(496e) Pharmaceutical Application of Inkjet Based 3D Printing Process

Sen, K., UConn
Sansare, S., University of Connecticut
Chaudhuri, B., University of Connecticut
Ma, A., University of Connecticut
Li, S. W., University of Connecticut

Pharmaceutical Application of Inkjet Based 3D Printing

Koyel Sen 1, Sameera Sansare 1,
Si Wan Li2,3, Bodhi Chaudhuri 1,2,3, Anson Ma 2,3

of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Connecticut 2Department
of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Connecticut 3Institute
of Material Sciences, University of Connecticut

Correspondence: koyel.sen@uconn.edu


There has
been a growing interest in using 3D printing (3DP) for drug tablet
manufacturing. This is motivated mainly by 3DP’s potential in achieving different
dosage geometries, attaining complex drug release kinetics, and combining
multiple drugs efficiently for personalized medicine applications. The aims of
this study are to: (i) experimentally evaluate an inkjet-based 3D printing
method for manufacturing of tablets, (ii) understand the underlying physics,
and (iii) to compare against tablets produced by the conventional tableting


In an inkjet-based
3DP process, a liquid binder is printed onto a layer of excipient powder to
bind the powder in a pre-determined pattern. Then, a fresh layer of powder is
then spread evenly on top, followed by another round of binder printing. The
process is repeated until the construction of the 3D object, or drug tablet in
this case, is finished. The surface tension, viscosity, and density of the binder
solutions were measured to predict their jettability. This was achieved using
dimensionless groups that compare the relative importance of inertia, surface
forces, and viscous forces. Two different types of powders and three
different types of binder solutions were studied. Successfully
printed tablets were further characterized for their weight variation,
hardness, disintegration, true density, crystallinity, and physical stability.  

Results and Conclusions:

3DP was performed using the selected pharmaceutical excipients and binder
solutions. The final attributes of the printed tablets were clearly linked to
the physical properties of the powder and binder solutions. Such physical
understanding was used to create a “design space” in terms of material
selection for successful 3D printing of drug tablets. This research lays the
foundation for improving the precision and accuracy of the 3DP process for
personalized medicine and controllable drug release applications, which will in
turn improve patient compliance, lower drug price, and fulfill public health

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Figure 1- a) Schematic diagram of
the inkjet based 3D printer used for the study (left) b) Non-pharmaceutical
grade 3D printed tablets using inkjet based printing method