A pharmaceutical compound was used to study the effect of batch wet granulation process parameters in combination with the residual moisture content remaining after drying on granule and tablet quality attributes. The effect of three batch wet granulation process parameters was evaluated using a multivariate experimental design, with a novel constrained design space. Batches were characterised for moisture content, granule density, crushing strength, porosity, disintegration time and dissolution.
Mechanisms of the effect of the process parameters on the granule and tablet quality attributes are proposed. Water quantity added during granulation showed a significant effect on granule density and tablet dissolution rate. Mixing time showed a significant effect on tablet crushing strength, and mixing speed showed a significant effect on the distribution of tablet crushing strengths obtained. The residual moisture content remaining after granule drying showed a significant effect on tablet crushing strength. The effect of moisture on tablet tensile strength has been reported before, but not in combination with granulation parameters and granule properties, and the impact on tablet dissolution was not assessed. Correlations between the energy input during granulation, the density of granules produced, and the quality attributes of the final tablets were also identified. Understanding the impact of the granulation and drying process parameters on granule and tablet properties provides a basis for process optimisation and scaling.