In-process rheometry as a PAT tool for hot melt extrusion
End of embargo2018-11-22
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KeywordsPolymer; Rheology; Process analytical technology; Twin screw extrusion; Drug; In-line; Solid dispersion
Real time measurement of melt rheology has been investigated as a Process Analytical Technology (PAT) to monitor hot melt extrusion of an Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) in a polymer matrix. A developmental API was melt mixed with a commercial copolymer using a heated twin screw extruder at different API loadings and set temperatures. The extruder was equipped with an instrumented rheological slit die which incorporated three pressure transducers flush mounted to the die surface. Pressure drop measurements within the die at a range of extrusion throughputs were used to calculate rheological parameters such as shear viscosity and exit pressure, related to shear and elastic melt flow properties respectively. Results showed that the melt exhibited shear thinning behavior whereby viscosity decreased with increasing flow rate. Increase in drug loading and set extrusion temperature resulted in a reduction in melt viscosity. Shear viscosity and exit pressure measurements were found to be sensitive to API loading. These findings suggest that this technique could be used as a simple tool to measure material attributes in-line, to build better overall process understanding for hot melt extrusion.