Implementation of formation mechanisms in DEM simulation of the Spheronization process of pharmaceutical pellets

In the production process of pharmaceutical pellets with a narrow size distribution and a high sphericity, a combined extrusion-spheronization technique is frequently used. The rounding of the wet cylindrical extrudates in the spheronizer after the extrusion step is influenced by various interfering mechanisms, in particular plastic deformation, breakage, attrition and coalescence. Due to the complexity of these mechanisms which depend on the particle dynamics, there is no sufficient description of the particle rounding process in the spheronizer. In this study, the Discrete Element Method (DEM) which runs on the micro scale is coupled with a Particle Shape Evolution (PSE) model on the macro scale to describe how the particle shape changes due to collisions. For the DEM simulation a new contact model was used which was developed to capture the cyclic, dominant visco plastic deformation behaviour. Based on the DEM collision data, the changing particle shape was described in the PSE model by applying the proposed submodels for the different formation mechanisms. The resulting particle shapes obtained with this simulation framework are in a good agreement with experimental data. More on DEM simulation of the Spheronization process of pharmaceutical pellets

Keywords: Spheronization, Coupled DEM simulation, Particle shape, Pellet formation, microcrystalline celluloseVivapur 102, Lactose Monohydrate- Granulac 200

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