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Investigation of a Novel Process for Wet Milling a Pharmaceutical Tablet in a Dynamically Rotating Water-Filled Dosage Cup

[+] Author Affiliations
Peter Balawajder, Jeffrey Steward, Alfonso Ortega, Luis Silva

Villanova University, Villanova, PA

Joe D’Silva, Anne Moore

Patients’ and Consumers’ Pharma, Doylestown, PA

Paper No. IMECE2009-10669, pp. 955-962; 8 pages
  • ASME 2009 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 9: Heat Transfer, Fluid Flows, and Thermal Systems, Parts A, B and C
  • Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA, November 13–19, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4382-6 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3863-1
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


The most common commercial pharmaceutical dosage forms are tablets and capsules, but unfortunately these forms may not be suitable for sub-groups, such as very ill children and elderly patients and those experiencing trauma and involved in surgery. Many of these patients have difficulty in swallowing a solid dosage form. For these groups, the general practice is to use equipment such as the age-old mortar and pestle to pulverize the tablet, transfer the powder to a container and then make a liquid suspension by addition of water. This process consists of two unit processes: dry grinding followed by creation of a water suspension. This paper reports on the evaluation of a novel wet milling method for performing these unit operations in a single water-filled dosage cup. The basic concept is that the partially water-filled cup is rotated or spun about its axis to produce relative motion between the tablet and the cup surfaces. The cup surfaces are textured so that material is abraded from the tablet when it strikes the cup walls. The complex water motion assists in “softening” the tablet, abrading particulates from its surface, and producing a fine aqueous suspension. Experimental investigations were performed on two concepts. The first method utilized intermittent single axis cup rotation to produce relative motion between the tablet and cup surfaces. The second concept involved rotating the spinning cup on a rotating arm and also about its own axis. The centrifugal force of the arm rotation pressed the tablet against the spinning cup wall, thereby increasing the shearing force. The efficiency of both methods was investigated analytically and experimentally. The effects of rotation rates, intermittent duty cycles, and water fill volumes were examined and compared.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME
Topics: Milling , Water



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