Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Joanne Peart

Second Advisor

Peter R. Byron


Cascade impactors, routinely used for in vitro particle size characterization of pharmaceutical aerosols, are calibrated using dilute, charge-neutralized, monodisperse aerosols. But pharmaceutical aerosols are known to generate concentrated, inherently charged, polydisperse aerosol clouds. A computational model of the Andersen Cascade Impactor (ACI) suggested that the presence of charge on aerosol particles may influence their deposition within the ACI, but experimental validation of the model is warranted. This dissertation investigates the influence of electrostatic charge upon the deposition behavior of aerosols within cascade impactors, to address the impact of charge on particle size characterization. The influence of applied charge upon the deposition pattern and aerodynamic particle size distribution (APSD) of commercially available pressurized metered dose inhalers (pMDIs) within the Electrical Low Pressure Impactor (ELPI) was examined. Electrostatic properties were modified using an external voltage source in conjunction with the ELPI corona charger and observed to be dependent on the formulation and device packaging. Induced artificial charge on the aerosol particles influenced the deposition pattern within the impactor, but did not result in a significant change in the apparent APSD. An experimental apparatus capable of producing charge neutralized and charged aerosol, with targeted deposition on the CFD predicted ‘charge sensitive’ ACI stages, was developed. In vitro results were observed to be in partial agreement with the CFD predictions. While charge influenced the deposition pattern in the ACI with increased deposition observed in the charger and on the upper stages of the ACI, it did not influence the apparent APSD of the aerosol. Electrostatic charge effects on deposition behavior within cascade impactors were delineated with respect to space charge and image charge effects by investigating the influence of impactor grounding, particle size, stage coating and loading. While the deposition pattern within the ACI was influenced by charge, only stage coating and stage loading resulted in a small, significant difference in the apparent APSD, which may not be practically relevant due to the variability associated with in vitro aerosol testing. Similar trends were observed in the deposition behavior of charge neutralized and charged aerosol within an abbreviated ACI system compared to the full resolution ACI.


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Date of Submission

September 2012