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Nanoparticles as antifoam agents

Marlitt Quintero

Marlitt Quintero (previous student, left the group in 2008)


Oils and mixtures of oils with hydrophobic modified particles are widely used in various technologies and consumer products to control foaminess and foam stability [1]. In many formulations hydrophobically modified nanoparticles are dispersed in the oil phase to increase the antifoam efficiency but the primary mechanism responsible for this effect has remained unclear [2-4]. Their behaviour resembles a simple surfactant based on their interfacial properties but how this manifests itself in the bulk requires further study.



The aim of my project is to understand the basic interaction between the nanoparticles and phenyl-based siloxane polymers in the bulk phase, and to study how this interaction affects the antifoam efficiency. To achieve these we intend to use a combination of scattering techniques, NMR and other interfacial methods (e.g. surface tension, Langmuir-Blodget trough, AFM, etc).


I would like to thank Dow Corning for funding this project.

Sponsors: Dow Corning
Industrial supervisors: George Sawicki and Tom Easton


  1. Denkov, N.D., Mechanisms of foam destruction by oil-based antifoams. Langmuir, 2004. 20: p. 9463-9505.
  2. Racz, G., K. Koczo, and D.T. Wasan, Mechanisms of antifoam deactivation. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 1996. 181: p. 124-135.
  3. Kulkarni, R.D., E.D. Goddard, and B. Kanner, Mechanism of Antifoaming: Role of the filler particle. Ind. Eng. Chem., Fundam., 1977. 16(4): p. 472-474.
  4. Bergeron, V., et al., Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)- based antifoams. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 1997. 122: p. 103-120.