Selecting the Right Test Sieve for Non-Conventional Use

Selecting the Right Test Sieve for Non-Conventional Use

While sifting flour for a cake is significantly different than test sieving aggregates for road construction, the premise is the same: there’s a recipe for success to follow. Both require specific processes and any variation can result in failure. Whether baking or sieving, understanding that you need to follow the recipe is integral to a good result.

What Should You Know About Test Sieves?

First, there are hundreds to choose from, based on diameter, height, opening sizes, the materials they are made from – and how they will be used. While the most popular frame diameters for “conventional” test sieves are 8in or 12in (203 or 305mm), conventional sieves are also available in diameters as small as 3in (76mm) and as large as 18in (457mm).

For many years, brass was the material of choice for both frames and woven-wire mesh because it was affordable. Stainless steel was expensive and its use was reserved for applications where contamination or abrasion could be a problem. These days, brass has become more expensive while stainless steel has come down in price, making it the most durable, affordable and cleanest option for frames and cloth. With proper care and use, Stainless Steel Sieves have the longest service life and provide the best option to avoid sample contamination.

Thankfully, we at Gilson know sieves and sieving – and that there is more than avoiding sample contamination to take into account, such as:

  • Level of precision required
  • Fragility of the sample
  • Sample composition: fine granular or powder, or bulky and hard
  • Which test sieves work best with which Sieve Testing equipment

We also know that some applications require non-conventional test sieves. This blog post will explore some of the more unique characteristics and factors related to “alternative” test sieves and identify the right receptacle for your test sieving needs. The charts below highlight what could be considered alternative Test Sieves, their related standards and most-suited sieving equipment, applications, unique properties and material(s) suited to the particular test sieve, and more.

ASTM Precision Electro-Formed Sieves ASTM Precision Electro-Formed Sieves
Properties Formed using electrodeposition of nickel, producing a planar mesh with very consistent square openings. Stainless steel full or half-height frames. Highly accurate and efficient. Opening sizes that range from 5µm to 75µm.


ASTM E161 Standard Specification for Precision Electroformed Sieves
Applications Very fine granular materials, dry powders. Well-suited to dry sieving but wet sieving can be performed with materials that tend to agglomerate. With tolerances of ±1 to 2µm, they are better suited than woven-wire sieves to perform precise particle sizing operations. (Pharmaceuticals, chemicals, cement, food and grain, powdered metals, ceramics)
Related Sieving Equipment Vibratory or Sonic Shakers, GilSonic GA-6 AutoSiever, Gilson GA-8 UltraSiever®
Comments Available in 3in and 8in diameter. Standard and special opening sizes can be ordered.

Micron Air Jet Test Sieve Micron Air Jet Test Sieve
200mm diameter sieves with stainless steel cloth and frames, available in wide
range of opening sizes, 20µm to 4.75mm. Frame is fitted with special sealing gasket. Comes with ASTM E11 Compliance Grade documentation.
Standard ASTM E11 Standard Specification for Woven Wire Test Sieve Cloth and Test Sieves
Applications Specifically made for the Micron Air Jet Sieve® using gentle air pressure for separating 10 to 100g dry powder samples on one sieve at a time. (Pharmaceuticals, chemicals, ores, metal powders, aggregates, ceramics, cement, concrete, coal)
Related Sieving Equipment Micron Air Jet (old style)
Comments Made exclusively for older style of Micron Air Jet, but adaptable to the new Mikro Air Jet Sieve™ by removing the old sealing gasket and installing the SSA-9 low-profile O-ring.

Deep Frame Wet Wash Sieves Deep Frame Wet Wash Sieves
Properties Stainless Steel or Brass/Stainless construction. Depth range of 4-8in with 3-12in diameters. Brass Frames work well with most applications. Stainless Steel frames are more economical, more durable and offer a longer service life than Brass Frames. Deep frames keep water from splashing out and prevent sample loss.
Standard ASTM E11 Standard Specification for Woven Wire Test Sieve Cloth and Test Sieves
Applications Fines content determinations or to wash away excessive fines from specimens for subsequent particle size testing. Ideal for testing fragile sample specimens. (Pharmaceuticals, chemicals, ores, metal powders, aggregates, ceramics, cement, concrete, coal)
Related Sieving Equipment Most commonly used in hand-sieving operations, with rinse water and/or gentle spray action.
Comments Available with optional backing cloth for extended service life.

Rocker Screen Set Rocker Screen Set
Properties 12in square steel frame with angled bottom is designed for manual “rocking” (sample agitation). The frame accommodates interchangeable stainless steel wire cloth squares and bottom pan. Wire cloth squares available in No.4 (4.75mm), No. 8 (2.36mm) and No. 16 (1.18mm), and 3/8in, 1/2in, 3/4in and 1in mesh sizes.
Standard ASTM E11 Standard Specification for Woven Wire Test Sieve Cloth and Test Sieves
Applications Efficient primary separation of coarse-grained samples for scalping or field gradations. (Aggregates, concrete, asphalt, coal)
Related Sieving Equipment No. 4 Test Screen Tray Cloth Only with many opening sizes available, and Stainless Steel Wire Cloth Squares ranging from .250in (6.3mm) to 4.0in (100.0mm), and 150µm, 425µm and 850µm.
Comments Not recommended for use with mesh sizes below No. 20.

Two-Part Replaceable Mesh Sieves Two-Part Replaceable Mesh Sieves
Properties Constructed of Brass or Clear, Non-Metallic Polycarbonate with 8in (203mm) diameter. Polycarbonate frames nest with each other but not with standard metallic frames, while Brass Frames nest together or with other metallic 8in frames. Polyester or Nylon cloth in 10in squares are tensioned in place when the frame halves are pushed together. Disposable cloth reduces contamination risk and maintenance time. Polyester cloth has strong wet stability; nylon cloth has high tensile strength, but tends to stretch in water.
Standard Cloth Squares opening sizes are equivalent to ASTM E11, but do not meet tolerance requirements. 
Applications Polycarbonate and Brass two-part replaceable frames work well in particle sizing operations and fines content determinations in wash-sieving. (Dry chemicals, powders, aggregates, sands, soils)
Related Sieving Equipment No. 20 to No. 80 Mesh, and No. 100 and finer mesh. Polyester or nylon cloth.
Comments Polycarbonate frames offer easy sample viewing and are not autoclavable. Brass frames have a longer service life.

3” Non-Metallic Sieves 3” Non-Metallic Sieves
Properties Durable and hand-made by Gilson for special applications. Clear Polycarbonate frames are fitted with non-metallic woven cloth. Polyester monofilament mesh has opening sizes equivalent to U.S. Standard series from No. 50 (300µm) to No. 635 (20µm), as well as 7, 10 and 15µm.
Standard None
Applications Manual use only, primarily used wet with small samples. (Pharmaceuticals, chemicals, food and grain, metal powders)
Related Sieving Equipment Not applicable.
Comments Sieves are autoclavable and can be microwaved to dry; they nest with each other, but not with standard metallic sieves.

3” Acrylic Frame Test Sieves 3” Acrylic Frame Test Sieves
Properties Clear acrylic frames are precision machined and fitted with ASTM E11 stainless steel woven-wire cloth in opening sizes from 5.60mm to 20µm (No. 3 ½ to No. 635), or ASTM E161 Precision Electroformed cloth with openings from 150µm to 5µm. E11 Sieves can be verified to Inspection or Calibration Grades.
Standard ASTM E11 Standard Specification for Test Sieves and ASTM E161 Standard Specification for Precision Electroformed Sieves.
Particle sizing and separation of dry powders and fine granular materials ranging from 5.60mm to 5µm. (Pharmaceuticals, chemicals, food and grain, metal powders)
Related Sieving Equipment GA-6 GilSonic 3in AutoSiever and SS-3 Gilson Performer III 3in Sieve Shaker.
Comments E161 Precision Electroformed Sieves can be used for sizing of materials to 5µm with accuracy of ±1 to 2µm.

Test Sieves are Not a One-Size-Fits All Product

Even with the information contained within this blog post, figuring out which is the right test sieve for that more unique application can still be confusing. That’s why we also suggest contacting a member of Gilson’s Technical Support team for assistance or additional information. Technical Support can be reached by sending an email to or by phoning (800) 444-1508 Monday through Friday, Eastern time.

Need more information on sieving overall? There are several other sieve-related blogs and videos posted on the Gilson website. Check out this link for additional topics, as well as our video library.