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Carrier-based dry powder inhaler (DPI) formulations need to be accurately characterised for their particle size distributions, surface roughnesses, fines contents and flow properties. Understanding the micro-structure of the powder formulation is crucial, yet current characterisation methods give incomplete information. Commonly used techniques like laser diffraction (LD) and optical microscopy (OM) are limited due to the assumption of sphericity and can give variable results depending on particle orientation and dispersion. The aim of this work was to develop new powder analytical techniques using X-ray computed tomography (XCT) that could be employed for non-destructive metrology of inhaled formulations. α-lactose monohydrate powders with different characteristics have been analysed, and their size and shape (sphericity/aspect ratio) distributions compared with results from LD and OM. The three techniques were shown to produce comparable size distributions, while the different shape distributions from XCT and OM highlight the difference between 2D and 3D imaging. The effect of micro-structure on flowability was also analysed through 3D measurements of void volume and tap density. This study has demonstrated for the first time that XCT provides an invaluable, non-destructive and analytical approach to obtain number- and volume-based particle size distributions of DPI formulations in 3D space, and for unique 3D characterisation of powder micro-structure.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: International journal of pharmaceutics
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