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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Understanding flow properties of mannitol powder at a range of temperature and humidity

Salehi, Hamid; Karde, Vikram; Hajmohammadi, Hajar; Dissanayake, Susantha; Larsson, Sylvia H.; Heng, Jerry Y. Y.; Bradley, Mike


Inadequate flowability of powders in industries during handling can cause many problems. For example, lack of flow from hoppers, poor tablet weight consistency, and low production rate in tableting. Many factors are known to commonly affect flow properties of powders, such as temperature, humidity and conditioning duration. In this paper, flow properties of a mannitol powder, which was conditioned between 24 and 72 h at various high relative humidities and temperature, were measured using a shear tester. A statistical model was developed to investigate the relative importance of these variables on the mannitol flow properties. The developed model showed all independent variables are significant in estimating bulk cohesion. Two separate approaches were used to evaluate inter-particle forces in the bulk, and how these changed with environmental conditions. First, inter-particle forces were inferred from the measured bulk properties using the Rumpf model approach. Secondly, inter-particle forces were predicted based on a model of moisture present on the particle surface using a combination of Kelvin model with the Laplace-Young (KLY) equation. The second approach also involved a new method to measure surface energy of mannitol powder based on measurements using Finite Dilution Inverse Gas Chromatography (FD-IGC). The surface energies of the mannitol powder were measured at high temperature (35 degrees C) and at different range of relative humidities. In spite of the fundamentally different approaches to the two ways of inferring inter-particles forces, these forces came out within less than 1.5:1 in magnitude. The Rumpf approach from bulk behaviour data obviously reflected the measured change in behaviour with humidity in particular, but this was not predicted from the KLY approach, however the likely reasons for this are postulated and recommendations for improvement are made.


Flow properties; Interparticle forces; Continuous mechanical modelling; Statistical modelling; Shear tester

Published in

International Journal of Pharmaceutics
2021, Volume: 596, article number: 120244
Publisher: ELSEVIER

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Pharmaceutical Chemistry

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