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CAVITATION TECHNOLOGY – A RAPID AND NOVEL WAY OF GENERATING NANOMATERIALS AND NANOEMULSIONS
Professor of Chemical and Nanopharmaceutical Process Engineering,
Head of the Research Division – Manufacturing and Industrial Processes (MIP) Director – Centre for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (CENTAM) Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham (Malaysia Campus), Jalan Broga, Semenyih, Malaysia; Email: Sivakumar.Manickam@nottingham.edu.my
It is estimated that by 2014 the global pharmaceutical industry will be worth over $ 910 billion and formulations will occupy a good share of that. As an increasing number of newly developed drugs are sparingly soluble in water and are often also insoluble in organic solvents, consequently the formulation of these drugs is a major obstacle to their clinical applications. Owing to their extremely low solubility, these drugs usually possess poor bioavailability. The immediate formulation then aims for the reduction in the particle size of these drugs so that the specific surface area increases which ultimately enhances the bioavailability. Common ways of solving this problem include the use of solubilizers, cyclodextrins, and mixtures of solvents. But to overcome the shortcomings existing with these strategies, alternative attempts have been made to formulate the drugs as nanoemulsions.
Continuous search is on to find out the techniques by which these nanoemulsions could be generated and which can make positive differences over the conventional techniques. In recent years, the advantages of cavitation for emulsification have gained prevalence due to its widespread use in a variety of processes i.e. physical, chemical and biological. In particular in the pharmaceutical applications, emulsions with the desired mean droplet size of less than 1 μm are essential in order to ensure an enhanced bioavailability and high physical stability. Generation of nanoemulsions using cavitation approach is highly energy efficient and also flexible control of droplet size are possible over other conventional mechanical and high-pressure emulsification techniques.
Ultrasound bubble collapse and the generation of nanoemulsion
Highly intensive ultrasound supplies the power needed to disperse a liquid phase (dispersed phase) in small droplets in a second phase (continuous phase). In the dispersing zone, the imploding cavitation bubbles cause intensive shock waves in the surrounding liquid and result in the formation of liquid jets of high liquid velocity. At appropriate energy density levels, ultrasound can well achieve a mean droplet sizes well below 1 μm. Efficiently generating the emulsion property of ultrasonic
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