Tag Archive: Antifoams

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

    Comments Off on 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




  2. Industry Spotlight: Fermentation

    Comments Off on 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.


  3. Don’t Passover Our Antifoams

    Comments Off on Don’t Passover Our Antifoams

    PassoverMany types of foods and ingredients foam during the production process. If foaming is permitted, it can alter the product’s appearance, manufacturing time, quality or performance. Food-grade antifoams and defoamers are used to prevent, control, remove or mitigate foam to ensure high-quality, consistent production.

    Not only do these antifoams have to meet food safety regulations to ensure they’re safe for consumption, but they must also be certified kosher if they’re going to be used in kosher food products. This is especially important for Passover-certified products.

    Meeting Kosher Requirements in Chemical Manufacturing

    Some Jewish people follow precise Biblical laws regarding what they eat. These kosher guidelines are applied to the food itself, the materials and other food items that make contact with the food, and how the food is processed or prepared. There are three categories of kosher food:

    • Dairy: Dairy products must come from a kosher animal, be processed on kosher equipment, and include only kosher ingredients. It cannot be consumed with meat products or produced on equipment that processes meat.
    • Meat: Only meat from kosher animals (those that chew their cuds and have split hooves, such as cows, sheep, and goats, as well as certain domesticated fowl) can be eaten, as long as they are slaughtered and prepared in a kosher environment according to kosher guidelines. It cannot be consumed with dairy or processed on the same equipment.
    • Pareve: These are neutral foods, like fruit and vegetables, fish, eggs, coffee, and more, that can be eaten with meat or dairy. Pareve foods cannot be processed on equipment that also processes meat or dairy, or it is no longer pareve. If it makes contact with dairy, for example, it would be classified as such, and you would not be able to eat that item with meat.

    Food-grade defoamers, antifoams, and treated silicas are usually considered pareve, which allows them to be included in kosher food products.

    Why Kosher?

    Even though only a small percentage of Jewish people in the United States follow kosher laws, it is a top label claim from a consumer standpoint. Even people who don’t follow Jewish dietary practices trust and like to see the kosher label, which is why more than 40% of packaged foods in the country are certified kosher. Many food producers benefit from using kosher materials and ingredients, and manufacturers that serve all aspects of the food industry—including packaging, additives, and more—strive to become kosher certified to meet consumer demand.

    Passover-Certified Antifoams

    Passover, the eight-day Jewish holiday honoring liberation from subjugation in Ancient Egypt, comes with specific dietary requirements that go beyond regular kosher guidelines. For those eight days, leavened products and any food made with spelt, oats, barley, wheat, and rye cannot be consumed—and that includes emulsifiers and additives derived from these grains.

    At AMS, we offer Passover-certified food-grade antifoams. In concert with stringent rabbinical supervision, AMS manufactures kosher products that can be consumed during Passover and throughout the rest of the year. These include:

    • TRANS-10PK: a water-based 10% silicone antifoam
    • TRANS-100PK: a non-aqueous 100% active silicone antifoam compound

    AMS manufactures silicone, non-silicone, and powdered food-grade antifoams and defoamers for use in fermentation, grain processing, fruit and vegetable washing, beverage manufacture, and more. Our kosher- and Passover-certified products meet the strict requirements mandated by Jewish dietary law, and we’re proud to offer these antifoams to our customers.

    Contact us to learn more about how our food-grade antifoams can be a solution to your foaming problem.

  4. What to Look for in a Foam Control Supplier

    Comments Off on What to Look for in a Foam Control Supplier

    Antifoams and defoamers are vital for the safe, efficient operation of processes in a multitude of industries. Finding an experienced foam control supplier can save a great deal of hassle, as they are able to provide expert solutions catered to the unique needs of your project. Here are a few of the key factors to take into consideration when choosing a foam control supplier.

    Industry Experience

    The best foam control supplier will have experience working in your industry, as this ensures that they can meet the needs of the project and provide accurate guidance. Foam control products serve several important roles in the following industries:

    • Chemical Manufacture. Used to stabilize chemical formulations and maintain production rates.
    • Ethanol Production. Aids the fermentation process.
    • Industrial Process Water. Increases efficiency and protects against hazardous conditions.
    • Paints, Inks, Coatings, and Adhesives. Speeds up production and prevents defects in paint and coating, craters in adhesives, and promotes even ink flow.
    • Landfill Leachate. Enables wastewater to be properly filtered or distilled.
    • Metalworking Fluids. Controlling foam allows for better lubrication and cooling.
    • Pulp and Paper Processing. Improved production flow and rates, allows for better chemical recovery, allows for better sheet formation and lower entrained air on paper machines.
    • Water Treatments. Prevent hazardous and slippery conditions, prevent cross-contamination and improve the overall treatment of water.
    • Food Processing. Prevents excessive foaming in processing, blending and bottling applications.

    Wide Variety of Antifoams & Defoamers

    Antifoams and defoamers are not “one size fits all” products. It is ideal to work with a supplier who provides a wide array of antifoam and defoamer options so that they can adapt to meet the needs of any type of application. A good selection will include the following:

    Silicone Antifoams

    This option will include products such as water-based antifoam emulsions, specialty silicone antifoams, and non-aqueous silicone antifoam compounds.

    Non-Silicone Antifoams

    There are a wide range of non-silicone antifoam options. These types of antifoams can be based on water, surfactants, organic solvents, or oils, including mineral and vegetable oils. Non-silicone antifoams may also include polymers and esters of various types.

    Powdered Defoamers

    Powdered defoamers are available in both food-grade and tech-grade options.

    Food-Grade & Tech-Grade Options

    Antifoams and defoamers intended for use in the food industry or in certain industrial settings must follow stringent regulations. Depending on the final application, these products may be organic, kosher and halal certified, or FDA and/or BfR compliant.

    Knowledge of Considerations for Proper Use

    In order to get the full benefit of antifoams and defoamers, the supplier must have an in-depth understanding of proper usage. Even something as simple as adding slightly too much antifoam may result in frustrating and time-consuming issues. Additionally, the supplier must be familiar with the regulations within a range of industries in order to ensure that they provide safe antifoams and defoamers appropriate to the desired application. 

    The following are some other key considerations a supplier should be aware of.

    Chemical and Processing Compatibility

    A reliable foam control supplier will be able to help choose the optimal antifoam or defoamer for your project, including providing samples for testing. This makes it possible to test for compatibility, as different products will vary in their performance depending on the specifics of the application.

    Proper Application

    The proper application technique will vary depending on the process. Foam control products will be most effective when they are added during a point that allows them to best disperse into the foaming liquid. In some cases it may be beneficial to add them at multiple points. Knowledgeable suppliers can provide guidance on when and how to add antifoams or defoamers for the best results.

    Acceptable Levels of Foam

    Not all processes require complete elimination of foam. Your supplier should be able to help you understand how much foam is acceptable within your process, so that you don’t spend more than you need to on foam control products.

    Partner with Applied Material Solutions

    Choosing the right foam control supplier ensures smooth operation for your business. At Applied Material Solutions, we are dedicated to providing high quality foam control solutions to resolve a range of processing challenges. To learn more about our capabilities, or to partner with us for your foam control needs, contact our experts today.

  5. How Do Antifoaming Agents Work

    Comments Off on How Do Antifoaming Agents Work

    For most fluid systems, foam control is a challenge to overcome. Pure liquids do not foam. In an aqueous system, contaminants such as surfactants, proteins, small solid particulates will form a stable foam in water. Foam will significantly reduce system efficiency where foam or entrained air is undesirable. To prevent foam problems and keep the process running smoothly, many applications will use an antifoam or defoamer.

    What Is an Antifoam?


    The chemistry of defoamers and antifoams are often similar, their main difference being timing of application. Defoamers are used to control existing foam while antifoams are used to prevent the formation of foam.

    Typically, antifoams and defoamers are inert chemicals. They are comprised of a liquid, such as mineral oil, silicone, and/or hydrophobic polyol, and a hydrophobic solid, such as hydrophobic silica, ethylene-bis-stearamide, fatty acid, and/or fatty alcohol. An effective antifoam must be insoluble in the medium it is defoaming or it will not work. However, the antifoam must not be so incompatible as to cause deposition issues.

    How Do Antifoaming Agents Work?

    Two things are necessary for an antifoam or defoamer to work:

    1. An Entry Coefficient greater than zero
    2. A Spreading Coefficient greater than zero

    These are expressed in the simple algebraic expressions below:

    1. E = 𝑦w/a +  𝑦w/o +  𝑦o/a
    2. S =  𝑦w/a –  𝑦w/o –  𝑦o/a


    • 𝑦w/a = surface tension of the foaming liquid
    • 𝑦w/o = interfacial tension between the defoamer and the foaming liquid
    • 𝑦o/a = surface tension of the defoamer

    The antifoam enters the interface between the air and the lamella, the bubble wall. The antifoam enters the bubble wall which is bridged by the antifoam droplet. This is called “bridging of the film,” and as the antifoam spreads the bubble wall is thinned. Once the antifoam has entered the lamella, a lens is formed by the antifoam on the lamella and begins to spread. The progressive spreading process reduces the thickness of the lens, the shape of which is altered by movements in the foam. Stresses occur until the lens breaks and the foam lamella ruptures. The resultant film is considerably less elastic than the surfactant film, which previously stabilized the lamella. This destabilization facilitates rupture of the lamella.


    Antifoam Benefits

    Foam can be highly damaging to fluid system functions and other industrial processes. It leads to operational impacts like:

    • Inconsistencies in product density
    • Damage to machinery or equipment used in production
    • Interference with separation or coating processes, diminishing product quality
    • Pump cavitation

    Foam can cause problems across the entire production workflow due to downtime needed for foam related issues. Antifoams work to minimize the operational consequences of foam by preventing foam before it becomes a problem, thus saving time and money. 

    Antifoam Applications

    Antifoams are used in a variety of applications.

    Food Processing and Agribusiness

    Food and agribusiness are susceptible to foam problems due to the levels of organic material processed, pressure, mixing, chemical reactions, and other process-related factors. Typical applications include:

    • Grain separation and processing
    • Fermentation
    • Fruit and vegetable washing and processing
    • Meat and poultry processing
    • Dairy products, beverages, brine systems, and more

    Water Treatment

    Foam control is critical in maintaining the safety and efficiency of municipal and industrial water treatment facilities. Antifoams prevent air or waterborne foam from developing during numerous steps of the treatment process. Antifoams are used in applications such as:

    • Aeration basins
    • Boiler water treatment
    • Clarifiers
    • Cooling towers
    • Equalization tanks
    • Evaporative water treatment
    • Final effluent
    • Landfill leachate
    • Manure pits
    • Membrane Bioreactors
    • Moving Bed Biofilm Reactors
    • Sequencing Batch Reactors

    Paint, Inks, Coatings, & Adhesives (PICA)

    Foam is formed due to the rigorous mixing, grinding, and chemical reactions involved in the production of PICA materials. Unmanaged foam leads to increased production times, reduced operational efficiency, and physical product defects like craters, fisheyes, and pinholes. To prevent these setbacks, antifoam is used in applications including:

    • Polymer/pigment grinding
    • Package filling
    • Shearing or spraying

    Chemical Manufacturing

    Antifoams and other foam control agents are used extensively throughout all stages of the chemical manufacturing process to regulate foam production. 

    Cleaning Compounds & Processes

    Foam control products play a critical role in the efficacy of both the production of cleaning products and the products themselves. They are applied in different capacities in manufacturing and use of:

    • Laundry detergents
    • Carpet cleaners
    • Personal care products
    • Soap and detergent

    Importance of Foam Control eBook

    Applied Material Solutions Antifoaming Agent

    Applied Material Solutions offers silicone and non-silicone antifoam solutions for a variety of applications. Our team is here to optimize the timing, location, and frequency of adding antifoam to your process. For more information on foam formation, associated problems, and preventative measures, download our eBook now. If you need help selecting an antifoam for your process or to see samples, contact us today.

  6. Top 4 Tips for Proper Antifoam Use

    Comments Off on Top 4 Tips for Proper Antifoam Use

    The formation of foam in aqueous processes and products—such as flume water for the transport of vegetables—can hinder or halt many industrial processing operations. Antifoams are chemicals which prevent the formation of foam, whereas defoamers control existing foam. The right antifoam must be applied properly to prevent foam formation and avoid additional problems in the production process.

    The following article provides Applied Material Solution’s top tips regarding the proper use of antifoam products.

    Survey the System

    Before applying an antifoam to your operation, it’s important to thoroughly survey system processes to determine where and when the antifoam would serve most effectively.

    • Is it an aqueous or non-aqueous system?
    • What is causing the foam?
      • Protein
      •  Starch
      • Soap formation
      • Is the foam solid stabilized?
    • Get water flow diagrams and process flow diagrams when available, or draw your own. You must understand the process and what is being made. You need to know:
      • Where the water came from.
      • Where the water is going.
    • For batch operations, what are the batch sizes? For continuous operations, what is the production rate?
    • What is the pH of the system? Take note of any pH changes throughout the production process.
    • Are there any chemical restrictions to the system?
    • What is the temperature of the system? Take note of any temperature changes throughout the production process.
    • What are the points of high and low tabulation?
    • Locate the points where air may be released.
    • Locate the points where air can be introduced.
    • Are there any filtration membranes used in the process?
    • Are there any regulatory requirements involved?

    Evaluate the Point of Addition

    antifoams & defoamers

    The place and time at which antifoams should be added depends on the specifics of the process. However, as a general rule, antifoams should be applied at the point that allows for maximum dispersion through the foaming liquid and often prior to the onset of foaming. To obtain the best results, some processes may necessitate the addition of antifoam at multiple points.

    Peristaltic and low-flow metering pumps are effective tools for automating the dispensing operation. Facility workers and/or vendors can set up pumps to add a predetermined concentration of antifoam/defoamer per minute, thus optimizing the performance of the foam control agent.

    Test the Antifoaming Agent in Advance

    Antifoams are available in multiple types of formulations of varying chemistries, each of which performs differently. When choosing a new antifoam product, it is important to understand the process and where foam poses an issue. It is critical, as previously stated, to survey the system.

    While the answers to the Survey questions can help ensure the appropriate selection of the antifoam, thorough testing is also essential for determining the antifoam’s compatibility and performance within a particular application. When testing the antifoaming agent, simulate the expected operating conditions, especially the temperature, by using a medium that is similar—if not identical—to the actual foaming medium. When possible, the actual foaming medium is best.

    Determine How Much Foam Is Okay

    While some processing operations can handle a small amount of foam, others require complete foam elimination. In either case, the end user must determine whether a potential antifoaming agent can successfully control foam without undermining the quality of the product or process. As long as operation continues as expected, some foam in the process would just be an appearance issue, yet present no real issue or problem to the production operation.

    Quality Antifoam Products from Applied Material Solutions

    Importance of Foam Control eBookAt Applied Material Solutions (AMS), we offer an extensive selection of antifoams and defoamers across a range of silicone and non-silicone formulations.

    Our silicone antifoam products include:

    • Non-aqueous silicone antifoam compounds
    • Specialty silicone antifoams
    • Water-based antifoam emulsions

    Our non-silicone antifoam products include:

    • Oil-based antifoams
    • Surfactant-based and polymer-based antifoams
    • Ester-based antifoams
    • Water-based antifoams

    AMS can assist customers with the selection of an optimal antifoam for their unique process. Once an antifoam solution is chosen, we can also help optimize the location, frequency, and antifoam dosage to ensure the best results.

    For more information about our antifoaming products and services, contact us today.


Back to Top


Have Any Questions?

Get In Touch With Our Team >>