Application of the discrete element method for manufacturing process simulation in the pharmaceutical industry

Su Bin Yeom, Eunsol Ha, Minsoo Kim, Seong Hoon Jeong, Sung Joo Hwang, Du Hyung Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Process simulation using mathematical modeling tools is becoming more common in the pharmaceutical industry. A mechanistic model is a mathematical modeling tool that can enhance process understanding, reduce experimentation cost and improve product quality. A commonly used mechanistic modeling approach for powder is the discrete element method (DEM). Most pharmaceutical materials have powder or granular material. Therefore, DEM might be widely applied in the pharmaceutical industry. This review focused on the basic elements of DEM and its implementations in pharmaceutical manufacturing simulation. Contact models and input parameters are essential elements in DEM simulation. Contact models computed contact forces acting on the particle-particle and particle-geometry interactions. Input parameters were divided into two types—material properties and interaction parameters. Various calibration methods were presented to define the interaction parameters of pharmaceutical materials. Several applications of DEM simulation in pharmaceutical manufacturing processes, such as milling, blending, granulation and coating, were categorized and summarized. Based on this review, DEM simulation might provide a systematic process understanding and process control to ensure the quality of a drug product.

Original languageEnglish
Article number414
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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