Laser based thermo-conductometry as an approach to determine ribbon solid fraction off-line and in-line

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Abstract

Ribbon solid fraction is one of the most important quality attributes during roll compaction/dry granulation. Accurate and precise determination is challenging and no in-line measurement tool has been generally accepted, yet. In this study, a new analytical tool with potential off-line as well as in-line applicability is described. It is based on the thermo-conductivity of the compacted material, which is known to depend on the solid fraction. A laser diode was used to punctually heat the ribbon and the heat propagation monitored by infrared thermography. After performing a Gaussian fit of the transverse ribbon profile, the scale parameter σ showed correlation to ribbon solid fraction in off-line as well as in-line studies. Accurate predictions of the solid fraction were possible for a relevant range of process settings. Drug stability was not affected, as could be demonstrated for the model drug nifedipine. The application of this technique was limited when using certain fillers and working at higher roll speeds. This study showed the potentials of this new technique and is a starting point for additional work that has to be done to overcome these challenges.

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