Foam and bubbles are often expected and sometimes pleasant additions to our daily lives. Daily processes in our lives like taking a shower, drinking a carbonated beverage, and shaving often involve foam and bubbles. Just imagine drinking an ice cold coke with no carbonation or taking a shower or bath with no bubbles. Neither would be very enjoyable and in the case of the soap not seem to be doing its job. But when it comes to wastewater treatment, foam can be a major challenge and has caused many a headache in efforts to get it out of the way. Due to the fact that every manufacturing or processing plant has different components in its wastewater, all foam in wastewater is not identical.

There are many factors that contribute to developing foam during industrial processing or in the wastewater treatment process. In fact, developing foam in industrial processes is very common, especially in the production of adhesives, textiles, inks, paints, chemicals and other products. Foam also often develops in many food processing and municipal wastewater treatment applications as well. The development of foam can create many problems not only in production, but particularly in the wastewater treatment process. It becomes very difficult to accurately measure the parameters of the wastewater as the foam can cause measuring devices to give false readings on such parameters like volume, viscosity, etc.

Why does foam develop? Well there are multiple factors that must be considered, but it all comes down to the fact that something is causing the surface tension of the liquid to be high, thus forming bubbles (trapped air/gas). That something, is dissolved molecules of different kinds that become agitated in the processing. In simple terms, the surface tension needs to be reduced, thus “popping” or preventing bubbles. This is the job of the defoamer or anti-foaming agent. To determine the proper defoamer needed for a particular process, many factors must be considered. Contact Operators Unlimited to help you in determining a solution for your foaming issues or to provide the defoamer or anti-foaming agent you need in your pretreatment process.