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Characterization of the viscoelasticity of pharmaceutical tablets using impulse excitation technique

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The production of pharmaceutical tablets involves different types of presses, each with distinct compaction kinematics. Consequently, the strain rate sensitivity (SRS) of the powders used becomes a crucial property in tablet manufacturing. Viscoelasticity, a component of SRS, can sometimes be challenging to characterize. In this study, the impulse excitation technique was employed as a straightforward method to assess viscoelasticity. This method leverages the fact that viscoelastic properties induce damping, detectable on resonance spectra as peak enlargements. A damping ratio, linked to the first flexural vibration mode, was determined on impulse excitation frequency spectra using the half-power bandwidth method applied to tablets produced with various materials. This approach yielded reproducible results for the damping ratio. Recognizing that viscoelasticity is not the sole factor contributing to damping, tests were conducted to evaluate the influence of other parameters such as viscoplasticity, porosity, and tablet dimensions. Results suggested that the impact of these factors could be considered negligible. Ultimately, the determined damping ratios aligned well with the known viscoelastic behavior of the studied products, affirming that impact resonance serves as a convenient and rapid method for characterizing the viscoelastic nature of pharmaceutical tablets.
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