Flow and Compression of Granulated Powders : The Accuracy of Discrete Element Simulations and Assessment of Tablet Microstructure
Sammanfattning: Simulations are powerful and important tools for gaining insight into powder processes. Ultimately, simulations have the potential to replace experiments. Thus, accurate models and insight into the essential factors for descriptions of powder behaviour are required. In this thesis, discrete element method (DEM) simulations of granule flow and compression were evaluated to deduce parameters and potential models essential for the experimental and numerical correspondence. In addition, the evolution in tablet microstructure during compression was studied using mercury porosimetry.Granule flow was measured using angle of repose, discharge rate, and shear. The granular flow depended primarily on particle shape and surface texture due to the mutual influence of these two parameters on the inter-particle forces. Rolling friction stabilised both the heap formation and promoted shear in the elastic quasi-static flow regime. Thus, rolling friction was established to be an essential simulation parameter for the correspondence to experiments.Current compression models often neglect the elastic compact deformation during particle loading. In this thesis, two fundamentally different models were evaluated with focus of including the elastic deformation. The first model comprised a maximal particle overlap, where elastic deformation commences. The second model accounted for the contact dependence and impingement at high relative densities. This model was based on a truncated-sphere followed by a Voronoi extension. The validity of the models was demonstrated by the elastic qualitative correspondence to experimental compressions for ductile materials.In tablets, the void (inter-granular pore) diameter was dependent on the degree of compression. Thus, the degree of compression provides an indication of the tablet microstructure. The microstructure was subsequently observed to be related to the tablet tensile strength as inferred from a percolation threshold required for formation of coherent tablets.In summary, this thesis has shed light onto the potential of simulating flow and compression of granulated pharmaceutical powders using DEM. Continuous work in the area are required to further improve the models to increase the experimental and numerical correspondence.
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