AAPS PharmSciTech

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 1920–1930 | Cite as

Influence of Material Properties on the Effectiveness of Glidants Used to Improve the Flowability of Cohesive Pharmaceutical Powders

  • Divya Sunkara
  • Maxx Capece
Research Article


This study investigated the effect of material properties, primarily particle size and surface energy, on the effectiveness of glidants used for the purpose of flowability enhancement. Three pharmaceutical grade glidants (Aerosil 200, Aerosil R972, and Cab-O-Sil M5P) were evaluated and blended with various pharmaceutical actives as well as cohesive excipients common to capsule and tablet formulation. Flowability enhancement was characterized by the flow function coefficient (ff c ). An industry-relevant mixer (Turbula mixer) and a highly efficient and effective mixer (LabRAM vibratory mixer) were used to further understand the effect of material properties on glidant effectiveness. While concepts of inter-particle cohesion and interaction strength were applied to evaluate their usefulness in understanding and predicting flowability enhancement, theoretical expectations did not fully explain the behavior of all three glidants. However, the study suggests that the low surface energy and optimal particle size of Aerosil R972 relative to the other glidants results in lower inter-particle force and consequently better flowability. Aerosil R972 was also shown to be more effectively utilized in the Turbula mixing process particularly for larger (d50 > 40 μm) and less cohesive (ff c  > 3) materials. This may be due to its lower surface energy and hydrophobic surface which allows it to disperse easily. Overall, this study provides useful insight into the material properties which influence the effectiveness of glidants used in formulation development.


flowability glidants mixing formulation development materials science 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


All authors are employees of AbbVie. The design, study conduct, and financial support for this research were provided by AbbVie. AbbVie participated in the interpretation of data, review, and approval of the publication.


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Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Drug Product DevelopmentAbbVie Inc.North ChicagoUSA

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