Foam is a common challenge in many industries, from chemical processing to food and beverage and more. Foam can hinder production processes, decrease product quality, and increase the risk of equipment damage. To address these issues, non-silicone defoamers are often used to eliminate or control foam.
What is a Defoamer?
Defoamers are a type of chemical additive used in a variety of industrial processes to prevent and reduce foam formation. Also known as anti-foaming agents, defoamers have a low surface tension and spread rapidly over foamy surfaces to destabilize air bubbles.
Because defoamers and antifoams share similar chemical characteristics, the terms are often used interchangeably; however, there is a difference between the two. Antifoams are typically added to prevent foam formation, whereas defoamers are added after the foam has already formed to break it down.
What is a “Non-Silicone” Defoamer?
A non-silicone defoamer is a type of defoamer that does not contain “free silicone” within its composition. This means that there is no silicone polymer freely floating in the body of the defoamer. Although small amounts of silicone may be present in some non-silicone defoamers, if present it is typically bound to the surface of the hydrophobic silica rather than being freely available. For example, think of non-alcoholic (NA) beer. Even though it’s marketed as being NA, non-alcoholic beer contains less than one percent of alcohol.
By contrast, a “silicone-free” defoamer is completely devoid of any silicone in its composition and is an alternative option for applications where silicone shouldn’t be present at all.
Some common types of non-silicone defoamers include:
- Polymeric defoamers
- Non-aqueous oil-based defoamers
- Solvent-based defoamers
- Water-based fatty alcohol emulsions
- Non-aqueous synthetic (polyol) defoamers
- Vegetable oil-based defoamers and emulsions
Non-Silicone Defoamer Benefits and Applications
Non-silicone defoamers offer many benefits, including:
- Minimizes surface defects.For certain applications, non-silicone defoamers are the preferred choice due to concerns about silicones causing unwanted surface defects in dried films.
- Reduces residue deposition. Compared to silicone products, non-silicone defoamers are often less likely to leave residue deposition.
- Less damage to filtration membranes.Some types of non-silicone defoamers may be less likely to adversely affect filtration membranes, resulting in better filtration performance.
- More cost-effective and available.Non-silicone defoamers are often less susceptible to drastic swings in price and availability. In the past, silicone materials have been subjected to price fluctuations and shortages, leading to a higher focus on the development of non-silicone alternatives.
Because of their many benefits, non-silicone defoamers are popular for a wide range of industries and applications, such as:
- Food industry
- Chemical processing
- Industrial wastewater
Non-Silicone Defoamers from Applied Material Solutions
When choosing the right defoamer for your application, it’s important to consider factors such as the type of foam generated and the timing of its production. In many situations, non-silicone defoamers are the ideal choice, offering several advantages such as minimized surface defects, reduced residue deposition, cost advantages, and more.
At Applied Material Solutions, we offer a range of quality non-silicone defoamer products to meet your foam control needs. As a leading manufacturer of foam control products, we can work with you to determine which of our products is best for your application. For more information about our non-silicone defoamers, contact us today.