Ordered mixing of drugs with particulate excipients

  • John N. Staniforth

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


A novel direct compression tableting excipient has been made by recrystallisation of lactose. The particles produced had high porosity, high specific surface area and high surface roughness.
The resistance to segregation of ordered mixes formed between a model drug; potassium chloride and the excipients recrystallised lactose, spray crystallised maltose-dextrose (Emdexl and a direct compacting sugar (Dipac) was studied using a vibrational segregation model. The highly porous excipients, Emdex and recrystallised lactose formed ordered mixes which did not segregate even at high accelerations and low frequencies whereas the relatively smooth excipient, Dipac, displayed marked segregation in most vibration conditions. The vibrations were related to practical conditions measured in pharmaceutical process machinery. The time required to form an ordered mix was inversely related to the stability of the mix when subjected to vibration.
An ultracentrifuge technique was developed to determine the
interparticle adhesion forces holding drug and excipient particles together as ordered units. Excipient powders such as Emdex and recrystallised lactose, which formed non-segregating ordered mixes, had high interparticle adhesion forces. Other ordered mixes that segregated when subjected to different vibration conditions were found to have large quantities of weekly-bound drug particles; such mixes included those with Dipac as the carrier excipient as well as those containing a high concentration of drug.
The electrostatic properties of different drug and excipient powders were studied using a Faraday well and an electrometer. Excipient powders such as Emdex and recrystallised lactose which formed stable ordered mixes also had a widely different surface charge in comparison with drug particles, whereas Dipac had a similar surface charge to the drug particles and formed unstable ordered mixes.
A specially constructed triboelectric charging apparatus based on an air cyclone was developed to increase the affinity of drug particles for different excipient particles. Using triboelectrification to increase the interparticle adhesion forces, the segregation tendencies of unstable ordered mixes were greatly reduced.
The stability of ordered mixes is shown to be related to both the surface physical characteristics and the surface electrical properties of the constituent carrier (excipientl particles.
Date of AwardAug 1980
Original languageEnglish


  • Ordered mixing
  • vibrational segregation
  • interparticle adhesion forces
  • triboelectric charging

Cite this