Eccleston, G.M., Behan-Martin, M.K., Jones, G.R and Towns-Andrews, Elizabeth (2000) Synchrotron X-ray investigations into the lamellar gel phase formed in pharmaceutical creams prepared with cetrimide and fatty alcohols. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 203 (1-2). pp. 127-139. ISSN 0378-5173

Semisolid liquid paraffin-in-water emulsions (aqueous creams) prepared from cetrimide/fatty alcohol mixed emulsifiers, and ternary systems formed by dispersing the mixed emulsifier in controlled percentages of water were examined as they aged using a combination of low and high angle X-ray diffraction measurements (Daresbury Laboratory Synchrotron Radiation Source). The results were correlated with the rheological properties measured in earlier studies. The cationic emulsifying wax showed phenomenal swelling in water. The reflection that incorporates interlamellar water increased continuously from 74 Å at 28% water to over 500 Å at 93% water. The trend was not influenced by the method of incorporation of the components and swollen lamellar phase was also identified in the corresponding emulsion. The swelling, which was due to electrostatic repulsion, was suppressed by salt and was reduced when the surfactant counterion was changed from Br− to Cl−. Changes in rheological properties on storage and in the presence of salt were correlated with changes in water layer thickness. High angle diffraction confirmed that the hydrocarbon bilayers were in the hexagonal α-crystalline mode of packing. Ternary systems and creams prepared from pure alcohols, although initially semisolid, were rheologically unstable and broke down. Low angle X-ray study into the kinetics of structure breakdown showed that the swollen lamellar gel phase formed initially swells even further on storage before separating.