Rheological properties of cellulosic thickeners in hydro-alcoholic media: the science behind the formulation of hand sanitizer gels
Cellulosic-based thickeners are commonly used in the preparation of hydro-alcoholic hand sanitisers. Yet, little is known about the behaviour of these polymeric dispersions in hydro-alcoholic mixtures. Here, we studied the dispersion ability and rheology of hydroxyethyl cellulose, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose and sodium carboxymethyl cellulose in water-ethanol mixtures.
Hydroxypropyl cellulose formed transparent dispersions across the entire range of ethanol concentrations, while a critical ethanol concentration (CEC), above which dispersions became turbid, was found for all the other polymers. At and below the CEC, all the rheological parameters followed a bell-like shape profile as a function of ethanol concentration. Moreover, the molecular weight and degree of substitution of the polymers influenced the rheological properties.
The CEC and rheological behaviour of the dispersions were both dependent on the ethanol/polymer and water/polymer interactions. As hand disinfectants should contain 60-95% ethanol, polymers of higher CEC, such as hydroxypropyl cellulose and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, are recommended.
Article information: Diego R. Perinelli, Alberto Berardi, Lorina Bisharat, Alessandra Cambriani, Roberta Ganzetti, Giulia Bonacucina, Marco Cespi, Giovanni F. Palmieri, Rheological properties of cellulosic thickeners in hydro-alcoholic media: the science behind the formulation of hand sanitizer gels, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpharm.2021.120769.