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Industrial-Grade Defoamers

Defoamers are chemical agents that knock down and reduce foam produced during industrial processes, including applications as varied as detergent manufacture and in effluent systems. Defoamers are inert chemical fluids that are fully or partially insoluble in the foaming medium and designed to be non-reactive. They are added to reduce or disperse existing foam in a system. Dozens of industrial processes rely on high-performance defoamers to prevent gas entrainment, keep fluid streams moving in a predictable manner, and optimize manufacturing efficiency.

Learn more about the different types of industrial-grade defoamers that Applied Material Solutions (AMS) produces, their composition and characteristics, and what applications they’re best suited for.

Water-Based Industrial-Grade Defoamers

Water-based defoamers can reduce foam within many types of process liquids. At AMS, we provide water-based silicone emulsions, mineral oil emulsions, and fatty alcohol dispersions.

Silicone Emulsions

Industrial facilities turn to silicone emulsions for fast-acting and high-strength foam suppression and knockdown. This class of water-based defoaming agents can work across a wide array of applications to keep foam under control, and are available in different concentrations depending upon the needs of the consumer. Typical concentrations include 10%, 20%, and 30% silicone, but products are available across a wide percentage range.

Some examples of applications for silicone emulsion defoamers are:

  • Water treatment
  • Evaporative wastewater treatment
  • Detergent manufacturing
  • Any industry with surfactant-laden foam issue

Two examples of effective silicone defoamers from AMS include the following products:

  • TRANS-2994: This emulsion is built for difficult to control foams and is effective against both anionic and nonionic detergent foam.
  • TRANS-30 D: This is a 30% active silicone emulsion. Because of its high concentration and potency, it is often a very cost effective choice.

Mineral Oil Emulsions

When you can’t use silicone, mineral oil emulsions are often an effective alternative. Also, in many applications, mineral oil defoamers can be more effective than silicone-containing defoamers. Further, mineral oil is typically less costly than silicone, so these types of defoamers may offer an economic advantage in certain applications.

Some common applications for mineral oil emulsion defoamers include:

  • Water treatment facilities for processes with membranes intolerant to silicone
  • Paint and coating manufacturing, where mineral oil defoamers are less likely to cause equipment fouling or surface defects in final coated products

AMS offers several types of mineral oil emulsion defoamers, including:

  • TRANS-220 D: This defoamer has a proven track record of broad-spectrum efficacy.
  • TRANS-274: This formulation was specifically designed for water treatment applications.

Fatty Alcohol Dispersions

These defoamers are cost-effective and tend to be relatively inexpensive. Due to their good biodegradation profile, they tend to be a more environmentally and ecologically sound option compared to other types of defoamer chemistries.

Fatty alcohol defoamers are ideal for use in many applications, including:

  • Water treatment facilities
  • Paper processing (e.g. paper machine and final effluent)

Two examples of AMS’s fatty alcohol defoamers are:

  • TRANS-7665 C: This product works well in paper machines and can handle high temperatures.
  • TRANS-7664: This highly concentrated and efficacious defoamer is great for export and overseas customers, and lends itself well to dilution on-site or for resale.

Oil-Based Industrial-Grade Defoamers

Oil-based defoamers are effective in a myriad of applications. At AMS, we provide both mineral oil-based and vegetable oil-based options.

Mineral Oil-Based

These defoamers can spread quickly through a fluid to quickly knock down the foam. Mineral oil products are reliable alternatives when silicone cannot be used, and are often the most effective option in their own right.

Common applications for mineral oil-based defoamers include:

  • Controlling foam during paint and coating production
  • Controlling foam generated in clarifiers, aeration basins, and in water treatment digesters

Two of our key products include:

  • TRANS-708: This work horse defoamer delivers broad-spectrum efficacy in applications as varied as paints and coatings to water treatment.
  • TRANS-7285: This formula is free of silica and silicone, making it a good option for Kraft pulping systems intolerant to silicone.

Vegetable Oil-Based

Vegetable oil-based defoamers tend to have good biodegradability and maybe a “greener” alternative to other types of defoamers. Ink, coating, and paperboard manufacturers often use this type of defoamer.

AMS’s TRANS-7635 is an example of a non-silicone, vegetable oil-based defoamer.


AMS provides several types of surfactant-based defoamers, including ester-based and polymer-based options.


Ester-based defoamers are specially synthesized for a variety of applications, including paper processing, control of starchy and proteinaceous foam, in fermentations and anaerobic water treatment, and in cement applications. These defoamers are often very cost-effective and deliver exceptional performance, and can be a reliable alternative when silicone-based products are not an option or are not effective enough.

Two of our ester-based defoamer include:

  • TRANS-785: This formula can handle foams generated by anaerobic fermentation or proteins.
  • TRANS-3983: Paper manufacturers can use this defoamer in their paper machines to control foam and entrained air. It is also effective for controlling entrained air in cement formulations.


Polymer-based defoamers are typically silicone-free and often silica-free, and are generally presented as highly-active or even 100% active, concentrated products. Many tend to be readily pourable, even in cold temperatures, and are easy to pump and handle, and most have a relatively lengthy shelf-life. Some excel in warm to hot processing temperatures, whereas others are effective in cooler temperature processes. Some examples of applications for which these defoamers are used include:

  • Electroplating and other metal finishing processes
  • Kraft and pulping processes
  • CIP defoaming and auto-dishwashing
  • Fermentation

Some examples of AMS’s polymer-based products include:

  • TRANS-083: This silicone- and silica-free formula can work alone to defoam lubricants or can be added to pulp mill-specific defoamers as a performance enhancer.
  • TRANS-2450: This defoaming agent can handle acidic and alkaline foams in high-temperature environments and finds utility in CIP processing and electroplating applications.
  • TRANS-280 D. This defoamer is silicone-free, 100% active and finds utility in applications as varied as fermentation to wastewater treatment.

Choose Industrial-Grade Defoamers From AMS

Applied Material Solutions specializes in formulating and manufacturing a variety of defoamer types for use across numerous industrial applications. Please reach out today to learn more about our defoamer options and how we can help you.

Hydrophobic Silica – Free Flow & More

Hydrophobic silicas comprise a unique group of materials that feature many types of advantageous properties and attributes. Their features make them suitable for a wide range of applications, including sealants, greases, adhesives, processing aids, and personal care products, among many others.

This material functions as a kind of anti-caking substance to eliminate, reduce, or mitigate the risk of hardening or “caking” within powders. It achieves this through moisture control (e.g. repellency) that helps to keep the particles consistently defined and separate, facilitating the free-flow of the powder.

Benefits of Using Hydrophobic Silica

If you’re considering hydrophobic silica, this material features numerous benefits that make it crucial for an array of compounds. These key advantages include:

  • Adsorbent — Can adsorb liquids, solids, and gasses to create powder from liquids and pastes
  • Anti-Blocking — Keeps film sheets separate and prevents sticking
  • Anti-Sagging — Keeps wet coatings or paints from running or drooping
  • Anti-Setoff — Prevents the potential inadvertent transfer of ink between printed pages known as setoff
  • Anti-Setting — Helps increase the amount of time it takes for paint and pigments to dry on metallic and other surfaces when used with certain chemicals
  • Free Flow of Powders — Functions as an anti-caking agent that keeps powders from hardening or caking
  • Foam Control — Decreases foam levels or minimizes foam buildup
  • Hydrophobicity Control — Serves as a natural water repellent that causes water to form droplets
  • Mechanical and Optical Properties Improvements — Improves the transparency, clarity, and durability, among other material qualities
  • Reinforcement — Provides reinforcement for some materials’ elastomeric properties
  • Pigment Stabilization and Dispersion — Facilitates the reliable application of certain types of complex pigments
  • Print Definition — Reduces the risk of smudging, runoff, and other issues that could otherwise compromise print clarity and definition
  • Processability Improvements — Enables increased processing along with application precision
  • Rheology Control — Maintains the consistency of products throughout containers or batches
  • Thickening — Increases the thickness of sealants, pigments, adhesives, and other types of liquid products to help improve application control and prevent running
  • Thixotropy — Thins compounds that are normally thicker, specifically through stirring, shaking, or disturbing these compounds using other methods
  • Suspension and Stability Behavior — Helps stabilize complex liquids while evenly suspending ingredient mixtures in batches

Hydrophobic Silica Free Flow Applications

Hydrophobic silica allows for the free flow and storage of a variety of powdered products, which are often prone to caking and hardening. The consensus for why this material has this effect is that hydrophobic silica forms a mono-particle silica layer around the particles within the powder. Subsequently, this layer helps reduce any “inner friction” that could otherwise develop, creating a kind of ball-bearing effect. In turn, applications benefit from increased consistency of product throughout batches, minimizing the risk of potential issues during processing.

Many different industries use hydrophobic silica across a range of products and applications. Some of the different products that utilize hydrophobic silica include:

  • Coatings and paint
  • Animal nutrition and feed
  • Printing inks
  • Toners
  • Powdered defoamers and antifoams
  • PVC-based plastics
  • Pharmaceuticals and cosmetics
  • Tablet powder blends
  • Plastic powders
  • Fire extinguisher powder
  • Polyester resins and gel coats

Industry Example: Tire Recycling

Hundreds of millions of tires are disposed of every year. If they are not recycled or reused, this can have a significant negative effect on the environment.

The use of hydrophobic silica can help lessen the environmental impact of tire disposal by allowing for a more efficient recycling process. Specifically, hydrophobic silica helps during the grinding of the recycled tires into progressively smaller-sized granules. It assists with the free flow and particle screening of the granules, and imparts water repellency to help with moisture control.

Hydrophobic Silica Products from Applied Material Solutions

When selecting a hydrophobic silica, turn to Applied Material Solutions. We offer a wide variety of options, including fumed and precipitated products.

For more information about our silica products and other solutions, Contact Applied Material Solutions today or call our offices at 262-723-6595.

Colloidal Silica vs. Fumed Silica

Applied Material Solutions offers a variety of industrial chemical products. In addition to colloidal silica, we provide a selection of antifoams and defoamers, hydrophobic treated silica, and toll manufacturing services. You’ll find our headquarters in Elkhorn, WI, while Burlington, WI, and Rockton, IL, are home to our manufacturing plants.

Here you’ll learn the differences between fumed silica and colloidal silica, which are otherwise identical at the molecular level. While AMS is a manufacturer of colloidal silica, we are not outright a manufacturer of fumed silica. Instead, we take fumed silica and surface-treat it with silicone polymers to make it hydrophobic.

What Is Colloidal Silica?

Colloidal silica is a water-based, stabilized dispersion of amorphous silicon dioxide (aka silica) nanoparticles. Manufacturers produce colloidal silicathrough the polymerization of silica nuclei derived from silicate solutions. Polymerized under alkaline conditions, the silica nuclei convert into silica sols (solid particles) at the nano-scale and with a high surface area. The process then applies a charge to these silica sols, causing electrostatic resistance between each particle and creating a colloid—a type of stable dispersion.

These microscopic colloids remain suspended in a dispersion medium, typically water. What makes colloids different from other suspensions is their even distribution, without settling or separating. Colloids can be comprised of many types of solid, gaseous, and liquid substances within a dispersion media. In the case of colloidal silica, the colloid is a microscopic solid dispersed in water.

What Is Fumed Silica?

Fumed silica is an amorphous, nano-scale, powdered material. Fumed silica particles are formed by injecting air and hydrogen flames with silicon tetrachloride or other types of chlorosilanes. Like colloidal silica, fumed silica particles are extremely small and have large surface areas. Furthermore, fumed silica particles have the same molecular composition as colloidal silica particles, except that they are presented in powdered form as opposed to a stabilized liquid dispersion.

What Are the Applications of Fumed Silica and Colloidal Silica?

Fumed silica functions as a desiccant that thickens various substances. For example, food manufacturers may use it to thicken liquid food products or prevent caking in powdered products. Other potential applications for fumed silica include cosmetics, toothpaste, and fillers in silicone elastomers. It also adjusts viscosity, alters rheology and modifies the physical characteristics of paints, coatings, adhesives and sealants.

Similar to fumed silica, applications for colloidal silica include absorbing moisture in industrial settings with high moisture levels. Colloidal silica is also used to increase surface friction, facilitate the movement of materials, and as a binding agent.

Attributes of Fumed Silica and Colloidal Silica

Typical AttributesColloidal SilicaFumed Silica
Physical StateLiquidPowder
ConcentrationVariable - Often 6% - 50%Typically 100%
CreationNucleation ReactionFlame Hydrolysis
Common ApplicationsBinder, Densifier, CoagulantThickener, Stabilizer, Rheology Control
Particle SizeVariable - Often 3 nm - 50 nmVariable - e.g. 5 nm - 20 nm
Surface AreaVariable - Often 60 - 1,000 m2 /gVariable - e.g. 100 - 200 m2 /g
Hydrophilic vs HydrophobicBoth. AMS manufactures hydrophilic colloidal silica.Both. AMS manufactures hydrophobic fumed silica.

Silicates From Applied Material Solutions

When selecting a colloidal silica or hydrophobic fumed silica, turn to Applied Material Solutions. We offer a wide variety of colloidal silica options, including winterized versions, and a versatile fumed silica in the form of our AMSil-F H22.

For more information about our silica products and other solutions, contact Applied Material Solutions today or call our offices at 262-723-6595.

Private Label Capabilities

When you’re looking to add a new product offering under your brand, there are several logistical considerations to make on how to bring it to market. You must assess your company’s ability to handle research and product development, procurement, manufacturing, packaging, and more. Does your business have the expertise, manpower, and specialized equipment resources to do the job? If not, do you have the budget to acquire the new technology and train staff to use it?

Introducing a new item to your product line can be costly and time-consuming. Outsourcing product sourcing and production-related tasks to a private labeling company instead gives you immediate access to a larger supply chain network with a manufacturer for which producing this product is already a core competency.

What Is a Private Label?

Consumers may assume that a company’s product is self-manufactured. A private label product sells under your own brand, but a third-party manufacturer, one that already has that existing product or capabilities to custom-produce it for you, is responsible for production.

By partnering with a private labeling manufacturer to generate their goods under your brand name, you can take advantage of their skilled labor, proven manufacturing processes, and specialized equipment without needing to invest in such things yourself. This common practice is advantageous not just for large corporations or brands that already have high recognition in their market but also for startups or smaller companies. These might be looking to try out a new business venture or expand their product line quickly and cost-effectively.

How Does Private Labeling Work?

Once you’ve determined the product you want to add to your line and its intended market, the first step is researching and finding the appropriate private label manufacturer for your business. You’ll want one with experience working on goods for your market sector, and one with a reputation for quality and open communication.

Before full-scale production, first order some samples of your product. Doing so will allow you to review and potentially tweak it as necessary, offering feedback to the manufacturer. Once you’ve finalized all production details, manufacturing can begin.

To attribute their product to your business, the private labeling company will use your brand name on the product packaging. You’ll then sell and market these goods as your product under your brand, either independently or alongside other products. While the manufacturer isn’t the one to get recognition for production, they instead benefit from increased sales for a mutually beneficial business arrangement.

The Private Label Advantage

There are numerous benefits to private labeling, including:

  • Optimal control. Even though you’re not manufacturing the product yourself, private labeling allows you some control over product specifications, parts or materials, and even your whole supply chain. By managing the cost of production, you can ensure cost-effectiveness and profitable pricing.
  • Exclusivity. Often, you alone have the right to sell your particular private label product, thus enabling you to stand out amongst the competition. Limited product accessibility for consumers can also increase sales across your business as your base will be more likely to do their shopping with you.
  • Brand loyalty. Beyond simply selling your product, you want to foster customer loyalty. Using effective marketing and private labeling as a branding strategy successfully achieves this goal. It connects your product with a target audience of customers who already love your products and are more likely to purchase items from your line.
  • Flexibility. Using private label manufacturing allows your company to be more agile, rapidly adapting to changes in market conditions and consumer purchasing patterns.
  • High profit margins. With R&D already done, private label brands typically have an impressive profit margin compared with resale goods. Also, as the manufacturer takes care of the production, you can focus on marketing and your core business.
  • Options for wholesale. Should you decide to get into wholesale operations, you can grant other retailers limited access to your product line. This not only increases exposure for your brand but provides additional income from retailers willing to pay a premium to carry your products.

Why AMS?

At Applied Material Solutions, Inc., we manufacture a wide variety of specialty chemical products available for private labeling, including defoamers, antifoams, and colloidal and hydrophobic silicas. Our facilities are equipped with storage and blend tanks, hot oil and steam reactors, and milling, shearing, and laboratory support equipment for producing high-quality chemicals. AMS is ISO- and GFSI-certified, utilizing best-in-class technology to provide clients in diverse industries with successful private labeling solutions and much more. Contact us today for information on our capabilities and available products.

Foam Control in Fermentation

Managing conditions that cause air entrainment or foam formation is vital to agribusinesses and food processors. Air entrainment and foam formation can be caused by impurities, cell lysis, gas formation, chemical reactions, agitation or mixing, and high pressure; this can harm the product by creating high levels of organic compounds, proteins, and starches, which generate foam. Applied Material Solutions (AMS) provides products and solutions to prevent foam and air entrainment in food processing and agribusiness facilities. Our products include:

  • Polyether-based defoamers
  • Non-silicone antifoams
  • Water-based defoamers
  • Silicone antifoams
  • Powdered antifoams

We will explore why foam control is essential in fermentation processes, how you can control foam formation during fermentation, and the types of defoamers and antifoam products available to address your fermentation needs.

The Importance of Foam Control in Fermentation

Minimizing foam is critical to fermentation processes, especially those that are highly loaded and large in scale. Excessive foam can wet the filters or contaminate the product. Some of the product can also be siphoned from the fermenter as foam builds. The primary problems with foaming are overflow, inefficiency, and potentially dangerous use of the reactor.

Foaming often results from proteins and/or starches stabilizing liquid foam films. Some foam reduction methods may result in a reduction of mass transfer, so the methods used should be carefully evaluated.

How to Control Foaming in Fermentation

During the fermentation process, foam can be controlled through the addition of a chemical antifoam or defoamer. To prevent foam from forming in the first place, chemical antifoams are introduced to the broth before fermentation, which reduces the need to dose the broth during the fermentation process. Continuous foam control may be necessary for some fermentations, in which case a defoamer is intermittently applied as foam forms. Chemical defoamers also prevent foam formation during sterilization and cooling processes.

In applications where foaming should be avoided completely, chemical antifoams are recommended. This is especially important because the foam may contain substances that react with increased oxygen levels.

Mechanical defoaming is an alternative to chemical defoaming. The most effective mechanical defoamers have rotating elements to knock down generated foam. There are also mechanical solutions that remove and recycle foam using jets or suction by forcing air onto the surface of the foam. Generally, a mechanical foam control solution is typically more expensive and can be more complicated to maintain than chemical foam control.

Types of Defoamers for Fermentation

The primary defoamers used in fermentation are silicone and polyether defoamers. While both types of chemical defoamers are used in fermentation, they offer different characteristics.

Polyether-Based Defoamers

Containing oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen elements, polyether-based defoamers are created from polymerization reactions between propylene oxide and/or ethylene oxide under pressure. Added during fermentation, polyether-based defoamers act quickly and offer long-term, effective antifoam performance. The product continues to perform after high-temperature sterilization processes, and when properly selected should have no effect on the fermentation broth, microorganisms or the final product.

Silicone Antifoams

Silicone antifoams are typically made of dimethyl silicone oil, hydrophobic silica, water, thickener, and emulsifiers. They mostly contain the elements carbon, silicon, oxygen, and hydrogen. At normal temperatures, silicone antifoams offer fast foam knock down and good foam suppression. Silicone antifoams are often an economical option but may or may not offer the same level of performance as polyether-based defoamers.

When using silicone antifoams in fermentation, it is vital to evaluate the antifoam before using it in production. Silicone antifoams contain silicone and silica, which may foul the filtration membranes or processing equipment and remain in the fermented product after use.

Fermentation Defoamers From Applied Material Solutions

Foam control is critical to fermentation, preventing system damage and product contamination. As a provider of food-grade fermentation antifoams and defoamers, Applied Material Solutions is poised to assist with your foam control needs. Please see our foam control solutions webpage for more information. Contact us to speak with a member of our team about our foam control solutions for food processing and agribusinesses.

Understanding the Chemistry of Antifoams and Defoamers

Both antifoams and defoamers are used for foam control. Given their similarities in function, they often have similar chemistries. The main difference between them is the timing of application. In order to prevent it, antifoams are designed to be applied before the formation of foam, while defoamers are designed to be applied after foam formation in order to destroy it. Below, we provide a closer look at antifoam and defoamer chemistry.

The Chemistry of Antifoams

Antifoams are typically inert chemicals. They consist of a liquid component (e.g., nonionic surfactant, mineral oil, and/or silicone) and a hydrophobic solid (e.g., wax, fatty acid/alcohol, and/or hydrophobic silica). They must be sufficiently incompatible such that they are insoluble with the medium. Otherwise, they will not mitigate foam as effectively. However, they must also be sufficiently compatible such that they do not cause deposition problems. 

There are many types of antifoams available, and they are often lumped into two broad categories:

  • Silicone Antifoams. Silicone antifoams are normally composed of hydrophobized silica that is finely dispersed within a silicone fluid. The resulting compound is then stabilized into a water-based or oil-based emulsion. These antifoams are highly effective due to their general chemical inertness, potency even in low concentrations, and ability to spread over a foam film. If needed, they can be combined with other hydrophobic solids and liquids to improve their defoaming properties.
  • Non-Silicone Antifoams. Non-silicone antifoams generally contain surfactants, which enhance their dispersal capabilities and effectiveness in foaming water. They can be water-based, oil-based, or surfactant-based. These antifoams can be used for a wide range of industries. Compared to silicone antifoams, they are sometimes more readily biodegradable and less prone to causing certain problems such as discoloration, spotting, and negative membrane effects.

The Chemistry of Defoamers

Defoamers share many of the same chemical characteristics as antifoams. For example, they are typically made of a liquid component and a hydrophobic solid, although some are strictly liquid. Additionally, they are formulated for a balance between solubility and insolubility with the medium that ensures effective foam control performance. 

These foam control products come in many variations, of which one type is oil-based defoamers. Oil-based defoamers are typically of the “non-silicone” variety, but their composition can be highly variable and include chemical species ranging from hydrophobic solids to esters to silicones. They offer high efficacy at lower dosages, making them a preferred choice for foam knockdown in many applications. 

How Do I Select the Most Effective Antifoam/Defoamer for My Application?

The type of foam generated and the timing of its production vary from process to process. That’s why it is important to choose a foam control solution with a chemistry that is appropriate for your specific application. It is advisable to test a primary and a secondary foam control product. If you want more information on how to select an effective foam control solution or if you would like samples to evaluate, Applied Material Solutions (AMS) is here to help. We have extensive experience producing a broad selection of foam control compounds for use in a wide range of industries and applications. One of the eBooks we’ve put together, “Must-Ask Questions When Choosing a Foam Control Agent,” has many of the answers to any questions you may have about the selection process. Alternatively, you can contact us today.

An Introduction to Silicone Emulsions

What Are Silicone Emulsions?

Silicone emulsions are non-toxic and heat-stable compounds that are produced by dispersing silicone oil in a liquid, typically water. This process is accomplished with the introduction of a surfactant. The resulting products exhibit a number of physical characteristics that make them highly beneficial for certain applications. For example, they can be antistatic, non-stick, and/or water-repellant. The properties of a silicone emulsion depend on its formulation; it can come in various pH levels, active levels, and more, all of which influence how it will perform within an application. 

Advantages of Silicone Emulsions

There are many advantages to using silicone emulsions over other compound solutions. Below, we highlight some of the key benefits. 

  • They are easy to use and clean. These compounds are available in numerous viscosities and concentrations, enabling them to be used in a variety of applications. Additionally, if needed, they can be diluted with water or cleaned from surfaces with soap and water.
  • They are environmentally friendly. These compounds have less of a negative impact on the environment than solvent-based systems, and tend to be benign and unreactive. Additionally, if it can be recovered, the silicone material can be recycled. 
  • They are cost-effective. These compounds can protect objects from abrasion, friction, molding and water, enabling them to extend the life of devices and systems. For this reason, they are often used by manufacturing companies to lower repair or replacement costs.
  • They are food-safe. These compounds normally have water as their primary volatile compound, which makes them ideal for use in or on products intended for contact with food and beverages. They are formulated to minimize the risk of imparting unwanted flavors or impacting quality. 
  • They are able to improve equipment efficiency. These compounds can be used on inline equipment, often eliminating the need for offline coating. Additionally, they can improve the efficiency of photovoltaic devices (e.g., solar panels). 

Applications of Silicone Emulsions

Due to their many beneficial properties, silicone emulsions find use in a variety of industrial and commercial applications. For example:

  • In plastic and rubber materials, they are used as release agents and lubricants. 
  • In food trays and serving dishes, they are used as release agents and antistats. 
  • In car polishes and household cleaners, they are used to improve gloss, and impart protective properties and spreadability.
  • In textile finishing operations, they are used to enhance the feed, water repellency, and anti-wrinkling properties of products. 
  • In clay, perlite, vermiculite, and other building materials, they are used to increase water repellency and protect against dampness.
  • In printing and papermaking operations, they are used as lubricants and antistatic agents.
  • In cosmetics and body care products, they are used to improve untangling properties. 

Learn More About Silicone Emulsions From AMS

Want additional information on silicone emulsions? Ask the experts at Applied Material Solutions! We’ve manufactured chemical compound solutions for various processing challenges, including silicone emulsion defoamers and antifoams, for over 45 years. Contact us today to learn more.

Industry Spotlight: Wet & Dry Corn Milling for Fuel Ethanol Production

Foam can cause problems in many industrial processes. That’s why industry professionals utilize antifoams and defoamers to mitigate foam production and accumulation. In the renewable fuel sector, these products are commonly utilized in ethanol production operations since one of the ways the product is created is the corn milling process, which is susceptible to foam-related issues. 

The Importance of Antifoams and Defoamers for Fuel Ethanol Production by Mill Type

Foam control solutions play a critical role in many fuel ethanol production operations. The corn milling process—i.e., the process used to make fuel ethanol—can be divided into two primary methods: wet milling and dry milling. Both can experience issues with foam.

  • During wet milling operations, the corn is soaked in a slurry, ground, and separated. The separation process can lead to the generation of foam, which can impact efficiency and product yield. Foam can also hinder the fermentation stage. The formation of bubbles during fermentation takes up volume in the vessel used for the ethanol, and could even cause displacement and product loss. During the distillation phase, any remaining foam bubbles can negatively affect process efficiency. For these reasons, antifoams and defoamers are regularly used for wet milling operations.Corn Oil Demulsifiers
  • During dry milling operations, foam control products are typically utilized during clean-in-place (CIP) processes. Other key uses include the yeast propagation phase and during water treatment. 

Considerations for Choosing the Right Antifoam or Defoamer

There are many antifoams and defoamers available for addressing foam and entrained air within the fuel ethanol industry. While this broad selection makes it possible for a plant owner or manager to choose a solution tailored to their unique needs, it can also make it difficult to find the right product. Below, we highlight some of the questions you should ask yourself when evaluating your foam control options to ensure the one you select meets your requirements and restrictions.

  • What regulatory specifications/standards—if any—should the product meet? (e.g., food-grade/feed-grade/kosher)
  • Will this product compromise the process? (e.g., the viability of yeast during the fermentation process)
  • Can this product cause deposit issues?
  • Is this product cost-effective? 

Antifoams and Defoamers From Applied Material Solutions

Unwanted foam can cause a variety of problems during fuel ethanol production operations. If you’re experiencing foam-related issues in your wet or dry corn milling processes, Applied Material Solutions is here to help. We manufacture a range of antifoams and defoamers for the renewable fuel industry. We can customize your product solution to meet the specific needs of your plant. 

By utilizing our foam control additives, you can benefit from: 

  • Industry-proven chemistries that do not harm yeast cell viability
  • Reduced chemical costs
  • Increased profits
  • Improved ethanol yields
  • Enhanced on-time delivery, consistency and reliability

For additional information about our foam control products or assistance identifying the right antifoam or defoamer for your wet/dry milling process, contact us today.

Antifoams for Ethanol cover photo

Antifoams for Ethanol Production

Corn Oil Separation Aids cover photo

Corn Oil Separation Aids




Industry Spotlight: Fermentation

Industrial fermentation can generate significant quantities of foam due to the generation of carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Many industries turn to antifoam and defoaming products to prevent or combat unwanted foam which may impede production. 

At Applied Material Solutions (AMS), we manufacture safe and effective defoamers for fermentation, including food-grade and kosher products. Keep reading to learn more about how fermentation processes use antifoams and defoamers, as well as the different types of defoaming products available.

Fermentation Antifoam and Defoamers by Industry beer

Numerous industries, such as pharmaceutical manufacturing, commercial yeast, and alcoholic beverage production, rely on foam control solutions during their fermentation processes. At AMS, we work closely with multiple industries, some examples of which include:

Food Processing and Agribusiness 

The food industry requires antifoam and defoaming tools to control foam in a myriad of fermentation processes. Popular examples include amino acid production, enzymes, ethanol, and yeast. These products can help control foam for a more consistent product from batch to batch. They reduce or entirely eliminate the foam that would otherwise slow production or generate waste. 

Foam accumulates when creating or agitating organic compounds during fermentation. Defoamers control foam formation caused by metabolic and chemical reactions, and when compounds are being mixed or pressurized. 

Fuel Ethanol

Wet milling operations mix solids into a liquid through attrition, crushing, shearing, and other mechanical forces. These operations can churn these organic compounds once a slurry is made and generate foam. 

Wet milling is used to process grain during ethanol production. The grain is introduced to a slurry and the resulting mixture is then steeped, ground, and separated. Foam hinders the ability to separate the grain for processing. It can also interfere with distillation and fermentation further along in the process. By incorporating antifoams into the wet milling operations, ethanol producers can mitigate this variable and increase processing speeds.

Defoamers allow manufacturers to more easily split grains into proteins for animal feed, as well as starches that can be fermented into ethanol products. While dry-milling makes up the majority of ethanol production in the United States, defoamers make wet milling a viable alternative. Suppliers can tailor antifoams to the process, plants and/or grains involved. Adding antifoam agents to ethanol production allows for:

  • Fewer total chemical demands and costs
  • A consistent product across batches
  • Better overall production performance

At Applied Material Solutions, our team carefully designs defoamers and antifoams for different plant needs and ingredients to ensure they won’t damage cell viability. AMS also produces a wide range of food-grade antifoam and defoaming agents.

Considerations For Choosing a Fermentation Defoamer

When selecting a defoamer for your fermentation application, there are numerous factors to consider. Some of these include:

  • Regulatory considerations. When selecting a defoamer, manufacturers must often ensure that they choose a solution that is safe for animal feed and direct food contact to comply with regulations from bodies such as the FDA and USDA. Defoamers also must comply with any relevant environmental regulations from the EPA and other government agencies.  
  • Safety. The health and viability of your microorganisms is paramount, so it’s important to select a defoamer that won’t harm the specific fungi and bacteria used in your operation. Choosing a non-toxic defoamer also helps to ensure yields and profitability won’t be negatively impacted. 
  • Autoclaving tolerance. During the autoclaving process used to sterilize fermentation additives, antifoams may undergo phase separation or become destabilized. This can lead to inconsistent defoaming performance. Select a stable and efficacious antifoam that will minimize the likelihood of this happening.
  • Membrane compatibility. Using the appropriate defoamer within any separation technology is essential to avoid fouling the membrane, which can be costly and have an impact on product yield. AMS will assist you with a defoamer recommendation that is least likely to foul your membrane.

Fermentation Defoamers From Applied Material Solutions

Many industries rely on fermentation processes as part of their manufacturing process. Unwanted foam produced during fermentation can slow production rates or ruin products if left unchecked. Manufacturers can control those fermentation processes with antifoams and defoamers. For assistance in identifying the right antifoam or defoamer for your fermentation process, please contact us today.


Key Considerations for Selecting an Antifoam/Defoamer

Foam is created when gas is introduced and trapped within a solution that contains surfactants. It can consist of large bubbles at the surface of the solution (macrofoam) or small bubbles distributed throughout the solution (microfoam). In either case, it can cause issues within the products and equipment in which it is formed, such as lower product quality, inconsistent product density, and machine damage.

Antifoam and defoaming agents are key to preventing and controlling foam and avoiding the problems associated with it. Both compounds minimize or eliminate foam formation. However, they achieve this goal in different ways; antifoams are surfactants that prevent foam from forming in the first place, while defoamers are surfactants that control existing foam levels by stopping the bubbles from stabilizing.

There are two things an antifoam or defoamer must have to work: an entry coefficient greater than zero and a spreading coefficient greater than zero. These qualities allow the compound to enter the interface between the air and lamella (i.e., the bubble wall) and then enter the bubble wall in a process known as “bridging the film”. As it spreads, the bubble wall thins and, eventually, ruptures.

Beyond the above properties, an antifoam or defoamer can vary in many ways. For example, it can have a silicone or non-silicone composition, be aqueous or non-aqueous, and come in liquid or powder form. This broad selection enables industry professionals to choose a foam control product that meets their exact application requirements. However, it can make it challenging to identify which one best suits their needs. Below, we cover the key factors to keep in mind when selecting an antifoam or defoaming agent.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Antifoam/Defoamer

In aqueous environments, the right antifoam or defoamer product can minimize or eliminate issues associated with foam. Some of the questions you should answer before choosing an antifoam or defoamer for a given application include:

  • Is the antifoam/defoamer compatible with the process? Antifoams and defoamers are generally inert chemicals consisting of a liquid (e.g., silicone, mineral oils, or hydrophobic surfactants) and a hydrophobic solid (e.g., fatty acids, fatty alcohols, silica, or wax). Ultimately, the antifoam/defoamer you select should have a balance of compatibility and incompatibility. It should be compatible enough that it effectively disperses in the foaming medium. Otherwise, it may cause deposition issues. However, it should be insoluble to the point that it remains in fine droplet form within the solution.
  • Will the antifoam/defoamer cause deposit issues? The antifoam/defoamer should be sufficiently compatible within the solution so as to not create deposits.
  • Will the antifoam/defoamer negatively affect the catalyst I am using? The antifoam/defoamer should not negatively impact any catalysts used in the process.
  • Will the antifoam/defoamer plug up any membranes or filters? The antifoam/defoamer should not carry the potential for plugging/clogging filters and membranes that can compromise the product or process.
  • Is the antifoam/defoamer composition effective for my application? Antifoams and defoamer come in many varieties. The one you choose should suit your individual requirements and restrictions.
  • Will the antifoam/defoamer have any negative effects on downstream conditions? The antifoam/defoamer should not cause any adverse downstream effects.

The answers to these questions must be weighed appropriately. In some cases, you must compromise on a solution.

Contact the Antifoam and Defoamer Experts at AMS Today

If you’re looking for an experienced foam control product supplier, turn to the experts at AMS! Equipped with extensive experience providing foam control solutions for a wide range of industries and applications and a broad selection of antifoam and defoamer products, we have what it takes to help you achieve your foam control goals. For additional information on our products and services or assistance choosing a foam control product, contact us today.

Key Considerations for Selecting an Antifoam Defoamer Infographic