Mechanistic modelling of fluidized bed drying processes of wet porous granules: A review

Séverine Thérèse F.C. Mortier, Thomas De Beer, Krist Gernaey, Jean Paul Remon, Chris Vervaet, Ingmar Nopens

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Fluidized bed dryers are frequently used in industrial applications and also in the pharmaceutical industry. The general incentives to develop mechanistic models for pharmaceutical processes are listed, and our vision on how this can particularly be done for fluidized bed drying processes of wet granules is given. This review provides a basis for future mechanistic model development for the drying process of wet granules in pharmaceutical processes. It is intended for a broad audience with a varying level of knowledge on pharmaceutical processes and mathematical modelling. Mathematical models are powerful tools to gain process insight and eventually develop well-controlled processes. The level of detail embedded in such a model depends on the goal of the model. Several models have therefore been proposed in the literature and are reviewed here. The drying behaviour of one single granule, a porous particle, can be described using the continuum approach, the pore network modelling method and the shrinkage of the diameter of the wet core approach. As several granules dry at a drying rate dependent on the gas temperature, gas velocity, porosity, etc., the moisture content of a batch of granules will reside in a certain interval. Population Balance Model (ling) (PBM) offers a tool to describe the distribution of particle properties which can be of interest for the application. PBM formulation and solution methods are therefore reviewed. In a fluidized bed, the granules show a fluidization pattern depending on the geometry of the gas inlet, the gas velocity, characteristics of the particles, the dryer design, etc. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) allows to model this behaviour. Moreover, turbulence can be modelled using several approaches: Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes Equations (RANS) or Large Eddy Simulation (LES). Another important aspect of CFD is the choice between the Eulerian–Lagrangian and the Eulerian–Eulerian approach. Finally, the PBM and CFD frameworks can be integrated, to describe the evolution of the moisture content of granules during fluidized bed drying.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)205-225
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Porous material
  • Pharmaceutical tablets
  • PBM
  • Drying
  • CFD
  • Mechanistic modelling

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