|Year : 2009 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 82-89
|Glass transition temperature: Basics and application in pharmaceutical sector
Namdeo R Jadhav, Vinod L Gaikwad, Karthik J Nair, Hanmantrao M Kadam
Department of Pharmaceutics, Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Pharmacy, Near Chitranagari, Morewadi, Kolhapur - 416 013, Maharashtra State, India
Click here for correspondence address and email
|Date of Web Publication||13-Aug-2009|
| Abstract|| |
Glass transition temperature (Tg) is an important tool used to modify physical properties of drug and polymer molecules. Tg is shown by certain crystalline as well as amorphous solids. During the process of heating, some solid gets melted and if quench cooled, instead of crystallizing, gets converted to amorphous solid form appearing as that of glass. This glass formation is seen because of the dynamic arrest of molecules forming a disordered state at Tg. The molecules/atoms in glassy state are subject to only vibration and not translational and rotational motion. Mainly, at Tg, conversion of glassy (vitrified, amorphous) solid to rubbery (viscous liquid) takes place. Numerous factors like structural change in molecules, cooling rate and incorporation of additives alter the Tg. Techniques like differential scanning calorimetry, elastic modulus, broad-line NMR are used to measure the Tg of substances. The change in Tg has been carried out to improve dissolution and bioavailability, processing and handling qualities of the material.
Keywords: Amorphous, crystalline, glass transition temperature
|How to cite this article:|
Jadhav NR, Gaikwad VL, Nair KJ, Kadam HM. Glass transition temperature: Basics and application in pharmaceutical sector. Asian J Pharm 2009;3:82-9
| Introduction|| |
In recent times, the major research focus of pharmaceutical industries has been on manipulation of the existing drug molecules instead of incurring huge costs on search of a new chemical entity (NCE). The maximum biopharmaceutical benefits from existing drug molecules can be reaped by physicochemical modifications in existing drug molecules and modified drug delivery technologies.  In case of certain drug molecules and polymers, glass transition temperature (Tg) is used as a tool to modify their physical properties. By knowing the Tg one can keep material in crystalline or amorphous state, viscous/rubbery/supercooled liquid and less viscous liquid form. When solid is melted, conversion of solid to liquid takes place. And, during the quench cooling of molten solid, melted liquid gets transformed to solid through the intermediate stage called supercooled liquid. With sudden decrease in temperature supercooled liquid gets converted to glassy (amorphous) solid. The temperature below which a solid stays in glassy state and above which goes to viscous liquid form is called Tg. , Transition of crystalline solids to amorphous form is carried out mainly to increase the solubility of drug molecules. 
Phenomenon of glass transition
Glass transition is a phenomenon shown by some crystalline as well as amorphous solids. , If such solids are heated, they get melted and if quench cooled, instead of crystallizing get converted to amorphous solid form appearing as that of glass.  When the same molten liquid is cooled at a slow rate, the kinetic energy of molecules does not surpass the binding energy of neighboring molecules and crystal formation begins.  For formation of an ordered crystalline system the time required is more because molecules must move from their current location to an energetically preferred point. As temperature falls molecular motion further slows down and, if cooling rate is fast enough, molecules never reach their energetically preferred point. Ultimately, the substance enters dynamic arrest and forms disordered glass at a certain temperature called Tg.  The molecules/atoms in glassy state are subject to only vibration and not translational and rotational motion.  This process of conversion of crystalline to glassy solid is called vitrification. It has been observed that, cooling rate, cleanliness of liquid, viscosity at melting temperature and similarity of liquid packing during cooling decides the transformation of liquid to glassy or crystalline state. The process of melting of solid (Tm) takes place at a temperature above Tg.  [Figure 1]a and b show the amount of heat added to the solid on the y-axis and temperature obtained by the given amount of heat on the x-axis at Tg and Tm.  A plot of 100% crystalline polymer is discontinuous, in this case, showing break as melting temperature. At that break, lot of heat is taken by the solid without any temperature rise. It is called latent heat of melting. Here, slope is steeper on the high side of the break and the slope of plot is equal to the heat capacity. So this increase in steepness of slope corresponds to increase in heat capacity above the melting point.
Incase of [Figure 1]b (100% amorphous polymer), heated polymer shows no break.  The only change seen is at the glass transition temperature and an increase in slope shows increase in heat capacity. In amorphous solids though change in heat capacity at the Tg is seen no break and latent heat is involved.
At Tg, changes in hardness, volume, percent elongation-to-break and Young's modulus of solids are mainly seen.  Some polymers are used below their Tg (in glassy state) like polystyrene, poly(methyl methacrylate) etc., which are hard and brittle. Their Tgs are higher than room temperature. Some polymers are used above their Tg (in rubbery state), for example, rubber elastomers like polyisoprene, polyisobutylene. They are soft and flexible in nature; their Tgs are less than room temperature. 
Specific volume (Vsp) of solid is another factor that changes with the change in temperature as depicted in [Figure 2]. In this figure, from Tm onwards, heat supply does not increase the temperature of liquid. Rather, only specific volume gets increased and temperature rise is slowly seen later. If this molten liquid is cooled at different rates then differing Tgs are obtained. Rapid cooling gives high Tg (Tg1) while slow cooling rate gives lower Tg (Tg2). ,
Specific heat (Cp) is another parameter associated with solids. It changes with change in temperature. From [Figure 3]a it is clearly seen that super cooled liquids have largest specific heat and it drops to a lower value near Tg. The temperature at which specific heat drops rapidly depends on cooling rate of liquid. The two different cooling rates give two different curves. In the plot of specific entropy versus temperature [Figure 3]b, the slope is largest in liquid and super cooled liquid where cp is largest. As temperature drops, the entropies of super cooled liquid and crystal quickly approach each other.  At the melting temperature of liquid, its entropy is higher than crystal because liquid has a higher heat capacity than crystal. This entropy difference decreases upon super cooling.  Some reported techniques of Tg measurement are enlisted in [Table 1].
The exact picture of glass transition temperature seen in solids can better be visualized in [Figure 4] with the help of drawing of DSC plot. In this plot of temperature versus heat flow, region of crystallization temperature (Tc), melting temperature (Tm) and glass transition temperature (Tg) are seen. Tg and Tc are endothermic and Tm is showed as exothermic.  The Tc and Tm are usually showed by crystalline polymers. Complete amorphous polymers show only Tg. Polymers with both amorphous and crystalline region show all the three characteristics. 
Factors affecting Tg
Molecular weight ,,,
In case of straight chain polymers, increase in molecular weight leads to decrease in chain end concentration. This results in decreased free volume at end group region- and increase in Tg. If end groups of chain are changed molecular weight dependence of Tg can be changed. Decrease in chain end concentration (low molecular weight) and stronger interactions at end groups increase Tg.
Example: Effects of molecular weight of polyvinylpyrrolidone on glass transition temperature and crystallization of sucrose.
Bulky, inflexible side group ,,
Insertion of bulky, inflexible side group increases Tg of material due to decrease in mobility, viz: Poly-N-vinylcarbazole shows increased Tg due to substitution of bulkier group (carbazole).
Length of side group ,
As length of side group increases the polymer chains move apart from each other and that increases free volume in the molecule resulting in decreased Tg.
Example: Polyvinyl n-butyl ether showed decreased Tg with increase in chain length.
Double bond in back bone ,
Double bonds in backbone of molecule decrease bond rotation leading to increase in free volume and ultimately decrease in Tg.
Example: Polybutadienes show low Tg (175°K), which is less than corresponding polybutane containing side chain double bond.
Chemical cross-linking ,,
Increase in cross-linking decreases mobility leads to decrease in free volume and increase in Tg.
On addition of plasticizer to polymer, plasticizer gets in between the polymer chains and spaces them apart from each other increasing the free volume.  This results in polymer chains sliding past each other more easily. As a result, the polymer chains can move around at lower temperatures resulting in decrease in Tg of a polymer ,,,,
Example of plasticizer includes, nitrobenzene, b-naphthyl salicylate, carbon disulphide;  glycerine, ,,, propylene glycol, ,,, triethyl citrate, ,,, triacetine, ,, polyethylene glycol,  etc.
Water or moisture content
Increase in moisture content leads to increase in free volume due to formation of hydrogen bonds with polymeric chains increasing the distance between polymeric chains. The increased free volume between polymeric chains result in decreased Tg. ,,,,,, Simultaneously, low hydrogen bonding between drug and polymer provides more hydrogen bonding sites for water molecules resulting in decreased physical stability. ,,
In case of wheat starch, available in pregelatinized and native form, with increase in moisture content decreased Tg has been reported as shown in [Table 2]. 
If rate of cooling of molten solid is higher, Tg is higher , and if rate of cooling is slower, then Tg obtained is low as seen in [Figure 3]. ,,
Example: Study on influence of cooling rate on Tg in sucrose solutions and rice starch gels. 
Effect of entropy and enthalpy
The value of entropy for amorphous material is higher and low for crystalline material. If value of entropy is high, then value of Tg is also high. ,
Pressure and free volume
Increase in pressure of surrounding leads to decrease in free volume and ultimately high Tg.  Free volume is the unoccupied space arising from inefficient packing of disordered chains and is the space available for polymer to undergo rotation. 
Polymer film thickness ,,
Mobility of molecules increase when polymer film thickness decreases, resulting in decrease in Tg; increase in film thickness increases compaction and results in an increased Tg. When a polymer is added to substrate, the Tg increases due to decreased mobility. In case of thin free standing films, Tg decreases more due to high mobility than bulk polymer. In case of sandwiched films, compaction leads to increase in Tg.
Example: Polystyrene has shown decrease in Tg with decrease in its film thickness. , Similar effect has been observed in poly (methyl methacrylate) films on Au. ,
Flexibility of polymer chain ,,,
Some polymers show high Tg and some show low because of the ease with which the polymer chains move. A very low Tg will be shown by the polymer chains which can move around easily, while one that doesn't move will have a high Tg.
Factors affecting mobility of polymer chains responsible for easy movement of one polymer chain than the other are:
Backbone flexibility ,
More flexible backbone chain results in better movement of the polymer chain and lowers its Tg. Examples: The major class is of silicones like polydimethylsiloxane. Its backbone is so flexible that it has a Tg-127˚C and is in liquid state at room temperature. In case of poly (phenylene sulfone) backbone is so stiff and rigid that it doesn't have a Tg. It will stay in the glassy state up to the higher temperature. It will decompose before it undergoes a glass transition. By substituting flexible group like ether in the backbone chain, the polymer's Tg can be decreased.
Pendant groups I ,,
It has been observed that pendant groups affect chain mobility by acting as a fish hook that will catch on nearby molecules when the polymer chain tries to move. Pendant groups can also catch on each other when chains try to slither past each other. The pendant groups like big bulky adamantyl group derived from adamantine, gives a high Tg. This adamantyl group acts not only like a hook that catches on nearby molecules and avoids the polymer movement, but also its mass is such a load for its polymer chain that, it allows the movement of a polymer chain much more slowly. It has been reported that unsubstituted poly (ether ketone) has a Tg of 119˚C, while adamantine substituted poly (ether ketone) has a Tg of 225˚C.
Pendant groups part II 
It is observed that the substitution of big bulky pendant groups can also lower Tg because of the limitation of the close packing of the polymer chains together. Thus they are away from each other giving more free volume. This facilitates easy movement, resulting in decrease in the Tg, similar to plasticizer. In the series of methacrylate polymers, a decrease in Tg is observed with the substitution of one carbon each time, as seen in poly(methyl methacrylate), Tg 100-120°C; For poly(ethyl methacrylate), Tg: 65°C; poly(propyl methacrylate), Tg: 35°C; poly(butyl methacrylate), Tg: 20°C.
Interfacial energy and thickness 
The Tg of polymer films was less than their bulk values for low values of the interfacial energy, while on other hand, the Tg of polymer films was greater than their bulk values for high values of the interfacial energy. The deviations of the Tgs of the films from bulk values have shown increase with decrease in film thickness.
Example: Tgs of polystyrene and poly(methyl methacrylate). 
Increased branching gives rise to decreased mobility of polymer chains and increased chain rigidity results in high Tg.
Example: Tgs of polystyrene and poly (methyl methacrylate). 
Bond interactions 
High secondary forces due to the high polarity or hydrogen bonding lead to strong crystalline forces that require high temperatures for melting. So, these high secondary forces give rise to high Tg due to the decreased mobility of amorphous polymer chains.
Mono functional aliphatic monomers due to high flexibility exhibit low Tg.
Example: Isooctyl acrylate, tridecyl acrylate, laurylacrylate. Higher functionality materials have similar molecular weights due to higher cross-link density results in higher Tg.
Alkyl chain length 
Increase in alkyl chain length results in high Tg values.
Example: Increase in Tg has been observed with addition of number of methylene units in side group chain of phosphazene polymer. 
Polar groups 
Presence of polar groups increases intermolecular forces; inter chain attraction and cohesion leading to decrease in free volume resulting in increase in Tg.
Polymer solutions, co-polymers and blends 
It has been shown that Tg strongly depends on solvent used and the composition of polymer solutions. Tg is found to be decreased with addition of solvent to polymer due to plasticization. Hence, Tg becomes inversely proportional to concentration of solvent. Immiscible blends show separate Tg for each of the individual components. So, two Tgs are observed for binary blends. In case of miscible blends, a single Tg appears in between Tgs of mixed components.
Example: Decrease in Tg of polyvinyl chloride due to plasticization by di(ethylhexyl)phthalate;  immiscible blend of polystyrene and styrene-butadiene co-polymer has shown separate Tgs. [Table 3] shows a list of reported Tgs of some polymers and drug molecules.
Importance of glass transition temperature
Improved processing and handling qualities
The materials having low Tg are usually sticky in nature. Hence, if the Tg of material is increased by addition of substance having high Tg values, then product obtained won't be sticky, rather it becomes harder and easy to process. In this glassy state, the substance gets tougher and has good strength.
Improved dissolution and bioavailability
Amorphous materials show better aqueous solubility than crystalline material. ,, This is because, in case of amorphous material, minimal is energy required by randomly arranged molecules for dissolution. In case of high Tg material, they are in glassy state at room temperature and show improved dissolution. But in case of low Tg material, they are in rubbery state at room temperature/body temperature. Hence, rubbery nature of drug/polymer leads to erratic dissolution. 
Indomethacin  and nifedipine are poorly water-soluble drugs exhibiting dissolution rate limited oral bioavailability. So both drugs are prepared as glass solutions by melt extrusion with amorphous (hydrophilic) polymer-poly vinyl Pyrrolidone (PVP).  Glass solutions of both have showed increased drug dissolution rate than crystalline form of drug. ,,
Improved physical stability
Glass solution is formed when drug and polymer are entirely miscible in molten state and remain as an amorphous one-phase system when cooled. Extensive hydrogen bonding between drug and polymer leaves fewer sites available for bonding with water/moisture. , Hence, addition of polymers like PVP to drug in amorphous state (Nifedipine and Indomethacin) has showed improved physical stability. Also, any material in glassy state shows improved storage capability and physical stability. ,,,
| Conclusion|| |
Glass transition temperature can be used to modify physical properties of solids. By altering the Tg of drug or polymer molecules they can be maintained in amorphous solid form at ambient or body temperatures. Improvement in handling characters, solubility and reproducibility in dissolution of solids can be achieved by increasing the Tg of solids.
| Acknowledgement|| |
The authors are thankful to AICTE, New Delhi, for providing financial assistance in the form of research grant and a JRF.
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Namdeo R Jadhav
Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Pharmacy, Near Chitranagari, Morewadi, Kolhapur - 416 013, Maharashtra
[Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]
[Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]
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