Surfactant coated aerosol powders and their properties

  • Anthony J. Hickey

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The hygroscopic growth of aerosols is an important factor effecting particle size. The consequence of the hygroscopic growth of pharrnaceutical aerosols is a change in their deposition characteristics, such that there is an increase in the total amount deposited in the lung.
In this study the hygroscopic growth of disodium fluorescein (DF) aerosol powders was investigated by coating the powders with lauric and capric acids. The coating procedure was carried out in dichloromethane and chloroform, which acted as cosolvents for the fatty acids.
An assessment of the extent and the nature of the coating was carried out. The qualitative assessment of the coating was achieved by infra-red spectroscopy, electronscanning chemical analysis and scanning electron microscopy. The quantitative analysis was carried out by differential refractometry, ultra-violet spectroscopy and gas liquid chromatography. These powders were generated under conditions approaching those in the lung, of 97 % relative humidity and 37"C.
Coated and uncoated DF aerosol powders were introduced into a controlled temperature and relative humidity apparatus, designed and constructed for the investigation of hygroscopic growth in these studies. A vertical spinning disc device was used to generate the powders.
Under conditions of controlled temperature and relative humidity mentioned, the growth ratio of disodium fluorescein alone was 1.45 compared with 1.68, for a nominal coating of DF with lauric acid of 0.12 gg-1, 1.0 for a nominal lauric acid coating of 0.2 gg-1, and 1.02 for a nominal capric acid coating of 0.18 gg-1.
The range of control of hygroscopic growth of these aerosols has implications for the deposition of these preparations in the respiratory tract. These implications are discussed in the light of the current knowledge of the effects of hygroscopic growth on the deposition of pharmaceutical and environmental aerosols.
A series of experiments in which pulmonary ventilation using a simple radioaerosol generator and delivery system are reported showing that particle size determination may be used to aid the design of diagnostic aerosol generators.
Date of AwardNov 1984
Original languageEnglish


  • hygroscopic growth
  • surface active agents
  • aerosol generation
  • aerosol characterisation

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