Factors affecting aerosol performance during nebulization with jet and ultrasonic nebulizers

Eur J Pharm Sci. 2003 Aug;19(5):443-55. doi: 10.1016/s0928-0987(03)00148-9.


Nebulization of aqueous solutions is a convenient delivery system to deliver drugs to the lungs because it can produce droplets small enough to reach the alveolar region. However, the droplet size might be affected by the changes in the temperature and the concentration of the nebulizing solution in the reservoir during nebulization. In this study, the changes in the droplet size over the nebulization time using a PariBoy air-jet and a Multisonic ultrasonic nebulizer have been studied. The findings were related to changes in the temperature, concentration, surface tension, viscosity and saturated vapour pressure of the nebulizing solution. By using the jet nebulizer, an increase in the droplet size followed by a decrease has been observed. This observation could be attributed to the approx. 7 degrees C reduction of the temperature during the first 2 min in the jet nebulizer reservoir which increased the viscosity of the nebulizing solution. After this initial period of time, the increasing drug concentration induced a reduction of the surface tension and, consequently, a decrease in the droplet size. However, with the ultrasonic nebulizer a temperature increase of approx. 20 degrees C during the first 6 min in the nebulizing solution was observed leading to a decrease in droplet size, viscosity and surface tension and an increasing saturated vapour pressure. This again led to smaller average droplet sizes.

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols*
  • Algorithms
  • Buffers
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Freeze Drying
  • Kinetics
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers*
  • Particle Size
  • Pharmaceutical Solutions
  • Recombinant Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Surface Tension
  • Temperature
  • Ultrasonics
  • Viscosity
  • Volatilization


  • Aerosols
  • Buffers
  • Pharmaceutical Solutions
  • Recombinant Proteins