Understanding defoamer technology requires both a technical aptitude and a general lesson on historical use of defoamers. The progress made in defoamer technology has a lot to do with industry demand, regulations regarding health and environment, and improving process conditions. In today’s world, defoamers are viewed as a commodity chemical, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. There is no ‘one size fits all’ defoamer. The progress in defoamer technology has stalled, with limited funding to R&D centers at leading suppliers. Underfunded defoamer development programs only allows for a stock catalog of products which limits the maximum production potential that end users could capitalize from. Aisling has over 24 years of research, development, and production of unique and efficient defoamer technology.

Defoamer Function

A defoamer has a primary function of destroying surface foam. An antifoam has a primary function of preventing foam from forming. A deaerator has a primary function of removing bubbles which are entrained in a solution and bringing them to the surface. In the industry, we refer to all these types of products collectively as ‘defoamer’. They all work under similar chemical driving forces. A defoamer product must be insoluble in the foaming medium, spread rapidly over the surface of the bubble, form bridges and lenses in the bubble, and destroy the foam. Every foam is different, and may be caused by different variables. Foam in general is the product of a surfactant which is exposed to a shear force that traps air in the solution. The surfactant, having properties of both air (hydrophobic) and the solution (normally hydrophilic), traps bubbles in a stable position. The chemical structure of a surfactant can be imagined like the following:

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