Insights into the Impact of Nanostructural Properties on Powder Tribocharging: The Case of Milled Salbutamol Sulfate

Michela Beretta, Joana T. Pinto, Peter Laggner, Amrit Paudel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The impact of the crystallinity of organic solid materials on their tribocharging propensity is well reported. However, no unequivocal explanation about the potential underlying mechanism(s) could be found so far in the literature. This study reports the effect that different degrees of crystalline disorder has on the tribocharging propensity of a small molecular organic material, salbutamol sulfate (SS). Ball-milling was used to induce structural transformations in the crystalline structure of SS. Particles with different nanostructures were produced and analyzed for their solid-state, particle properties, and tribocharging. It was found that differences in the amorphous content among the processed particles and related moisture levels had an impact on powder tribocharging. A correlation between the latter and the nanostructural properties of the particles was also established. The presence of interfaces between nanodomains of different densities and shorter average lengths within the phases seems to lead to a mitigation of charge. This suggests that undetected, subtle nanostructural differences of materials can affect powder handling and processability by altering their tribocharging. The present findings demonstrate the nanostructural implications of powder triboelectrification, which can help toward the rational design of a wide variety of organic solids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-557
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2022


  • amorphization
  • mean chord length
  • milling
  • nanostructure
  • salbutamol sulfate
  • specific inner surface
  • tribocharging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery


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