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Insight into tableted pellets by combining X-ray micro-computed tomography and experimental compaction

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Pellets, spherical agglomerated particles utilized in the production of multiparticulate pharmaceutical dosage forms, were the subject of this study aiming to introduce a novel approach for evaluating pellet deformation under compression. This involved the integration of tableting data and compression models with X-ray micro-computed tomography (XMT) image analysis. The investigation focused on the deformation behavior of Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) and sugar pellets, known for their distinct deformation characteristics under compression. Compression data and modeling confirmed the plastic behavior for MCC pellets and brittle behavior for sugar pellets. XMT image analysis revealed a differential evolution of morphometric parameters, specifically structure thickness diameter (St Th) and volume equivalent sphere diameter (ESDv). In the case of brittle sugar pellets, a decrease in both ESDv and St Th parameters was observed. In contrast, plastic MCC pellets exhibited a decrease in St Th and a constant ESDv, aligning with the deformation behavior associated with ductile and brittle materials. This study establishes that XMT can serve as an effective tool for characterizing the mechanical behavior of pellet particles during compression, offering valuable insights into their deformation dynamics.
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