PhD Research Project: Continuous Granulation: Influence of mechanical properties of powders
In pharmaceutical industry, the drug or ‘Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient’ (API) and the filler powders are granulated to improve the physical characteristics of materials such as flowability, strength and dissolution. The API and filler powders used in the pharmaceutical formulations are generally classified based on their solubility and the mechanical properties, especially, the compressibility or the deformability. The highly deformable powders are generally challenging to feed and granulate as they tend to clog in the feeder and the granulator. This is a concern when designing the drug formulation as it can influence the dose of the drug in the formulation and the rate of its disintegration and dissolution. Therefore, there is a need to study the extent and the reasons of deformability of such powders during the granulation especially, using continuous granulation techniques such as roller compaction and twin screw granulation.
This project will attempt to establish the relationship between the mechanical properties of the powders with the granulation mechanism and thereby contribute in improving the granule quality.
The project will be divided into two stages. In the first stage, the micromechanical properties of the powder particles especially, the hardness or the deformability of the powder particles will be studied using the indentation tester at varying humidity and temperature.
In the second stage, the powders will be granulated using two different granulation equipment namely, the roller compactor and the twin screw granulator. The granules so produced will be compressed into tablets using tableting machine. The key quality attributes of the granules (size and structure) and tablet (rate of disintegration and dissolution) will be analyzed using sophisticated techniques available at the Particle Products Group at the University of Sheffield. The outcomes from the project will help to improve the scientific understanding of the granulation mechanisms for the highly deformable powders in roller compactor and twin screw granulator and find the ways to troubleshoot the related issues during the product development.
The DTG provides funds for studentships (fees + stipend for UK applicants, fees only for EU students) on a competitive basis. Applications are welcome up until the closing date. Overseas applicants will not qualify for DTG funding but self funded/externally funded applications are welcome
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