The overall aim of this project was to study `functionalised' calcium carbonates (FCCs) for use as a carrier for the controlled release of `actives,' by permeation and diffusion, and is being proposed as an environmentally friendly and non-toxic pharmaceutical excipient, nutraceutical, and flavour carrier. The delivery of a drug to its target site in the appropriate amount and time-frame in order for it to have a controlled release effect whilst achieving the maximum therapeutic effect remains a topic of design and development for novel drug delivery systems. FCCs encompass a family of new pharmaceutical excipients in which the conditions of manufacture follow strict process regulations with respect to the grade of reagents that are employed and the microbiological environment under which they are produced, and include freedom from organic polymers. Adjustments to the FCC production process can be used to produce a wide range of different morphologies, and raise the possibility of tailoring the void structures of the particles to provide controlled release delivery vehicles for actives across many fields, including drugs and flavours. However, such tailoring can only be fully optimised by a fundamental characterisation of the way in which a drug, loaded into an FCC, then flows and diffuses out over a period of time to provide the delayed release. It was found that adsorption on the FCC surface is selective, for example, saccharin does not become adsorbed from 4-(2-hydroxyethyl)piperazine-1-ethanesulfonic acid (HEPES) buffer solution, and neither does anethole from ethanol. FCC also does not adsorb the cationic probe benzyltrimethylammonium bromide (BTMAB) or the anionic probe sodium 2-naphthalenesulphonate (Na2NS). However, it was found that vanillin adsorbs onto the FCC in an amount of 2.00 ± 0.59 mg g^-1. Aspirin and vanillin adsorption from ethanolic solutions with various additions of water onto FCC TP was investigated and fitted with the Tóth isotherm. It was estimated that vanillin adsorbed onto around 17 %, and aspirin onto around 39 %, of the overall FCC TP surface area without the addition of any water. An equation was formulated in order to approximate the adsorption as a function of the FCC's surface coverage by the water. This is discussed in Chapter 4 and has also been published in a peer-reviewed academic journal (Levy et al., 2017). Chapter 5 discusses the preliminary steps of the loading of vanillin and saccharin into FCC, and the results were inconclusive for a majority of samples, concluding that the loading and analysis methods need refining. The modelling of the diffusion profiles of vanillin loaded FCC S07 and S10 was successful, and resulted in diffusion coefficients of 231.9 x 10^-16 m^2 s^-1 and 248.44 x 10^-16 m^ s^-1, respectively. This is outlined in Chapter 6. Chapter 7 describes the `zero length column' (ZLC) technique, which was used as a way to characterise the diffusivity of the intraparticle pores of each FCC grade. However, it was established that there are many experimental artefacts present with such a method. This work outlines the development of the novel `finite length column' (FLC), which was developed as a means to overcome the limitations of the ZLC (Levy et al., 2015). Effective diffusivity coefficients in the long-term region of the diffusion curves of the FCC samples range from 1.06-106 x 10 ^-16 m ^2 s^-1. The FLC was then used in preliminary trials to dilute FCC with an inert solid in order to further refine the ZLC technique, and is discussed in Chapter 8. Two mathematical methods were also developed to aid in the refinement. The reported effective diffusivity coefficient for FCC 03 in the long-term region of the diffusion curve is 49.5 x 10^-16 m^2 s^-1. In conclusion, this work confirms that FCC has potential for use as a carrier for the controlled release of `actives' by diffusion. The utilisation of mathematical modelling in conjunction with experimental methods in the study of drug release and delivery is steadily increasing due to its enormous future potential; it will enable the optimisation of novel dosage forms and the elucidation of release mechanisms at a major reduction in cost and time compared with the number of experimental studies required to do so.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.