Compression behaviour of κ-carrageenan pellets

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The compression behavior of high- and low drug strength pellets containing κ-carrageenan as pelletisation aid was investigated. Model drugs and fillers with different compression mechanisms were used and the effects of compression force and turret speed were examined. Regardless of the compression behavior of their starting components, all pellet formulations exhibited minimal to absent fragmentation and underwent compression by deformation, confirmed by increased equivalent diameter and aspect ratio and decreased roundness factor of the pellets retrieved after de-aggregation of tablets prepared from lubricated pellets. The retrieved pellets showed also higher fracture resistance in three of the tested formulations and no statistically significant difference in the remaining one thus excluding significant crack formation. A densification mechanism was suggested by decreased total porosity and reduced median pore radius of the compressed pellets. No effect of the process parameters on the degree of pellet deformation was reported. The tensile strength of the tablets prepared from unlubricated pellets increased slightly with increased compression force. Compression of pellets with high density silicified microcrystalline cellulose (SMCC HD 90) as embedding powder protected them from severe deformation and resulted in tablets with sufficient tensile strength, minimal friability, negligible elastic recovery and short disintegration time. The percentage of the pellets and the compression force affected the tensile strength of the prepared tablets whereas no influence of the turret speed and the pre-compression force was observed.

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