Pharmaceutical Research

, Volume 23, Issue 7, pp 1591–1596 | Cite as

Spray Pattern Analysis for Metered Dose Inhalers: Effect of Actuator Design

  • Hugh Smyth
  • Geoff Brace
  • Tony Barbour
  • Jim Gallion
  • Joe Grove
  • Anthony J. Hickey
Research Paper


This study was conducted to identify the device factors influencing spray pattern and particle size to gain a more complete understanding of spray plume measurements.


A statistically designed experiment was used to investigate the influence of three actuator features (orifice diameter, expansion chamber depth, and orifice length) on spray pattern and particle size profiles. Custom-built actuators were manufactured and analyzed with laser light sheet illumination methods for spray patterns and laser diffraction for particle size analysis.


In addition to orifice size, spray patterns were significantly influenced by the actuator orifice length and sump depth. Particle size analysis of the plumes generated from actuators used in these studies showed that all actuator features (orifice size, length, and sump depth) were significant factors influencing particle size.


The performance of propellant-based metered dose inhaler aerosols seems to be significantly related to sump depth and orifice length, in addition to orifice size. Rational design of propellant-based metered dose inhalers should therefore consider these variables in addition to formulation strategies and simply modifying orifice diameter.

Key words

aerosol plume actuator laser diffraction pMDIs spray pattern 



The authors would like to thank Bespak Inc., Apex, North Carolina, for financial support for this work. In addition, we would like to thank Helen Newell for providing advice in the preparation of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hugh Smyth
    • 1
  • Geoff Brace
    • 2
    • 6
  • Tony Barbour
    • 6
  • Jim Gallion
    • 3
    • 6
  • Joe Grove
    • 4
    • 6
  • Anthony J. Hickey
    • 5
  1. 1.College of PharmacyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Straightforward Solutions, LLCRaleighUSA
  3. 3.Tyco HealthcareRaleighUSA
  4. 4.AXON CorporationRaleighUSA
  5. 5.School of PharmacyUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  6. 6.Bespak Inc.ApexUSA

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