Determination of Density of Starch Hydrogel Microspheres from Sedimentation Experiments Using Non-Stokes Drag Coefficient

Gels. 2024 Apr 19;10(4):277. doi: 10.3390/gels10040277.


Sedimentation is an important property of colloidal systems that should be considered when designing pharmaceutical formulations. In pharmaceutical applications, sedimentation is normally described using Stokes' law, which assumes laminar flow of fluid. In this work we studied swelling and hydration of spherical cross-linked amorphous starch microspheres in pure water, solutions of sodium chloride, and in pH-adjusted aqueous solutions. We demonstrated that Reynolds numbers obtained in these experiments correspond to the transition regime between the laminar flow and the turbulent flow and, hence, expressions based on the non-Stokes drag coefficient should be used for calculations of sedimentation velocity from known density or for assessment of density from observed sedimentation velocity. The density of starch microparticles hydrated in water was about 1050 kg/m3, while densities obtained from experiment with other liquids were dependent on the liquids' densities. The data indicate that the swelling of the cross-linked starch microparticles as characterized by their densities is not sensitive to pH and salt concentration in the studied range of these parameters.

Keywords: cross-linked starch hydrogel; non-Stokes drag; sedimentation; starch microparticles.

Grants and funding

This research was carried out in the Biobarriers profile and was funded by The Knowledge Foundation (KK-Stiftelsen). Margherita Cretella acknowledges Erasmus+ Programme for support of her traineeship.