Viscosity Measurements of Methylcellulose Solutions Used for Pharmaceutical Products

Determine flow curves and viscosity curves for methylcellulose in different concentrations with an Anton Paar Modular Compact Rheometer (MCR), according to Monograph M52230. Viscosity tests at different shear rates with a rotational viscometer ViscoQC confirm the results.

Methylcellulose is a commonly-used substance in the pharmaceutical industry. It is used as a

  • gelling agent
  • thickener
  • suspension stabilizer
  • filler in capsules
  • binder in tablets
  • disintegrant.

Methylcellulose is a white, odorless, nontoxic, hydrophilic powder, with good solubility in cold water. It slowly swells to form a colloidal dispersion. The solubility in water decreases with increasing temperature from approx. 50 °C. A viscous gel-like solution is formed (thermal gelling behavior). Thus, the solubility of methylcellulose is very dependent on the water temperature (soluble below 40 °C).

There is a wide range of applications for methylcellulose, extending from very low-viscosity solutions to highly viscous substances. Just a few of the practical applications include drugs such as eye drops, infusion solutions, and gelatin creams, as well as solid powder in tablets.

In eye drops, methylcellulose is expected to contribute to the liquid’s ability to wet the entire eye. But in infusion solutions, it should have a viscosity that corresponds with that of blood so that laminar flow in the blood vessels is maintained.

Because of the dynamic nature of the physical properties of methylcellulose, as well as the potentially life-altering effects of the end products that it is included in, the ability to reliably analyze and accurately quantify its viscosity values under various conditions is extremely important.

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