Influence of compaction properties and interfacial topography on the performance of bilayer tablets

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Bilayer tablets are generating great interest recently as they can achieve controlled delivery of different drugs with pre-defined release profiles. However, the production of such tablets has been facing great challenges as the layered tablets are prone to delaminate or fracture in the individual layers due to insufficient bonding strength of layers and adhesion at the interfaces. This paper will provide an insight into the role of interfacial topography on the performance of the bilayer tablets. In this study, two widely used pharmaceutical excipients: microcrystalline cellulose and lactose were investigated. Bilayer tablets were manufactured with a range of first and second layer compression forces. A crack of known dimensions was introduced at the interface to investigate the crack propagation mechanisms upon axially loading the bilayer tablet, and to determine the stress intensity factor (KI) of the interface (will be discussed in a separate paper). The results indicated that a strong dependency of the strength of bilayer tablets and mode of crack propagation on the material and compaction properties. The results showed that the strength of bilayer tablets increased with the increase of interfacial roughness, and the first layer and second layer forces determined the magnitude of interfacial roughness for both plastic and brittle materials. Further, the results also indicated that layer sequence and compaction forces played a key role in influencing the strength of the bilayer tablets. For the same (first and second layer) force combination, interfacial strength is higher for the tablets made of brittle material in the first layer. It was observed that interfacial strength decreased with the increase of lubricant concentration. The studies showed that the effect of lubricant (i.e. reduction in compact strength with the increase of lubricant concentration) on the strength of compacts is higher for tablets made of plastic material as compared to the tablets made of brittle material.

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