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Principal component analysis (PCA) was applied to pharmaceutical powder compaction. A solid fraction parameter (SFc/d) and a mechanical work parameter (Wc/d) representing irreversible compression behavior were determined as functions of applied load. Multivariate analysis of the compression data was carried out using PCA. The first principal component (PC1) showed loadings for the solid fraction and work values that agreed with changes in the relative significance of plastic deformation to consolidation at different pressures. The PC1 scores showed the same rank order as the relative plasticity ranking derived from the literature for common pharmaceutical materials. The utility of PC1 in understanding deformation was extended to binary mixtures using a subset of the original materials. Combinations of brittle and plastic materials were characterized using the PCA method. The relationships between PC1 scores and the weight fractions of the mixtures were typically linear showing ideal mixing in their deformation behaviors. The mixture consisting of two plastic materials was the only combination to show a consistent positive deviation from ideality. The application of PCA to solid fraction and mechanical work data appears to be an effective means of predicting deformation behavior during compaction of simple powder mixtures.