DOI: 10.3390/pharmaceutics15082131 ISSN:

A Non-Isothermal Pore Network Model of Primary Freeze Drying

Maximilian Thomik, Felix Faber, Sebastian Gruber, Petra Foerst, Evangelos Tsotsas, Nicole Vorhauer-Huget
  • Pharmaceutical Science

In this work, a non-isothermal pore network (PN) model with quasi-steady vapor transport and transient heat transfer is presented for the first time for the application of primary freeze drying. The pore-scale resolved model is physically based and allows for the investigation of correlations between spatially distributed structure and transport conditions. The studied examples were regular PN lattices with a significantly different structure, namely a spatially homogeneous PN, also denoted as monomodal PN, and a PN with significant structure variation, referred to as bimodal PN because of its bimodal pore size distribution. The material properties selected for the solid skeleton in this study are equivalent to those of maltodextrin. The temperature ranges applied here were −28 °C to −18 °C in the PN and −42 °C in the surrounding environment. The environmental vapor pressure was 10 Pa. The PNs were dried with constant temperature boundary conditions, and heat was transferred at the top side by the vapor leaving the PN. It is shown how the structural peculiarities affect the local heat and mass transfer conditions and result in a significant widening of the sublimation front in the case of the bimodal PN. The possibility of spatially and temporally resolved front structures is a unique feature of the PN model and allows the study of situations that are not yet described by classical continuum approaches, namely heterogeneous frozen porous materials. As demonstrated by the thin layers studied here, the pore-scale simulations are of particular interest for such situations, such as in lyomicroscopes or collagen scaffolds, where a length-scale separation between dry and ice-saturated regions is not possible.

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