Foam arises in several industrial processes by various ways. Keep in consideration, the industrial foam can be produced biologically, during wastewater cleanup, as well as while cleaning or preparation of the starchy vegetables. Foam is considered as an essential part of the production process as well as an unwanted side effect. Along with this, effective foam control is crucial in many fields such as in biopharmaceutical processing. In bioreactors, the foam is used for producing vaccines, steroids, antibiotics, and many other lifesaving drugs. Effective control is necessary because excessive foam buildup is responsible to batch failure. The costs may also run into thousands of dollars.

If we talk about the agriculture field, the products like sugar beets, potatoes and dairy products, the foam is significantly caused due to the presence of active substances such as sugars, fatty acids, and proteins. If the foam production is not controlled on time, it leads to the blockage of filters, overflow, as well as damage of pumps or other equipment’s. All these problems need expensive and time-taking cleanups.

How does foam form in industrial environments?

There is a great need to know, an industrial foam is an unstable and two-phase medium that consists the gas pockets in thin liquid films. There is a pile of bubbles. In order to produce a foamy layer, complete aeration is necessary in the liquid for reducing a surface tension. Along with this, the foam forms faster than it’s breakdown. The liquid drains by creating a density gradient that creates larger and lighter bubbles at the top and bottom of the surface. Jeep in consideration, the foam present at the top become thin in order to support the bubbles.

Why is it necessary to control foam?

You must know that foam is one of the major problems because it alters natural liquid flow in systems. Foam production is also responsible to the blockage process interactions like oxygen transfer from the air.

In order to prevent foam production in industrial processes, some antifoam additives like silicone oil are often used. Click here to know about the silicon control agents in the industries. However, the amount of additive used seems challenging to control because overdosing is very expensive and counterproductive.

Now the question arises, how this additive works? So, the additives reduce the overall surface tension of the liquid films in the foam that lead them to rapidly break down or dissipate. Along with this, the additives also have some unwanted side effects like reducing the mass gas transfer rates and contaminating the end product. For this purpose, it is crucial that excess use is avoided.

Most common methods for controlling foam

In several processes where foam is kept at bay, it seems very common for having a constant additive feed. As a proper method of foam prevention, it assumes, the overall process always produce foam, even when it doesn’t. The process is not automated and additive is added manually when the foam becomes an issue.

However, it significantly relies on someone noticing the real issue as well as keeping the tabs on it till it is resolved. Human nature is, there is a tendency of overdose and pumps turned on are left on keep in consideration that, this strategy is implemented manually. In this way, it’s clear that the cost of de-foaming additives makes the method an expensive solution in terms of the foaming issues.

For the enlightened when implementation automatic dosing systems detect the foam, the cost savings is large. Probes are available that can be easily retrofitted in order to provide the feedback of foam condition.

However, a lot of companies are significantly adopting this easy as well as effective approach to mitigate foaming issues. From switches to systems along with built-in controllers. These controllers operate antifoam additive pumps directly and also open the vacuum breaker valves in order to break down foam as it forms.

You must keep in mind that, an industrial foam is responsible to create some expensive and time-consuming problems. Along with the cost of the additives, it also leads to potential product contamination, as well as environmental pollution, and loss of products.