High shear granulation is a complex unit operation with several interacting process parameters. No generally accepted real-time in-line tools are available to gain insight into this process, and in practice, a highly experienced process formulator and operator are needed to develop a wet granulated solid dosage form. In this study, the use of in-line near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy as a process analytical tool for high shear granulation was investigated. In combination with principal component-based methods, process analysis of three separate phases of high shear wet granulation (mixing, spraying, and wet massing) was facilitated. Critical information, both chemical and physical, was collected during processing. Chemical information included the homogeneity of the formulation and the amount of water in wet mass. In addition, physical information related to the particle size of granules was extracted. Principal component loadings were fully interpreted to validate the conclusions drawn from scores and predictions. Thus NIR spectroscopy could be used to determine the end points of the three subphases of high shear wet granulation and, as such, provide a fast in-line quality control tool.
Analytical Chemistry, 2005, Vol 77, Issue 2, p. 556-63