No more leaky packaging

Related tags Water

A recently-formed UK company has developed a simple solution to
avoiding one of the most fundamental problems affecting
pharmaceutical products: contamination with water.

Versaperm, set up in July, has developed a metering instrument that can test the permeability of a pharmaceutical package to water in as little as 30 minutes, compared to several hours or even days with conventional gravimetric testing approaches. The company will also conduct tests on behalf of customers.

"One of the most damaging pharmaceutical contaminants is water,"​ according to Versaperm managing Christopher Roberts. "Moisture can seep through any form of packaging - from unitary dose blister packs to sachets, syringes, capsules and even bottles."

Both the loss or gain of water can have potentially significant effects. Water loss may lead to a change in the physical properties of a solid preparation, or a change in viscosity and concentration of vital components in liquid products. Water gain can cause sensitive ingredients to swell. Powders intended for inhalation are particularly sensitive as their particle size is critical for correct delivery - and is significantly influenced by the moisture content.

Versaperm's water vapour transmission rate (WVTR) meter consists of chambers for handling the samples under test, a nitrogen gas flow management system and water vapour sensors, all within a temperature-controlled casing.

For measuring WVTR, the barrier material is placed across the centre of the chamber. Below the material, the required humidity conditions are established using saturated salt solutions or distilled water. Above the material dried nitrogen scavenges water vapour passing through the material, and transfers it to the sensor. The instrument will then convert this into a reading in g/m2/day.

"Even with hard to measure foils, results can normally be turned around in a day,"​according to the company, which says the device can detect WVTRs of between 0.05 and 3200g/m2/day.

For measuring water vapour emitted from objects, the objects are placed in a bottle chamber, through which dried N2 is passed, scavenging water vapour and passing it to the sensor module. In this case the instrument displays the results in mg/day.

For more information on the Versaperm meter, visit the company's website​ or e-mail vasb@irefncrez.pbz​.

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