Enhancing the breakage of powder agglomerates to improve the pulmonary delivery of drugs from dry powder inhalers


Dry powder inhalers have great potential for effective delivery of topical and systemic drugs through the lungs. Currently the performance of such devices is limited due to incomplete deagglomeration of drug powders. By developing a new, turbulent dispersion model for deagglomerating particles this project will determine flow parameters which optimise deagglomeration, leading to much improved device performance and a healthier population.


Dr Matthew Cleary

Research Location

Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering

Program Type



A theoretical model for the turbulent dispersion of drugs from pulmonary delivery devices will be developed. Research will focus on the process of drug powder breakage which reduces aerosolised powders to a sufficiently small size to be deposited in the deep lungs. While existing practical models have accounted for the other important fluid dynamic processes, breakage is not incorporated despite its direct impact on the performance of such devices. The model will be validated against available data from canonical drug powder breakage investigations and will also be demonstrated for a real device. The project will determine the mechanisms which enhance drug powder breakage and make suggestions for improving device design.

Additional Information

This project is open to both domestic and international PhD students.  International students who do not have funding from their home country will be required to apply for a living allowance and tuition fee scholarships such as IPRS. Such scholarships are very competitive and a successful applicant would normally be within the top 5% of their graduating class and additionally have published at least one paper in a high ranking journal. Correspondence with the supervisor should give evidence of these credentials.

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turbulent dispersion, Dry Powder Inhalers

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1554

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