In-line measurement of residence time distribution in melt extrusion via video analysis

P. R. Wahl, G. Hörl, D. Kaiser, S. Sacher, Ch Rupp, G. Shlieout, J. Breitenbach, G. Koscher, J. G. Khinast*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Residence time distribution (RTD) is an important factor in melt extrusion as it strongly influences the product quality. It can cause degradation of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), which can be reduced by shorter mean residence times, and the content uniformity, which can be improved by broadening the RTD caused by axial mixing. In our study, we developed an inline video analysis that to date has mainly been applied offline. For extrusion, hydrophilic polymer and a surfactant were used as a molten matrix, in which an API was embedded. The video analysis consisted of four steps: (1) segmentation of the image to mask the strands, (2) calculation of average color values for the segmented pixels of each frame, (3) fitting of the obtained color curve with an analytical solution, and (4) calculating several RTD measures (e.g., the minimal and mean RT) for better comparison of the results. The RTD measures were responses in the design of experiments (DoE), which included the process parameters screw design, screw speed, and throughput. This analysis clearly showed that screw design had the strongest effect on the RTD measures. The results suggest that video analysis is a suitable tool for inline RTD measurements. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 58:170–179, 2018.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-179
Number of pages10
JournalPolymer Engineering and Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

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