In this study, the nano-indentation hardness of a single primary particle was measured for six different materials; microcrystalline cellulose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, maltodextrin, lactose, sodium carbonate and calcium carbonate. This was linked to the properties of the ribbons produced by roller compactor at different hydraulic pressures in the range of 30–230 bar.
The main investigated ribbon properties were strength, porosity and width. For the range of materials that were tested, it was found that the lower the nano-indentation hardness of the powder particles, the higher the strength, width and lower the ribbon porosity. This is because the applied pressure by the rollers was enough to plastically deform the particles and create bonds between them.
A method was suggested to predict the workability of the powder in roller compactor by using the data of nano-indentation for three materials.