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Tag Archive: foam control

  1. Key Considerations for Selecting an Antifoam/Defoamer

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    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

  2. Don’t Passover Our Antifoams

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    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.

  3. What to Look for in a Foam Control Supplier

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    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.

  4. How Do Antifoaming Agents Work

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    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?

    Foam

    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

    Where:

    • 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.

    Foam

    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.

  5. What Is a Defoamer?

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

    What Is a Defoamer? How Does It Work?

    Defoamers are one of two categories of foam control agents, the other category being antifoams. The chemistry of defoamers and antifoams are often similar. The main difference is the intended use: defoamers are used to control existing foam and antifoams are used to prevent the formation of foam.

    Typically, defoamers are inert chemicals. Defoamers are comprised of a liquid, such as mineral oil or silicone, and a hydrophobic solid, such as hydrophobic silica, ethylene-bis-stearamide, fatty acid, and/or fatty alcohol. An effective defoamer must be insoluble in the medium it is defoaming.

    Two things are necessary for a defoamer to work: (1) an Entry Coefficient greater than zero, and (2) a Spreading Coefficient greater than zero. These are expressed in the simple algebraic expressions below:

    • E = 𝑦w/a+𝑦w/o-𝑦o/a
    • S = 𝑦w/a-𝑦w/o-𝑦o/a

    Where:

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

    The defoamer enters the interface between the air and the lamella, the bubble wall. Once the defoamer has entered the lamella, a lens is formed by the defoamer 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. It is important to note the bubble wall is bridged by the defoamer droplet. This is called “bridging of the film.” As the defoamer spreads, the bubble wall is thinned.

    Defoamer Benefits

    Defoamers are necessary in many industries because of the issues created by foam. Stable foam makes it harder for a fluid system to function as intended and causes product loss and potentially unsafe conditions in a facility. Other issues caused by foam include:

    • Variations in density that make it difficult to generate consistent package weights
    • Direct damage to equipment, resulting in the need for repairs and downtime
    • Interference with certain separation or coating processes, diminishing the quality of the product
    • Pump cavitation

    The defoamer type varies depending on the application and the materials used to make the defoamer. Defoamers can be mineral oil based, silicone based, glycol based, and polyol based. Once the appropriate tests are done to determine which type of defoamer best suits the needs of a given application, foam will no longer impede production.

    Defoamer Applications

    Many industrial processes have turned to defoamers to solve their problems. These foam control products are used in industries such as:

    • Food Processing and Agribusiness. Fermentations, fruit and vegetable washing and processing, and meat and poultry processing all use defoamer to fight foam caused by organic compounds present in these facilities.
    • Water treatment. Defoamers are used in multiple water treatment applications to remove air or waterborne foam.
    • Pulp & paper. Defoamer aids in eliminating foam caused by the chemical processes involved in pulp and paper production.
    • Paint & coatings. Defoamer eliminates foam caused by mixing, grinding, and chemical reactions involved in producing paint and coatings. 
    • Chemical manufacture and cleaning compounds. Defoamer is used regularly in the chemical and cleaning compound manufacturing processes to remove foam.

    Applied Material Solutions’ Defoaming Agent

    Applied Material Solutions specializes in effective foam control technologies tailored specifically to fit your process. Our antifoams and defoamers are created with individual industrial applications in mind, taking into account the unique conditions and contaminants present in each. To learn more about our comprehensive foam control plans, read our ebook or contact us today.

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