The objective of this research is to determine the influence of temperature on the mechanical and dissolution performance of pharmaceutical printlets (tablets) fabricated via selective laser sintering (SLS) additive manufacturing. When compared to traditional high-volume pharmaceutical manufacturing, additive manufacturing has the potential to effectively cater to personalized and just-in-time medicine. Among additive manufacturing methods, SLS has the advantage of not needing to reconstitute the drug(s) with other liquids or powders, as well as the ability to tailor certain location-specific properties via process parameter control. One of the critical parameters that affect the printlet quality is the temperature during the printing process. To explore the thermal effects, two separate experiment sets were conducted. First, process parameters including chamber temperature were studied based on a partial-factorial design of experiments, and their effects on parameters such as weight, hardness, structural disintegration and dissolution rates studied. Next, a smaller scale study was conducted to correlate surface temperatures with structural integrity. Results showed the beneficial and detrimental effects of operating at chamber and bed temperature ranges, in relation to the polymer percentage and melting point. A certain minimum energy density needed to be imparted onto the powder mixture combinations (resulting in a certain surface temperature) for proper fusion and performance of the printlets. This work served to investigate and show the potential of using SLS to reliably fabricate pharmaceutical formulations.

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