Solid dissolution in a fluid solvent is characterized by the interplay of surface area-dependent diffusion and physical fragmentation

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Colleges, School and Institutes


The processes of dissolution and fragmentation have high relevance in pharmaceutical research, medicine, digestive physiology, and engineering design. Experimentally, dissolution and fragmentation are observed to occur simultaneously, yet little is known about the relative importance of each of these processes and their impact on the dissolution process as a whole. Thus, in order to better explain these phenomena and the manner in which they interact, we have developed a novel mathematical model of dissolution, based on partial diferential equations, taking into consideration the two constituent processes of surface area-dependent diffusive mass removal and physical fragmentation of the solid particles, and the basic physical laws governing these processes. With this model, we have been able to quantify the effects of the interplay between these two processes and determine the optimal conditions for rapid solid dissolution in liquid solvents. We were able to reproduce experimentally observed phenomena and simulate dissolution under a wide range of experimentally occurring conditions to give new perspectives into the kinetics of this common, yet complex process. Finally, we demonstrated the utility of this model to aid in experiment and device design as an optimisation tool.


Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2018