The Science of Defoaming: Theory, Experiment and Applications, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Science of Defoaming

Theory, Experiment and Applications, 1st Edition

By Peter R. Garrett

CRC Press

598 pages | 229 B/W Illus.

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In the 20 years since the publication of the author’s multi-contributor volume on defoaming, a vast amount of new work has been published and many new insights have been revealed. A cohesive, single-authored book, The Science of Defoaming: Theory, Experiment and Applications provides comprehensive coverage of the topic. It describes the mode of action of antifoams, presenting the relevant theory and the supporting experimental evidence. Beginning with an introductory chapter that discusses the intrinsic properties of foam, the book then describes experimental methods for measuring foam properties important for studying antifoam action and techniques used in establishing the mode of action of antifoams.

Since most commercially effective antifoams are oil based, a chapter is devoted to the entry and spreading behavior of oils and the role of thin film forces in determining that behavior. The book reviews the mode of action of antifoams, including theories of antifoam mechanisms and the role of bridging foam films by particles and oil drops. It also addresses issues related to the effect of antifoam concentration on foam formation by air entrainment and the process of deactivation of mixed oil–particle antifoams during dispersal and foam generation.

For applications where chemical antifoam use is unacceptable, the text examines mechanical means of defoaming, such as the use of rotary devices and ultrasound. The final chapters consider the application of defoaming in radically different contexts including waterborne latex paints and varnishes, machine washing of textiles, gas–oil separation in crude oil production, and cardiopulmonary bypass surgery. Focusing on the basic science of defoaming, this book presents a balanced view, which also addresses the challenges that may arise for these specific defoaming applications.

Table of Contents

Some General Properties of Foams


The Structure of Foams

Foam Films

Processes Accompanying Aging of Foam

Summarizing Remarks

Experimental Methods for Study of Foam and Antifoam Action


Measurement of Foam

Observations With Single Foam Films

Air–Water–Oil Pseudoemulsion Films

Spreading Behavior of Oils

Summarizing Remarks


Oils at Interfaces: Entry Coefficients, Spreading Coefficients, and Thin Film forces


Classical Entry and Spreading Coefficients

Generalized Entry Coefficients, Pseudoemulsion Films, and Thin Film forces

Mode of Rupture of Pseudoemulsion Films

Generalized Spreading Coefficients and Thin Film forces

Spreading Behavior of Typical Antifoam Oils at Aqueous Surfaces

Non-Equilibrium Effects due to Surfactant Transport

Summarizing Remarks


Mode of Action of Antifoams


Antifoam Effects due to Solubilized Oils

Effect on Foamability of Mesophase Precipitation in Aqueous Surfactant Solutions

Surface Tension Gradients and Theories of Antifoam Mechanism

Oil Bridges and Antifoam Mechanism

Antifoam Behavior of Emulsified Liquids

Inert Hydrophobic Particles and Capillary Theories of Antifoam Mechanism for Aqueous Systems

Mixtures of Hydrophobic Particles and Oils as Antifoams for Aqueous Systems

Summarizing Remarks


Appendix 4.1: Some Examples of Early Antifoam Patents Concerning Mixtures of Hydrophobic Particles and Oils

Effect of Antifoam Concentration on Volumes of Foam Generated by Air Entrainment


Statistical Theory of Antifoam Action

Summarizing Remarks

Appendix 5.1: Effect of Excluded Volume on Antifoam Concentration in A Film Exhibiting Reynolds Drainage


Deactivation of Mixed Oil–Particle Antifoams During Dispersal and Foam Generation in Aqueous Media


Deactivation of Antifoam Effect of Polydimethylsiloxane Oils Without Particles

Early Work With Hydrophobed Silica–Polydimethylsiloxane Antifoams

Deactivation of Hydrophobed Silica–Polydimethylsiloxane Antifoams By Disproportionation

Effect of Oil Viscosity on Deactivation of Hydrophobed Silica–Polydimethylsiloxane Antifoams

Deactivation in Other Types of Oil–Particle Antifoams

Theories of Foam Volume Growth in Presence of Deactivating Antifoam

Summarizing Remarks


Mechanical Methods for Defoaming


Defoaming Using Rotary Devices

Defoaming Using Ultrasound

Defoaming Using Packed Beds of Appropriate Wettability

Summarizing Remarks


Appendix 7.1: Summary of Empirical Studies of Mechanical Defoaming by Rotary Devices

Antifoams for Detergent Products


Powders for Machine Washing of Laundry

Liquids for Machine Washing of Laundry

Machine Dishwashing

General Hard-Surface Cleaning Products

Summarizing Remarks

Appendix 8.1: Examples of Patents Claiming Incorporation of Polysiloxane-Hydrophobed Silica Antifoams in Detergent Powders for Machine Washing of Textiles


Control of Foam in Waterborne Latex Paints and Varnishes


Foam and Antifoam Behaviour

Specific Issues Concerning Oil-Based Antifoams

Summarizing Remarks


Antifoams for Gas–Oil Separation in Crude Oil Production


Surface Activity at Gas–Hydrocarbon and Gas–Crude Oil interfaces

Causes of Foam formation in Gas–Crude Oil Systems

Use of Antifoams

Summarizing Remarks


Medical Applications of Defoaming


Use of Simethicone Antifoam in Treatment of Gastrointestinal Gas

Defoaming of Blood During Cardiopulmonary Bypass Surgery

Summarizing Remarks


About the Author

After working for Unilever Research for almost thirty years at Port Sunlight and for a short time at Bangalore, Peter Garrett retired, acquiring visiting professorships at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and briefly at Rice University, Houston, Texas. He has worked on various aspects of interfacial science in a career lasting 40 years. These included the equilibrium and dynamic adsorption behavior of surfactant solutions, solubilization in microemulsions, kinetics of surfactant dissolution and mesophase growth, and of course both the basic science of defoaming and its application especially in the detergents industry.

Professor Garrett is author or coauthor of more than 30 journal articles and is named as inventor on 14 patents, the majority of which concerned the application of antifoam technology. He is also editor of the book Defoaming, Theory and Applications published in 1993. A member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom in 1971.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Chemistry / Physical & Theoretical
SCIENCE / Chemistry / Industrial & Technical