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3D printing (3DP) by fused deposition modelling (FDM) is one of the most extensively developed methods in additive manufacturing. Optimizing printability by improving feedability, nozzle extrusion, and layer deposition is crucial for manufacturing solid oral dosage forms with desirable properties. This work aimed to use HPMCAS (AffinisolTM HPMCAS 716) to prepare filaments for FDM-3DP using hot-melt extrusion (HME). It explored and demonstrated the effect of HME-filament composition and fabrication on printability by evaluating thermal, mechanical, and thermo-rheological properties. It also showed that the HME-Polymer filament composition used in FDM-3DP manufacture of oral solid dosage forms provides a tailored drug release profile. HME (HAAKE MiniLab) and FDM-3DP (MakerBot) were used to prepare HME-filaments and printed objects, respectively. Two diverse ways of improving the mechanical properties of HME-filaments were deduced by changing the formulation to enable feeding through the roller gears of the printer nozzle. These include plasticizing the polymer and adding an insoluble structuring agent (talc) into the formulation. Experimental feedability was predicted using texture analysis results was a function of PEG concentration, and glass-transition temperature (Tg) values of HME-filaments. The effect of high HME screw speed (100 rpm) resulted in inhomogeneity of HME-filament, which resulted in inconsistency of the printer nozzle extrudate and printed layers. The variability of the glass-transition temperature (Tg) of the HME-filament supported by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of nozzle extrudates and the lateral wall of the printed tablet helped explain this result. The melt viscosity of HPMCAS formulations was investigated using a capillary rheometer. The high viscosity of unplasticized HPMCAS was concluded to be an additional restriction for nozzle extrusion. The plasticization of HPMCAS and the addition of talc into the formulation were shown to improve thickness consistency of printed layers (using homogeneous HME-filaments). A good correlation (R2=0.9546) between the solidification threshold (low-frequency oscillation test determined by parallel-plate rheometer) and Tg of HME-filaments was also established. Drug-loaded and placebo HPMCAS-based formulations were shown to be successfully printed, with the former providing tailored drug release profiles based on variation of internal geometry (infill).
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