Electrostatic properties of formulation component materials and blends play an important role in dry powder inhalation (DPI) products, and that valid measurement of charge distribution will lead to more precise control of powder behaviour in DPI manufacturing processes. Ultra-fine powders are known to be bipolarly charged, have non-spherical shapes and tend to be highly cohesive. Real time, non-invasive techniques need to be developed to obtain a precise and accurate time-history characteristic of electrically charged powders as they aerosolize from a DPI product, and how this measure relates to materials behaviour throughout the various steps of a manufacturing process i.e. from drug micronisation, blending with lactose, through to filling dose units. A novel non-invasive technique for simultaneous measurement of size and charge of pharmaceutical powders is considered which employs the Phase Doppler Anemometry (PDA) system. Previous research demonstrated the advantages of this technique in measuring the bipolar charge distribution on a population of particles. These findings led to significant improvements in understanding performance of dry powder formulations, manufacturing processes and development of new platforms for inhaled drug delivery.
The main aim of this research is to perform an investigation of electrostatic properties of pharmaceutical dry aerosols using the PDA system. The PDA technique was used to track the motion of charged particles in the presence of an electric field. The magnitude as well as the polarity of the particle charge can be obtained by solving the equation of particle motion in DC and AC fields combined with the simultaneous measurement of its size and velocity. The results show the capability of the technique to allow real-time size and charge distribution in the control of dry powder attributes that are critical to fully understanding manufacturing design space.