Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Emulsifiers: Mixing and Then Some

How many different types of industrial mixers can you name? Mixers are used in a variety of ways across industries to create a variation of products. Though there are many variations each has a significant use. One type of mixer that creates many items we use everyday is an emulsifier. Emulsifiers create many food items and cosmetic items, among other products. So how do emulsifier mixers work and what kinds of products do they make? In addition to the mixer, certain additives may need to be added to create the final product solidifying the emulsion.

Emulsifier mixers are motorized blades and paddles that rotate on a stationary shaft inside of a tank to thoroughly combine any solid or liquid into a final product. The specific job will depend on the sharpness or dullness of the blades, small or large paddles. These mixers are effective because of their high shear abilities. This high shear ability allows for the mixer to create emulsions. Emulsifying is usually one of the first steps in the process of creating various new products. Therefore, they need to be reliable and durable to perform their job regularly with ease.

Where many mixers do exactly that, mix. Emulsifiers bring two or more substances into an irreversible blend. When an emulsion is complete the new product cannot be reversed into the substances they once were and do not need to be shaken or remixed like many other products. For example, some beverages are a mixture of different substances and will layer if the beverage was let to settle for a period of time. However, lotion on the other hand is much more stable as one product, which was emulsified into one substance from many. Even after sitting out for the same period of time the lotion will still look, feel and function exactly the same as the day it was made into an emulsion. Besides the mixer another aspect may be needed to finish the desired product.

Depending on the materials being mixed and the sought after viscosity, different times are needed to mix thoroughly. For example, cream cheese and liquid soap will take a different amount of time to be turned into their final form. To create a final product you need more than the mixing emulsifier. Additives are placed into the mixture. The most basic emulsions are water-in-oil and oil-in water. However, there are other natural (egg, soybean oil) and synthetic (polyethylene glycol, surfactants) emulsifiers used depending on the product. When these are introduced into the mixture it adds to the stability of the final product to keep its final form consistent and not settle back into the previous substances that were used to create the new product.