Time-Dependent Testing Evaluation and Modeling for Rubber Stopper Seal Performance

PDA J Pharm Sci Technol. 2018 Mar-Apr;72(2):134-148. doi: 10.5731/pdajpst.2017.008052. Epub 2017 Nov 20.

Abstract

Sufficient rubber stopper sealing performance throughout the entire sealed product life cycle is essential for maintaining container closure integrity in the parenteral packaging industry. However, prior publications have lacked systematic considerations for the time-dependent influence on sealing performance that results from the viscoelastic characteristics of the rubber stoppers. In this paper, we report results of an effort to study these effects by applying both compression stress relaxation testing and residual seal force testing for time-dependent experimental data collection. These experiments were followed by modeling fit calculations based on the Maxwell-Wiechert theory modified with the Kohlrausch-Williams-Watts stretched exponential function, resulting in a nonlinear, time-dependent sealing force model. By employing both testing evaluations and modeling calculations, an in-depth understanding of the time-dependent effects on rubber stopper sealing force was developed. Both testing and modeling data show good consistency, demonstrating that the sealing force decays exponentially over time and eventually levels off because of the viscoelastic nature of the rubber stoppers. The nonlinearity of stress relaxation derives from the viscoelastic characteristics of the rubber stoppers coupled with the large stopper compression deformation into restrained geometry conditions. The modeling fit with capability to handle actual testing data can be employed as a tool to calculate the compression stress relaxation and residual seal force throughout the entire sealed product life cycle. In addition to being time-dependent, stress relaxation is also experimentally shown to be temperature-dependent. The present work provides a new, integrated methodology framework and some fresh insights to the parenteral packaging industry for practically and proactively considering, designing, setting up, controlling, and managing stopper sealing performance throughout the entire sealed product life cycle.LAY ABSTRACT: Historical publications in the parenteral packaging industry have lacked systematic considerations for the time-dependent influence on the sealing performance that results from effects of viscoelastic characteristic of the rubber stoppers. This study applied compression stress relaxation testing and residual seal force testing for time-dependent experimental data collection. These experiments were followed by modeling fit calculations based on the Maxwell-Wiechert theory modified with the Kohlrausch-Williams-Watts stretched exponential function, resulting in a nonlinear, time-dependent sealing force model. Experimental and modeling data show good consistency, demonstrating that sealing force decays exponentially over time and eventually levels off. The nonlinearity of stress relaxation derives from the viscoelastic characteristics of the rubber stoppers coupled with the large stopper compression deformation into restrained geometry conditions. In addition to being time-dependent stress relaxation, it is also experimentally shown to be temperature-dependent. The present work provides a new, integrated methodology framework and some fresh insights to the industry for practically and proactively considering, designing, setting up, controlling, and managing of the stopper sealing performance throughout the entire sealed product life cycle.

Keywords: Cap; Capping; Compression stress relaxation (CSR); Container closure integrity (CCI); Container closure system (CCS); Kohlrausch-Williams-Watts (KWW) stretched exponential function; Maxwell-Wiechert model; Residual seal force (RSF); Seal; Stopper; Temperature-dependent; Time-dependent; Vial.

MeSH terms

  • Drug Compounding
  • Drug Packaging*
  • Elasticity
  • Equipment Design
  • Materials Testing
  • Models, Statistical
  • Rubber / chemistry*
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / methods
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors
  • Viscosity

Substances

  • Rubber