Making foams, in other words introducing gas in a solid or liquid, is needed in industries like construction, composites, home care and personal care. Solid foam is a clever way to produce lightweight structures and insulation materials, whereas many personal care and detergent formulations are required to form a liquid foam. To produce solid foams, you need a blowing agent which introduces gas bubbles in the solid and a solid (often a polymer) that hardens around them. Liquid foams are mainly created by using surfactants and mixing air in. Earlier on this blog, we have explained how microfibrillated cellulose can be used for creating bubble-free gel coats. Could it also help forming intentional foam structures?
In my previous blog post, I covered the characteristics of microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) and fumed silica as raw materials used for industrial purposes. I focused on how MFC provides a viable alternative to fumed silica in many applications since they both have large surface areas with similar surface active groups. However, the physical network properties of the two materials differ and may lead to new and exciting discoveries in the end products.
Microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) and fumed silica are both used for controlling the rheology of liquid systems, such as thixotropy and stability, and may be used within the same field of applications giving similar properties. However, there are also profound differences between the two. For example, where MFC is a natural product derived from cellulose-based raw materials, the native hydrophilic fumed silica is an amorphous, colloidal silicon dioxide prepared by a flame hydrolysis process. So why can two such, at first glance, different products be used in similar applications? In this blog post, I will dig more into detail about the two multifunctional additives, and discuss how their similarities and differences may affect application properties.
Concrete products are a complex mixture of chemicals, fines, and heavy particles. It's always challenging to control the stability, flow and strength of it. Many admixtures have been created to overcome these challenges, often containing synthetically derived performance additives.