Tricalcium citrate (TCC) was characterized as a tableting excipient for direct compression (DC) and dry granulation (DG).
Brittle materials usually lead to tablets of inferior mechanical strength compared to plastic deforming materials. A brittle material exhibiting a high tabletability with the ability to retain that behaviour during recompression would represent a valuable alternative to the commonly used microcrystalline cellulose (MCC).
Tablets of TCC and other common fillers were directly compressed for the purpose of compression analysis including Heckel analysis, speed dependency, and lubricant sensitivity. DG by roller compaction of TCC was first simulated via briquetting and experiments were subsequently repeated on a roller compactor.
TCC appears as an excellent flowing powder of large agglomerates consisting of lower micron to submicron platelets. Despite the brittle deformation mechanism identified in the Heckel analysis, TCC demonstrated a very high mechanical strength up to 11 MPa in conjunction with an astonishingly low solid fraction of 0.85 at a compression pressure of 400 MPa. This was seen along with hardly any speed and lubricant sensitivity. Nevertheless, disintegration time was very short. TCC tablets suffered only a little from the re-compression: a slight loss in tensile strength of 1 - 2 MPa was observed for granules produced via roller compaction.
TCC was found to be suitable for DC as a predominantly brittle deforming filler, nevertheless demonstrating an enormous hardness yield while being independent of lubrication and tableting speed. TCC furthermore retained enough bonding capacity after DG to maintain this pronounced tabletability.