Determination of flow properties of pharmaceutical powders by near infrared spectroscopy

Mafalda C Sarraguça, Ana V Cruz, Sandra O Soares, Helena R Amaral, Paulo C Costa, João A Lopes
Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis 2010 August 1, 52 (4): 484-92
The physical properties of pharmaceutical powders are of upmost importance in the pharmaceutical industry. The knowledge of their flow properties is of critical significance in operations such as blending, tablet compression, capsule filling, transportation, and in scale-up operations. Powders flow properties are measured using a number of parameters such as, angle of repose, compressibility index (Carr's index) and Hausner ratio. To estimate these properties, specific and expensive equipment with time-consuming analysis is required. Near infrared spectroscopy is a fast and low-cost analytical technique thoroughly used in the pharmaceutical industry in the quantification and qualification of products. To establish the potential of this technique to determine the parameters associated with the flow properties of pharmaceutical powders, blended powders based on paracetamol as the active pharmaceutical ingredient were constructed in pilot scale. Spectra were recorded on a Fourier-transform near infrared spectrometer in reflectance mode. The parameters studied were the angle of repose, aerated and tapped bulk density. The correlation between the reference method values and the near infrared spectrum was performed by partial least squares and optimized in terms of latent variables using cross-validation. The near infrared based properties predictions were compared with the reference methods results. Prediction errors, which varied between 2.35% for the angle of repose, 2.51% for the tapped density and 3.18% for the aerated density, show the potential of NIR spectroscopy in the determination of physical properties affecting the flowability of pharmaceutical powders.

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