Physical Properties Characterization

  • Anthony J. Hickey
  • Stefano Giovagnoli
Part of the AAPS Introductions in the Pharmaceutical Sciences book series (AAPSINSTR)


Powder characterization is a fundamental step for proper design and control of solid dosage form manufacturing processes. Properties like surface area, charge, crystal habit, the presence of water and impurities are responsible for dramatic changes in the physical-chemical and biological behavior of pharmaceutical products. Therefore, accurate tuning of powder features is compulsory. In this regard, an arsenal of particle characterization techniques have today reached a high level of reliability and sensitivity, which allow insightful investigation of the complex crosstalk between particle properties and pharmaceutical processes. Novel technologies are now on the verge of breakthrough advances thanks to new methodologies and computer science.


  1. 1.
    Brunauer S, Deming LS, Deming WE, Teller E. On a theory of the van der Waals adsorption of gases. J Am Chem Soc. 1940;62:1723–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    IUPAC. Compendium of chemical terminology: gold book. IUPAC Compend Chem Terminol. 2014;1670.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brunauer S, Emmett PH, Teller E. Gases in multimolecular layers. J Am Chem Soc [Internet]. 1938;60(1):309–19. Available from: Scholar
  4. 4.
    Gregg SJ, Sing KSW, Salzberg HW. Adsorption surface area and porosity. J Electrochem Soc. 1967;114:279C.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Naik S, Mukherjee R, Chaudhuri B. Triboelectrification: a review of experimental and mechanistic modeling approaches with a special focus on pharmaceutical powders. Int J Pharm. 2016;510:375–85.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hunter RJ. Zeta potential in colloid science: principles and applications [Internet]. Vol. 8, Trends in food science & technology. 1981. 399 p. Available from:
  7. 7.
    Sze A, Erickson D, Ren L, Li D. Zeta-potential measurement using the Smoluchowski equation and the slope of the current-time relationship in electroosmotic flow. J Colloid Interface Sci. 2003;261(2):402–10.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Clogston JD, Patri AK. Zeta potential measurement. Methods Mol Biol. 2011;697:63–70.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wong J, Kwok PCL, Chan HK. Electrostatics in pharmaceutical solids. Chem Eng Sci. 2015;125:225–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kodre KV, Attarde SR, Yendhe PR, Patil RY, Barge VU. Differential scanning calorimetry: a review. Res Rev J Pharm Anal. 2014;3(3):11–22.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Rabel SR, Jona JA, Maurin MB. Applications of modulated differential scanning calorimetry in preformulation studies. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 1999;21(2):339–45.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    McGregor C, Bines E. The use of high-speed differential scanning calorimetry (Hyper-DSCTM) in the study of pharmaceutical polymorphs. Int J Pharm. 2008;350(1–2):48–52.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Crouter A, Briens L. The effect of moisture on the flowability of pharmaceutical excipients. AAPS PharmSciTech [Internet]. 2014;15(1):65–74. Available from: Scholar
  14. 14.
    Wrolstad RE, Acree TE, Decker EA, Penner MH, Reid DS, Schwartz SJ, et al. Gravimetric measurements of water. In: Handbook of food analytical chemistry [Internet]. Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2005. p. 5–33. Available from:
  15. 15.
    Driemeier C, Mendes FM, Oliveira MM. Dynamic vapor sorption and thermoporometry to probe water in celluloses. Cellulose. 2012;19(4):1051–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Snodin DJ, McCrossen SD. Guidelines and pharmacopoeial standards for pharmaceutical impurities: overview and critical assessment. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2012;63(2):298–312.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    WHO. Microbiological quality of non-sterile products: recommended acceptance criteria for pharmaceutical preparations. In: The international pharmacopoeia [Internet]. 2016. p. 1–2. Available from:

Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony J. Hickey
    • 1
  • Stefano Giovagnoli
    • 2
  1. 1.Discovery Science and TechnologyRTI InternationalResearch Triangle ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of PerugiaPerugiaItaly

Personalised recommendations