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Understanding surfactants and new methods of dispersing

April 29, 2013

Processing techniques are always under scrutiny. Chemists, lab technicians and engineers are always trying to find ways of improving the mixing process. The goal is to find the most time efficient way of completing the job while also keeping processing costs to a minimum.

The art of mixing surfactants is a precise science. The final product must be usable for the purpose for which it is designed. This requires a perfect balance of absorption and particle size; proper mixing is the key to having a surfactant which is functional. These mixing practices are widely used for petroleum products as well as by pharmaceutical and food industries. Much experimenting is necessary to achieve just the right effect; reaching the perfect combination of stability and particle size so that the product has the desired consistency.

In general, stability and droplet size are proportional. This is achieved only after many trials and tests have been performed. It takes dedication and hard work to run batch after batch through various types of mixers to find the right sample. Different rotator tips and speeds are used as well as varying water pressures to find the right combination for particle size distributions.

Consistent results were found by using high shear mixers. Basically they operate by creating hydraulic and mechanical shear but using continuous motion to pull product components into the rotor while using circular motion to move them out through the stator.

The ZX series in line homogenizer works by producing high shear by turning the rotor at a very high tip speed while mixing the product in at a constant rate of speed. The rotor using the same tip speed but is more forceful and intense with its production of shear. This generator uses parallel grooves which motivates the product through the vessel using high velocity pumps.

Mixer choice is important because it allows for fine tuning the final output. There are many advantages to being able to decrease surfactants without compromising the performance of the final product or the quality. This helps with several key issues such as biodegradability, foaming problems and cost of manufacturing. This is extremely important when making medical or personal products. Products must be mixed so that they do not cause irritation or other discomforts on the skin.

There are several different kinds of mixers. Testing various methods is the only way to be sure which one will work best. Changing small features can drastically alter the final product. Controlled experimentation is the only way to find out which works best for the lab’s purposes.

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