Foam is an object that is shaped by captivated gas in a liquid or solid product pocket. Basically, foam is contained in almost all of the everyday products, especially in soaps, detergents, and shampoo. However, in the industrial sectors foam is categorized as a problem. The issue with foam in the chemical industry usually happens in the creation of phosphoric acid.
Phosphoric acid is a chemical with formula H3PO4 and also known as orthophosphoric acid. This chemical is a non-toxic and non-volatile mineral acid. Phosphoric acid has an appearance of transparent crystalline solid or in forms of non-colorless liquid. The difference in phosphoric acid is due to the concentration. Pure phosphoric acid has a crystalline solid form with a melting point of 42.35°C, while the liquid appearance is for the less concentrated phosphorus acid. The commonly found phosphoric acid in the supplier is the one with an 85% concentration in water.
Manufacturing Process Of Phosphoric Acid
Phosphoric acid is produced through a process called wet process. In this process, phosphoric acid is reacted with tricalcium phosphate rock or apatite. Phosphoric acid solution with about 32% to 46% H3PO4 is the result of this process. However, a large amount of foam and undesirable gases will form in phosphoric acid production. The CO2 gas will generate with the acid alongside with the condition of the high carbonate and organic matter in phosphate rock. This CO2, continuously dispersed in the reaction liquid will gradually form a foam layer on the mixture that could reach 5% to 10% of the volume of the reaction liquid.
The production of foam in phosphoric acid manufacture brings many disadvantages effects for the suppliers. The major challenge for phosphoric acid suppliers is to produce phosphoric acid in an efficient way, which means these foams need to be liberated from their production. The effects that caused by foams are: the production capacity is lowered because it is affecting the dispersion and acid hydrolysis reaction; Equipment utilization rate is reduced and makes the material level observation difficult to do; The temperature of the extraction tank is raised, thus hinder the reaction process; Loss of P2O5 and create environmental pollution when the foam is carried to the exhaust gas absorption system and the diffuser tank; Could cause a lethal or harming effect because of its caustic properties.
Foam Vs. Defoarmers In Prodcution Of Phosphoric Acid
Foam in phosphoric acid manufacture is a major problem. To handle the problem caused by foam, phosphoric acid suppliers need to use defoamers. Defoamers are basically an anti-foaming agent. Defoamers are used in phosphoric acid suppliers on a large scale to eliminate the foam that interrupted phosphoric acid manufacture. By adding defoamer during phosphoric acid production, suppliers could produce the phosphoric acid optimally. There are many types of defoamer, depending on the supplier’s needs.
Defoaming consists of three types of actions:
- Foam breaking. In these actions, the defoamer agent is added to a foamed liquid, making it destroyed the foam rapidly
- Foam suppression. In these actions, the defoamer agent is added to the liquid before the foam is produced, so the agent will restrict the liquid to foaming
- Deaerating. in this action, the foamed liquid will be merged into one and accelerated to its rising to the surface.
In short, the defoamer is used by phosphoric acid suppliers not only to break the foam and control its regeneration but also to handle their regeneration to make the manufacture be foam-free. Because the ideal defoamer in the phosphoric acid industry is the one with the ability to remove the surface foam, but also to reduce CO2 gas bubbles in the slurry. According to that, it is important for phosphoric acid suppliers to consider using a defoaming agent to help the phosphoric acid manufacture and make sure that the defoamer supplier is trusted and reliable.