Just the Right Amount of Foam

Less Labor-Intensive

Silicone defoamers are thoroughly tested at WACKER’s laboratory in Burghausen: foam collapse is recorded and analyzed photoelectronically.

The result is amazing: instead of being rinsed three to four times, the wash now only needs one or two rinse cycles, thereby reducing water consumption by 50%. This can save up to 20 liters of water per wash load. “That allows us to find a middle ground between the perception of cleanliness and behavior that protects the environment,” explains Amit Paul, who developed the product for India-based Wacker Metroark Chemicals, a WACKER joint venture headquartered in Kolkata.

Silicones Combat Foam


Silicone defoamers are used in a diverse range of industrial applications such as in the household and personal-care sectors, pulp and textile manufacturing, agrochemicals, the life sciences, paints, surface coatings and printing inks, as well as in adhesives and construction materials, not to mention industrial and municipal wastewater treatment. The pharmaceutical industry also uses foam-control agents, for instance in the manufacture of drugs or as active ingredients (e.g. in antiflatulents). Some 40% of all silicone defoamers are sold in the Americas, followed by Europe, including the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific. WACKER has an extensive portfolio of defoamers to suit a wide variety of industrial applications. For example, PULPSIL® foam-control agents are tailored to the pulp industry. SILFAR® defoamers are especially pure and have no known harmful effects, and are thus ideal for the pharmaceutical industry and medical applications.

Thanks to their good wetting properties, silicones are highly effective foam-control agents. Due to their extremely low surface tension – even lower than that of a surfactant molecule – they spread out at the interface between the liquid and air, thereby displacing the foam-stabilizing surfactant molecules. This results in a local weakening of the foam lamella – a chemist would call it a stabilizing, surfactant-containing liquid layer – which ultimately causes the lamella to rupture and the foam to collapse. SILFOAM® SD 9019 is chemically stable and can be combined with many non-silicone-based defoamers. Thanks to their high thermal stability, they are ideal for critical temperature profiles.

Obtaining drinking water from a safe source requires more than a 30 minute round trip for 263 million people. Source: WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP) 2017

“Delayed defoamer technology is a true advancement in countries where people primarily wash by hand and water is a scare resource,” emphasizes Pohmer. It makes hand washes easier and, at the same time, directly helps to conserve water, an increasingly important resource. Delayed defoamer hand-laundry detergents have been on the market in Africa since 2016 and are currently being rolled out successively in certain Asian countries.