International journal of pharmaceutics

Effect of crystal habits on the surface energy and cohesion of crystalline powders.

PMID 24928138


The role of surface properties, influenced by particle processing, in particle-particle interactions (powder cohesion) is investigated in this study. Wetting behaviour of mefenamic acid was found to be anisotropic by sessile drop contact angle measurements on macroscopic (>1cm) single crystals, with variations in contact angle of water from 56.3° to 92.0°. This is attributed to variations in surface chemical functionality at specific facets, and confirmed using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Using a finite dilution inverse gas chromatography (FD-IGC) approach, the surface energy heterogeneity of powders was determined. The surface energy profile of different mefenamic acid crystal habits was directly related to the relative exposure of different crystal facets. Cohesion, determined by a uniaxial compression test, was also found to relate to surface energy of the powders. By employing a surface modification (silanisation) approach, the contribution from crystal shape from surface area and surface energy was decoupled. By "normalising" contribution from surface energy and surface area, needle shaped crystals were found to be ∼2.5× more cohesive compared to elongated plates or hexagonal cuboid shapes crystals.