Laity, Peter R. and Cameron, Ruth E. (2008) A small-angle X-ray scattering study of powder compaction. Powder Technology, 188 (2). pp. 119-127. ISSN 0032-5910

This work demonstrated a novel and potentially important application of two-dimensional small-angle X-ray scattering (2D-SAXS) to investigate powder compaction. SAXS from powder compacts of three materials commonly used for pharmaceutical tabletting exhibited azimuthal variations, with stronger intensity in the direction of the applied compaction force, relative to the transverse direction. This implied that compaction
of a (macroscopic) powder could also produce changes on the molecular (nanometre) scale, which can be probed by 2D-SAXS. Two possible explanations for this effect were suggested. A combination of anisometric (i.e. elongated or flattened) granules with anisotropic morphologies could result in azimuthal variation in X-ray
scattering due to granule orientation. It is expected that this mechanism would require relatively low packing density, so may operate during die filling. Granule re-orientation appeared less likely at higher packing densities and compaction pressures, however. Under these conditions, the changes in the 2D-SAXS patterns would be consistent with the powder granules becoming relatively flattened in the compression direction, with corresponding changes in their nano-scale morphology. The magnitude of this effect was found to vary between the materials used and increased with compaction pressure. This suggested that 2D-SAXS studies could provide useful information on force-transmission within a compressed powder. Further analysis of the data also suggested differences in the compaction mechanisms (i.e. granule re-orientation,
deformation or fragmentation) between the materials studied.

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