Does electrostatic charge affect powder aerosolisation?

Handoko Adi, Philip Chi Lip Kwok, John Crapper, Paul M. Young, Daniela Traini, Hak-Kim Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


To study if electrostatic charge initially present in mannitol powder plays a role in the generation of aerosols, mannitol was unipolarly charged to varying magnitudes by tumbling the powder inside containers of different materials. The resulting charge in the powder was consistent with predictions from the triboelectric charging theories, based on the work function values from literature and electron transfer tendencies from measurement of contact angle. The latter generated a parameter, γ−/γ+, which is a measure of the electron-donating capacity relative to the electron-accepting tendency of material. Lowering the work function value or increasing the γ−/γ+ ratio of the container material resulted in mannitol being more negatively charged, and vice versa. After charging, the powder was dispersed from an Aerolizer®, at 30 and 60 L/min, to study the aerosol performance. Irrespective of the charge level, the powder showed similar fine particle fraction, emitted dose and device retention at a given flow rate, indicating that charge induced by different containers during tumbling does not play a significant role in mannitol powder aerosolisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2455-2461
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • dry powder inhalation
  • mannitol
  • electrostatic charge
  • surface energy
  • agglomerate
  • aerosol


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