Characterisation of fluidised bed granulation processes using in situ Raman spectroscopy

Gavin Walker, Steven Bell, K. Greene, David Jones, Gavin Andrews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Previous work by the authors Walker et al. [2007b. Fluidised bed characterisation using Raman spectroscopy: applications to pharmaceutical processing. Chemical Engineering Science 62, 3832–3838] illustrated that Raman spectroscopy could be used to provide 3-D maps of the concentration and chemical structure of particles in motion in a fluidised bed, within a relatively short (120 s) time window. Moreover, we reported that the technique, as outlined, has the potential to give detailed in-situ information on how the structure and composition of granules/powders within the fluidised bed (dryer or granulator) vary with the position and evolve with time. In this study we extended the original work by shortening the time window of the Raman spectroscopic analysis to 10 s, which has allowed the in-situ real-time characterisation of a fluidised bed granulation process. Here we show an important new use of the technique which allows in-situ measurement of the composition of the material within the fluidised bed in three spatial dimensions and as a function of time. This is achieved by recording Raman spectra using a probe positioned within the fluidised bed on a long-travel x–y–z stage. In these experiments the absolute Raman intensity is used to provide a direct measure of the amount of any given material in the probed volume, i.e. a particle density. Particle density profiles have been calculated over the granulation time and show how the volume of the fluidised bed decreases with an increase mean granule size. The Raman spectroscopy analysis indicated that nucleation/coalescence in this co-melt fluidised hot melt granulation system occurred over a relatively short time frame (t<30 s). The Raman spectroscopic technique demonstrated accurate correlation with independent granulation experiments which provided particle size distribution analysis. The similarity of the data indicates that the Raman spectra accurately represent solids ratios within the bed, and thus the techniques quantitative capabilities for future use in the pharmaceutical industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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