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The Interface Motion and Hydrodynamic Shear of the Liquid Slosh in Syringes



Interface motion and hydrodynamic shear of the liquid slosh during the insertion of syringes upon autoinjector activation may damage the protein drug molecules. Experimentally validated computational fluid dynamics simulations are used in this study to investigate the interfacial motion and hydrodynamic shear due to acceleration and deceleration of syringes. The goal is to explore the role of fluid viscosity, air gap size, syringe acceleration, syringe tilt angle, liquid-wall contact angle, surface tension and fill volume on the interface dynamics caused by autoinjector activation.


A simplified autoinjector platform submerged in water is built to record the syringe and liquid motion without obstruction of view. The syringe kinematics is imported to the simulations based on OpenFOAM InterIsoFoam solver, which is used to study the effects of various physical parameters.


The simulations agree with experiments on the air-liquid interface profile and interface area. The interfacial area and the volume of fluid subject to high strain rate decrease with the solution viscosity, increase with the air gap height, syringe velocity, tilt angle and syringe wall hydrophobicity, and hardly change with the surface tension and liquid column height. The hydrodynamic shear mainly occurs near the syringe wall and entrained bubbles.


For a given dose of drug solution, the syringe with smaller radius and larger length will generate less liquid slosh. Reducing the air volume and syringe wall hydrophobicity are also helpful to reduce interface area and effective shear. The interface motion is reduced when the syringe axis is aligned with the gravitational direction.

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Computational Fluid Dynamics


Courant-Friedrichs-Lewy number


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This research was supported by a grant from the Eli Lilly and Company. Y. Z. acknowledges the support of Frederick N. Andrews Fellowship.

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Correspondence to Arezoo M. Ardekani.

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Zhang, Y., Han, D., Dou, Z. et al. The Interface Motion and Hydrodynamic Shear of the Liquid Slosh in Syringes. Pharm Res 38, 257–275 (2021).

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Key words

  • liquid slosh
  • air-liquid interface
  • autoinjector
  • protein denaturation