What Are Homogenizing Agents & How Do They Improve the Homogenization Process?

Posted by Deb Shechter on Dec 17, 2018 12:10:59 PM

homogenizing agentsFor most people, “homogenization” and “homogenizing agents” aren’t words that just roll off the tongue. But for us here at BEE International, talking about them comes as easily as discussing our favorite TV show or the day’s weather. So, if you’ve ever wondered what “homogenized milk” meant or how your face cream was made or why some peanut butter doesn’t have to be stirred, we’d love to share with you the facts about high pressure homogenization and homogenizing agents. Consider the following:

An Overview of the Homogenization Process

Homogenization is the process of combining two substances by breaking them into uniform pieces and mixing them together evenly. Homogenization facilitates many laboratory and manufacturing processes, such as those in the pharmaceutical, biotech, chemical, cosmetic and food industries. Not only does homogenization change the physical characteristics of materials, making it easier for scientists and manufacturers to work with raw components, it also helps ensure product quality, maintain long-term storage of materials and isolate certain particles when necessary. All of these things are necessary for superior performance among a variety of products. Homogenization makes our milk taste good and keeps our peanut butter from separating into a lump of peanut paste and a pool of oil. It keeps our lotions thick, yet spreadable, and our medicines effective.

But what if certain materials resist homogenization attempts by mechanical equipment alone? What if they need something more to help break them apart and realign their parts equally? In these cases, homogenizing agents are used.

What are Homogenizing Agents?

Homogenizing agents are resin-based mixtures which are usually added at the beginning of a homogenization cycle. When heated to certain temperatures, they turn “sticky” and help to moisten and soften the surfaces of the substances being melded together. 

How Do They Improve the Homogenization Process?

Because of their tackiness, homogenizing agents make it easier for some substances to blend and distribute their particles evenly. They also encourage filler acceptance. And by helping to shorten the time it takes to blend materials regardless of their “molecular weight, viscosity or polarity,” homogenizing agents save energy and other valuable resources.

In scientific and research settings, efficient homogenization can do more than just save time, though. It can also save lives. The right homogenizer and the right homogenizing agents can reduce the number of passes it takes to get viable results, ensuring that all steps in the testing cycle are consistent and go as smoothly and quickly as possible.

In more industrial settings, the right homogenizers and homogenizing agents ensure that applications are customized according to overall purposes, whether that be securing product stability; guaranteeing sterility; improving color, texture, taste and nutritional value; or simply maintaining cost effectiveness. 

Need More Info?

If you need help selecting the right homogenizer for your homogenization process, contact us today. Our high pressure homogenizers are customized to suit your own unique needs with multiple mechanical forces that create thoroughly mixed products.

And for additional information, you might also like to download our FREE eBook: "How to Achieve Efficient & Consistent Particle Size Reduction." In it, we show how equipment that reduces particle size saves you money by extending shelf life and strengthening biophysical properties. 

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