Preventing or controlling foam is essential when working with aqueous solutions or adhesives, as it could affect the appearance of the product when dried, the coating weight, and the flow speed of the liquid, among other factors. Both antifoams and defoamers attempt to mitigate the problems that foam can cause.
Difference Between Antifoam & Defoamers
While the end goal of both antifoams and defoamers is an absence of foam, the difference in the two products is the timing. Antifoams prevent the formation of foam, while defoamers control existing foam. Manufacturers may add antifoam to their formulas if they anticipate a tendency for foam to form during use. Converters may add defoamers if they incur issues with the formation of bubbles during their manufacturing process.
Pulp & Paper Processing
Kraft mills, sulfite mills, recycle mills and other pulping processes produce byproducts that cause foaming. Foam causes inefficient washing, increased bleaching cost, slower production rates, lower product quality, and maintenance issues.
Air entrapment and foaming are common in water treatment applications. Without the use of defoamer or antifoams, processes can be slowed or stopped when water is not allowed to pass through filtration systems.
Paints, Inks, Coatings & Adhesives
Mixing and grinding during the production or filling of paints, inks, coatings and adhesives create foam. Defoamers mitigate the impacts on production time and output as a result of the formation of bubbles.
Industrial Processed Water
In water treatment, both mechanical agitation and chemical reactions produce foam, which can inhibit the purification process. Both antifoams and defoamers reduce the formation and eliminate any instances of foam.
When rainfall filters through landfill waste, it creates leachate. The biochemical reactions from the filling and sticking process result in a tremendous amount of foam. The leachate cannot be emitted into water treatment channels without defoaming agents that allow the fluid to pass through membrane filters.
One of the ways that ethanol producers make the fuel is through the wet milling process. In wet milling, the grain is soaked in a slurry before being ground and separated. Both antifoams and defoamers are critical to the wet milling process. The formation of bubbles during fermentation takes up volume in the vessel used for the ethanol, and could even cause displacement and product loss.
Metalworking fluids cool and lubricate the metals during fabrication. Defoamers ensure that the fluids remain stable and effective.
The chemical industry is continuously innovating and creating sustainable products that use less essential resources, like energy and water, while complying with increased environmental and safety regulations. Antifoams and defoamers play an important role for chemical manufacturers. Defoamers and antifoams are used to control and regulate foam in many processes, including distillation, synthesis, and transfer and filtration, and designed to be efficient in high acid or alkaline environments.
Applied Material Solutions Antifoams & Defoamers
Choosing the right antifoam or defoamer requires insight into the most effective chemistry for the application. AMS can help address your requirements with one or more of our products, including:
We offer food-grade, tech-grade and agricultural antifoams in water-based, non-aqueous and specialty forms with a variety of viscosities from ready to use to super-concentrated.
Water-based antifoam emulsions
Non-aqueous silicone antifoam compounds
Specialty silicone antifoams
There are a variety of products in this category that typically incorporate surfactants to boost efficacy and dispersibility within foaming water. They may take the form of water-based, surfactant-based, oil-based, polymers, or esters.
Powdered silicone antifoam compounds are used in an array of industries. They are valued for their fast, effective, lasting defoaming power and stability in small concentrations.
Food-Grade & Tech-Grade Defoamers
AMS offers both food-grade and tech-grade defoamers. These may take the form of silicone, non-silicone, or powdered antifoams.
Coco Fatty Acids
To learn more about our antifoams and defoamers, contact us today.