Isothermal calorimetry in the pharmaceutical sciences

13 June 2013  •  Author(s): Anthony E. Beezer and Simon Gaisford, UCL School of Pharmacy

Fifty years ago, isothermal microcalorimetry (IMC) was a means to determine thermodynamic data (principally values for enthalpies of formation or reaction to assist in the calculation of Gibb’s Free Energy functions and entropies). These data were used in the compilation of tables of thermodynamic values, for use in evaluating, inter alia, reaction feasibilities, reaction extents (effectively equilibrium constants) and, indeed, reaction enthalpies. For these measurements, an experimental timescale of 30 minutes was considered long. The applications of IMC have developed and expanded considerably over the years, to the point where it can be considered a real-time process monitor with application to virtually all areas of pharmaceutical development. Accompanying this evolution has been a significant growth in the availability of commercial instruments (in contrast to the previous practice of individual, laboratory designed and built instruments).

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