Understanding the compaction behaviour of low-substituted HPC: macro, micro, and nano-metric evaluations

Amr ElShaer*, Ali Al-Khattawi, Afzal R. Mohammed, Monika Warzecha, Dimitrios A. Lamprou, Hany Hassanin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The fast development in materials science has resulted in the emergence of new pharmaceutical materials with superior physical and mechanical properties. Low-substituted hydroxypropyl cellulose is an ether derivative of cellulose and is praised for its multi-functionality as a binder, disintegrant, film coating agent and as a suitable material for medical dressings. Nevertheless, very little is known about the compaction behaviour of this polymer. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the compaction and disintegration behaviour of four grades of L-HPC namely; LH32, LH21, LH11, and LHB1. The macrometric properties of the four powders were studied and the compaction behaviour was evaluated using the out-of-die method. LH11 and LH22 showed poor flow properties as the powders were dominated by fibrous particles with high aspect ratios, which reduced the powder flow. LH32 showed a weak compressibility profile and demonstrated a large elastic region, making it harder for this polymer to deform plastically. These findings are supported by AFM which revealed the high roughness of LH32 powder (100.09 ± 18.84 nm), resulting in small area of contact, but promoting mechanical interlocking. On the contrary, LH21 and LH11 powders had smooth surfaces which enabled larger contact area and higher adhesion forces of 21.01 ± 11.35 nN and 9.50 ± 5.78 nN, respectively. This promoted bond formation during compression as LH21 and LH11 powders had low strength yield.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-453
JournalPharmaceutical Development and Technology
Issue number5
Early online date18 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Pharmaceutical Development and Technology on 18/8/17, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/10837450.2017.1363775


  • AFM
  • BET
  • compaction
  • disintegration time
  • L-HPC
  • porosity


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