Department of Chemical Engineering
Telephone: 787-832-4040 ext.5813
Research Areas: Wet Granulation, Hydrophobic Materials, Particle Growth, Laser Diffraction, Scanning Electron Microscope
The union of two particles, entirely covered by a binder agent, to form a new one depends on their respective sizes, incoming velocity, their respective densities, and the viscosity, or capacity to damp energy, of the binder agent bridge, as is expressed by the Stoke number.
On the other hand, the wet of the particles will depend on the properties of their surface and will have some impact in the size of the binder bridge. This study will incorporate hydrophobic materials, magnesium stearate as a model, on the surface of the material to understand its effect on the wetting of the particle and the bridge size and therefore, the growth rate of the granulation, so that a mechanistic model can be developed for further granulation design. The specific design of experiment will include three different concentrations of MgSt for a specific combination of the operating conditions. The student will run the experiment in a medium-high shear granulator, collect data as a function of time to analyze the particle size using a laser diffraction technique and the granule structure with SEM, and perform some population balance simulations.
Pharmaceutical Engineering Facility. This facility includes: 1,800 ft2 laboratory for pharmaceutical operations, 700 ft2 for analytical work, 500 ft2 for process control activities, 1,100 ft2 for lectures and the rest for administrative work. Instruments include: two powder feeders, two continuous powder mixer, two tablet presses, three granulators, two fluid bed dryers, one spray dryer, two industrial control systems, and several computers for simulation. In terms of analytical capabilities: 3 NIR spectrophotometers, one powder rheology meter (FT4), another powder flow rheology meter (GDR), a particle analyzer (Insitech), two dissolution baths, a hydrophobocity meter, a hardness tester, loss-on-dry moisture balance, UV meter, scanning electron microscope (SEM), and a vision system.