Colloids and surfaces. B, Biointerfaces

Single droplet drying step characterization in microsphere preparation.

PMID 23395666


Spray drying processes are difficult to characterize since process parameters are not directly accessible. Acoustic levitation was used to investigate microencapsulation by spray drying on one single droplet facilitating the analyses of droplet behavior upon drying. Process parameters were simulated on a poly(lactide-co-glycolide)/ethyl acetate combination for microencapsulation. The results allowed quantifying the influence of process parameters such as temperature (0-40°C), polymer concentration (5-400 mg/ml), and droplet size (0.5-1.37 μl) on the drying time and drying kinetics as well as the particle morphology. The drying of polymer solutions at temperature of 21°C and concentration of 5 mg/ml, shows that the dimensionless particle diameter (Dp/D0) approaches 0.25 and the particle needs 350 s to dry. At 400 mg/ml, Dp/D0=0.8 and the drying time increases to one order of magnitude and a hollow particle is formed. The study demonstrates the benefit of using the acoustic levitator as a lab scale method to characterize and study the microparticle formation. This method can be considered as a helpful tool to mimic the full scale spray drying process by providing identical operational parameters such as air velocity, temperature, and variable droplet sizes.