Physical Testing of Blister Packages for Pharmaceutical Drugs

People living in the Northeast look forward to the spring season, but for some individuals this season presents a number of problems as they are allergic to pollen and consequently suffer from runny nose, sneezing, etc.

To further compound the problem, certain allergy medications in the market come in blister packs that are difficult to open. In case the blister pack is hard, fingers can become sore and painful. Moreover when the pack is finally opened, the tablet could fall on the floor where it can be stepped on and get trampled in the process.

Benefits of Blister Packs

Blister packages are commonly used for pharmaceutical drugs as they offer a number of advantages like portability, tamper-resistance, and also preserve drugs over extended shelf-life. At times, there are certain blister packs that need more force to open even if they have come in the same box. In such a scenario, it would prove useful if such packs were produced with consistency so that the force required to break the pack remains the same. Hence, determining the force required to extract the capsule from a blister pack is an important QC test technique.

Tablet in blister pack

Tablet in blister pack

Soft gel capsule in blister pack

Soft gel capsule in blister pack

Brookfield CT3 Analyzer

A physical test instrument like the Brookfield CT3 Analyzer can now be used by manufacturers to design and qualify the strength of the blister pack that matches with customers’ requirements. The pack must be sufficiently strong to endure breakage during shipment and distribution. On the other hand, it must be easily extracted by adults and yet should be difficult for children to open.

Brookfield’s CT3 Analyzer

Brookfield’s CT3 Analyzer

A compression test is used by the CT3 Tester with Blister Pack Support Fixture (TA-BPS) that eliminates the assumption from packaging design and provides quality control of the required tool to ensure compliance with research and development specifications.


Brookfield's Blister Pack Support Fixture

The TA-BPS has been developed to calculate the force needed to push the pill through a blister pack. The pack comprising the capsule is placed down in the foil side fashion on the base of the TA-BPS device. Then, the V2 inch radius Finger Probe, replicating a human finger, is pushed down onto the tablet at a steady speed, forcing the tablet through the foil. This procedure imitates a person taking out a capsule from the blister pack. Peak load is the main information from this test which is the maximum force noted during the probe’s descent on the package. This indicates the resistance or hardness of the pack. In other words, when the value is higher, the foil side of the blister pack becomes equally harder, meaning that more force is required to push out the tablet. The other key data point is the work done value that is measured in milli-joules and calculates the work done by the instrument in removing the pill from the blister pack. An objective value is obtained for the effort needed to surmount the blister pack strength.

Comparing forces required to extract a hard tablet and a soft gel capsule from a blister pack

Comparing forces required to extract a hard tablet and a soft gel capsule from a blister pack

Peak Load

The graph in the above figure demonstrates how the blister pack for a hard pill and a soft gel pill reacted differently during the test with the CT3 Analyzer, equipped with a finger probe. In contrast to the soft gel capsule, the blister pack for the hard tablet recorded a higher peak load, which means users are required to apply more force to extract the pill from the blister pack. The force used to extract the capsule from the blister pack is proportional to the hardness of the packaging material.


The testing process illustrated above is rapid and easy and detects the varied forces required to open the blister pack. Similar testing can be performed to calculate the relaxation, rupture strength, and resilience properties of thin films and other identical products. The CT3 Analyzer is capable of measuring the packaging strength that links to human sensory perception and hence prove an essential tool in quality control to ascertain and maintain the consistency of a product. Now, in addition to attractive packaging and tablet color, ease of extraction and protection are essential criteria for customer satisfaction. All these properties give an edge to the product in the competitive market.

About Brookfield Engineering

Brookfield Engineering is the global leader in viscosity measurement and control for over 75 years! We manufacture rotational viscometers and rheometers and in-line process viscometers. Brookfield offers a line of Texture Analyzers with compression/tension modes and our Powder Flow Tester for manufacturers and processors of powder-based materials. Research labs, Quality Control labs, production environments, Government organizations and academic institutions count on Brookfield’s reliable instrumentation for dependability and accuracy.

Manufacturing companies use Brookfield In-Line viscometers to continuously monitor and control viscosity while materials are being processed.

In most countries throughout the world, Brookfield is the preferred supplier of viscosity measurement instrumentation. Experienced dealers have supported the Brookfield product line for many years, providing helpful and timely support to customer applications. The well-known trademarks of Brookfield products are reasonable pricing and high quality workmanship.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Brookfield Engineering.

For more information on this source, please visit Brookfield Engineering.


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