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Saudi Pharm J. 2018 May;26(4):593-602. doi: 10.1016/j.jsps.2018.02.007. Epub 2018 Feb 6.

Investigate the effect of solvents on wet granulation of microcrystalline cellulose using hydroxypropyl methylcellulose as a binder and evaluation of rheological and thermal characteristics of granules.

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Arnold and Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA.


Wet granulation is the most commonly used technique in the pharmaceutical industry for delivering oral solid dosage forms. In wet granulation, the binder solvent is one of the critical factors affecting granule properties. In the current study, an attempt was made to investigate the effect of solvents (aqueous and hydro-alcoholic) on thermal and flow properties of Microcrystalline Cellulose (MCC) granules prepared using two different grades of Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose (HPMC), which served as an effective binder. The granulation endpoint was evaluated using thermal effusivity sensor. Rheometer and Modulated Differential Scanning Calorimetry (mDSC) was used to study the flow and thermal properties of wet and dried granules. Furthermore, physical characterization was carried out by granule strength, particle size distribution and tablet hardness for all granules under the study. Thermal effusivity sensor results indicate 55% w/w concentration of binder solution as the endpoint by measuring thermal effusivity for both binders. Additionally, powder rheometer results show that the wet granules of hydro-alcoholic batches show greater resistance to flow whereas the dried granules display excellent flow characteristics as evident from Basic flowability energy values and specific energy values. Permeability results suggest that the granules formed with hydro-alcoholic binder solvent exhibit better porosity and permeability. Tablet hardness data showed that tablets formulated using hydro-alcoholic solvent granules have greater hardness than tablets formulated using water based solvent granules. The granule strength for water based granules is relatively higher than that of hydro-alcoholic based granules. mDSC thermograms show a sharp rise in enthalpy value at 55% w/w binder solution which is indicative of a more significant amount of solvent being present on the surface of granules and formation of optimal granules. To summarize, we have determined a technique to measure endpoint determination and simultaneously investigate the role of solvent systems on the rheology of MCC granules, which could assist in selecting an appropriate solvent system for granulation.


Effusivity; End-point; Flow properties; Granulation; Microcrystalline cellulose; Rheometer

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