Impact of Powder Properties on the Rheological Behavior of Excipients

Pharmaceutics. 2021 Aug 4;13(8):1198. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics13081198.


With the emergence of quality by design in the pharmaceutical industry, it becomes imperative to gain a deeper mechanistic understanding of factors impacting the flow of a formulation into tableting dies. Many flow characterization techniques are present, but so far only a few have shown to mimic the die filling process successfully. One of the challenges in mimicking the die filling process is the impact of rheological powder behavior as a result of differences in flow field in the feeding frame. In the current study, the rheological behavior was investigated for a wide range of excipients with a wide range of material properties. A new parameter for rheological behavior was introduced, which is a measure for the change in dynamic cohesive index upon changes in flow field. Particle size distribution was identified as a main contributing factor to the rheological behavior of powders. The presence of fines between larger particles turned out to reduce the rheological index, which the authors explain by improved particle separation at more dynamic flow fields. This study also revealed that obtained insights on rheological behavior can be used to optimize agitator settings in a tableting machine.

Keywords: continuous manufacturing; die filling; dynamic cohesive index; excipients; powder flow; powder rheology; quality by design; tableting.