Potential of carnuba wax in ameliorating brittle fracture during tableting

Pak J Pharm Sci. 2009 Jan;22(1):58-61.


Carnuba wax (as binder) forms hard tablets even at low compression load attributable to its high plasticity. The aim of the present study is to investigate its potential in ameliorating brittle fracture (i.e., lamination and capping) a problem often encountered during tableting. Granules of paracetamol (test drug) were made by triturating the drug powder with the melted wax or starch mucilage (20%w/v). Resulting granules were separated into different size fractions which were separately compressed into tablets with and without a centre hole (as in- built defect) using different compression loads. The tablets were evaluated for tensile strength and the data used to calculate the brittle fracture index (BFI), using the expression: BFI = 0.5(T/T(0)-1) where T0 and T are the tensile strength of tablets with and without a centre hole respectively. The BFI values were significantly lower (p<0.05) in tablets made with carnuba wax compared with tablets made with maize starch as binders. Increase in particle size of the granules or lowering of the compression load further ameliorated the brittle fracture tendency of the tablets. Using granules with the larger particle size (850microm) and applying the lowest unit of load (6 arbitrary unit on the load scale of the tableting machine) the BFI values were 0.03 (carnuba wax tablets) and 0.11 (maize starch tablets). When the conditions were reversed (i.e., a highest load, 8 units and the smallest particle size, 212microm) the BFI values now became 0.17 (carnuba wax tablets) and 0.26 (maize starch tablets). The indication is that the use of large granules and low compression loads to form tablets can further enhance the potential of carnuba wax in ameliorating brittle fracture tendency of tablets during their manufacture.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / chemistry*
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Drug Compounding
  • Excipients / chemistry*
  • Hardness
  • Particle Size
  • Powders
  • Starch / chemistry*
  • Tablets
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical* / methods
  • Tensile Strength
  • Waxes / chemistry*


  • Excipients
  • Powders
  • Tablets
  • Waxes
  • Acetaminophen
  • Starch