Cellulose powders from various sources were manufactured and characterized to investigate the influence of their crystallinity index, surface area, and pore volume on sorption phenomena and the relevant pharmaceutical functionality. The influence of the cellulose crystallinity index on moisture sorption was important at low and intermediate relative humidities. At high relative humidities, properties such as surface area and pore volume took precedence in governing the moisture sorption process.
The theory of physical adsorption of gases onto fractal surfaces was useful for understanding the distribution of water in cellulose and the inner nanoscale structure of cellulose particles. It was found that, as a consequence of swelling, moisture induces a fractal nanopore network in cellulose powders that have a low or intermediate degree of crystallinity. On the other hand, no swelling occurs in highly crystalline cellulose powders and moisture sorption is restricted to the walls of the open pores.
No correlation was found between the cellulose crystallinity index and the incorporation and release of nicotine in cellulose mixtures. By loading nicotine in highly porous matrices of the Cladophora sp. algae cellulose, higher stability against oxidative degradation, higher loading capacity, and more steady release into an air-stream was achieved than when commercially available microcrystalline cellulose was loaded.
It was also shown that, by manipulating the structure of cellulose, the undesired hydrolysis of acetylsalicylic acid in mixtures with cellulose can be avoided. It was suggested that a broad hysteresis loop between the moisture adsorption and desorption curves of isotherms at low relative humidities could be indicative of an improved compatibility between acetylsalicylic acid and cellulose.
In all, this thesis demonstrates how the pharmaceutical functionality of microcrystalline cellulose can be improved via engineering of the structure of native cellulose powders.