mortar and pestle.

When the grinding medium is acidic or volatile the automated grinder is less preferred. This is due to the fact that acidic medium can reduce the lifespan of the machine. As a result, a mortar and pestle of granite or marble can be suitable for the situation. They are less likely to show problems and easy to clean at the same time.

·         Finally, Use of Mortar and pestle is in food and edibles industry.

from ancient time till up to date, formulation of species involves Mortar and Pestle.  These spices add flavour to your food. Above all, mortar and pestle maintain the desired texture and mixing of the ingredient.

In Material Science we use Agate Mortar and Pestles for mixing different composition or mixing single material homogeneously. We also use it for granulation of fine powder. Final Property of material or product is function of Process, Composition and Structure. Mixing plays a vital role in final product quality.

Many a times, chemically synthesise powder (e.g, Co precipitated powders) are extremely fine. We can not press fine powder as

A. Die filling is not proper.

B. Fine powder also enters into die punch clearance. So after pressing, die such gets damage.

C. Many a times ceramic powders do not have plasticity to bind. In such cases, either we mix Ceramic Powder  mix with 2% PVA solution ( Binder) and 1% PEG 300 in agate mortar.

Industrially the granulation process we do in Granulators, Spray driers or Freeze Drier.  We make slurries  in water or organic solvents along with dispersants, binder, plasticiser, anti-settling agents, antifoaming agents etc.

In granulation process, Cake formed by drying of slurry ( Tray Drying/Filtration etc). At first we crush cake and put into granulators for making fine to large granules depending on requirement of process. In Spray drying we spray slurry in hot chamber to make spherical granules. In Freeze drying, Slurry sprayed in very cold chamber for getting freezes granules, which are dried to very good compressible granules in Freeze drier. There are may process parameters need to be optimised in each stage. Granules property wise Freeze dried granules are better than spray dried granules than granulators in general.

For small quantities of less than 100 gm, these process are not feasible. We prefer mixing in Agate mortar for proper homogeneous mixing and granulation.

Some aspects of Agate

Agate is a natural stone, mainly cryptocrystalline Silica or  Chalcozanide Silica. It composes very fine inter growth of trigonal Quartz and monoclinic Moganite. Hardness in Mohs scale is 6.5-7. Specific Gravity is in range of (2.5 – 2.65). Property of agate vary from mines to mines. Property details are also available in our agate mortar and pestle product page.

We get erosion mark in agate mortar and pestle for mixing of materials harder than Agate. In that case, option is to use Alumina Mortar and pestle or Zirconia Mortar and pestles. Alumina mortar and pestles are also easy for cleaning by use of acids. But Alumina Mortar and pestles are not so tough as Agate; thus careful mixing is necessary to prevent breakage.

Generally we recommend to clean agate mortar pestles by following ways:

A. Rinsing by warm soapy water and clubbing by nylon brush. Please do not use any metallic Brush or harder material than agate.

B. Cleaning by Acetone and tissue is widely followed in laboratory

To know in details read our article  cleaning of agate mortar and pestles


Check out our Mortar and Pestle Products:

Gray Agate Mortar and Pestle

Black Granite Mortar and Pestle

Alumina Mortar and Pestle

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