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Tablet Crush Resistance and Break Strength

Situation

What does it take to crush or break a tablet product? Whether it is a vitamin or a dishwasher additive, nobody wants a half-broken tablet left in the bottom of a packet or a whole one that's too hard to crack. A texture analyzer can objectively map the initial fracture point and upper/lower tolerances.

Many products come in tablet form, with a durability designed for both packaging and for use. Too brittle or too hard, and they may not be fit for use, or at best perform below expectation. The only way to determine consistency is mechanical testing of samples.

As a quality control measure on the production line, or as a manufacturing design tool, computer-controlled mechanical testing, based on criteria determined for an acceptable range of measures, is the only reliable method.

So what does it take to crush or break a tablet product?

Method

In this test, an FTC TMS-Pro Texture Analyzer was fitted with a 500 N intelligent loadcell and 1.5 inch (38 mm) cylinder probe. A short program advanced the probe to touch the tablet sample before advancing a further 1 mm, as sufficient to always break the sample. The TL-Pro control software also allows for break detection to stop the probe advancing further than necessary. The probe then returned automatically to the starting position.

 

 

 

 

Results

 

 

 

 

The graphical representation from TL-Pro, of the test results for the four samples, is shown here (force applied, against cumulative displacement).

The critical factor is the initial fracture point of the tablet sample. This trace also profiles resistance from the fragments as the probe continued to crush downwards.

The same results with additional calculations are shown here.

  • Average = arithmetic mean
  • SD = standard deviation
  • CV = coefficient of variation: (SD/Mean) x 100

Significance

The break point of many tablet products is a balance between resilience to the point of use, and viability in use. Frequently the tablet size denotes a required ‘dose’, whether it is a vitamin or a dishwasher additive, and nobody wants either a quarter mint in the bottom of a packet or a whole one that is too hard to crack. Other factors are important, including the pattern of breaking, but the crush strength is a primary indicator of manufactured quality. Mechanized testing as shown here is reliable and repeatable. The method allows for any minor size variations, and provides a clear profile of the initial break. Careful initial testing of a product can produce upper and lower tolerance levels for the required break force, and be used for quality monitoring on the production line, producing instant pass and fail indication. Any drift towards failure can be fed back to the line, saving time and cost.

Trusted by customers across the world

Nestle purchased a texture system from Food Technology Corporation in 2006. Since then I have recommended the texture system to several vendors in North and Central America. Staff at FTC was able to develop a simple training manual and procedure for the texture system allowing easy training in short period of time.

From purchasing of equipment through to installation and start-up, the level of personal care and service was remarkable. Shirl Lakeway and his staff at Food Technology Corporation are patient and understanding, and are always at our disposal for any assistance. Since we bought the equipment we have had no problems and feel very secure knowing that we can count on FTC for their support and service.

Dr Mawele Shamaila, Nestle - USA
http://www.nestleusa.com/

I have been using the TMS-Pro mechanical tester in our undergraduate biological materials property course for the past 3 years. The simple setup and operation of the TMS-Pro allows my students to focus on learning the theoretical underpinnings of mechanical properties instead of fighting with a finicky test system.

An added bonus is working with Shirl and his amazing team at Food Technology Corporation. They respond almost immediately to questions and inquiries and are always friendly and helpful. 

Jennifer (Melander) Keshwani, Ph.D. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
http://www.unl.edu/

As a Meat Scientist and program leader for the University of Nevada, Reno, I need to ensure that equipment I use in my lab is reliable, durable, versatile, and accurate. For texture analysis of meats, there are many systems available in the market. Over the last 15 years of my career, I¹ve worked with many of them and had great and bad experiences with different brands.

Last year, I decided to try a different system for my lab, the TMS-Pro Texture Analyzer from Food Technology Corporation. The system has all the attributes I was expecting to conduct texture and shear force analysis in a quick and not complicated way. The customer support provided by them is outstanding and their technicians are always ready to walk me through new procedures and initial set up. If you are looking for a reliable system for food texture analysis and special customer service, the TMS-Pro is the system to go for and the Food Technology Corporation is the one that can deliver the support.

Amilton de Mello
Assistant Professor of Agriculture, Meat Science and Food Safety
https://www.unr.edu/anvs