Polyethylene glycol (PEG) particles were prepared using low-temperature supercritical assisted atomization (LTSAA) with carbon dioxide as the spraying medium or the co-solute and acetone as the solvent. The effects of several key factors on the particle size were investigated. These factors included the concentration of the PEG solution, precipitator temperature, saturator temperature, ratio of the volumetric flow rate of carbon dioxide to the PEG solution, and the molecular weight of PEG. Spherical and non-aggregated PEG particles, with a mean size of 1.7–3.2 µm, were obtained in this study. The optimal conditions to produce fine particles were found to be a low concentration of the PEG solution, a low precipitator temperature, and low molecular weight of the PEG. The phase behavior of the solution mixture in the saturator presented a qualitative relationship. At the optimized volumetric flow rate ratios, the composition of CO2
in the feed streams was near the bubble points of the saturator temperatures. X-ray and differential scanning calorimetry analyses indicated that LTSAA-treated PEG had a reduced degree of crystallinity, which could be modulated via the precipitator temperature. PEG microparticles prepared by a LTSAA process would be promising carriers for drug-controlled formulations of PEG-drug composite particles.
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