In a world where there are so many different types of products and so many versions of each, it’s easy to get confused. Sometimes I don’t want to spend five minutes in the toothpaste aisle looking through 35 different varieties of basically the same thing!
Even in the homogenization industry, there are multiple models: ultrasonic, rotor-stator bead mill, high-pressure and others. In this blog, I’ll detail rotor-stator and high-pressure homogenizers and list benefits and challenges of each.
Rotor-stator homogenizers, also referred to as high-shear mixers or colloid mills, are designed to reduce particle size through hydraulic and mechanical shear and cavitation. Originally designed to make dispersions and emulsions, this type of homogenizer works through the rotation of a rotor inside a stator, which creates a suction effect. Mixing occurs when a sample is drawn in through one of the mixing heads while the blades rotate and is then expelled at a high velocity through an opening in the stator. The combination of high rpm from the rotor and exit through tiny slots allows the sample to be mechanically sheared into very small particles.
This type of homogenizer is best utilized for biological (plant and animal) tissue and processes liquid samples in the 0.01 ml-20-liter range. It is most often utilized in the chemical, cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries to create suspensions, emulsions, lyosols and other products through solid-liquid suspension, liquid-liquid emulsification and homogenization, particle size reduction, power-liquid dispersion and other applications.
Though high pressure-homogenizers employ high amounts of energy to form pressure differentials to homogenize ingredients, their rotor-stator counterparts manipulate ingredients though a shearing action. They generate minimal heat during operation and are able to homogenize fairly soft tissue. However, working with aerosols and foams can be difficult with this type of homogenizer.
Similar to liquid mixers, high-pressure homogenizers work by forcing cell suspensions through a very narrow channel under pressure. They use force (such as turbulence and cavitation) and high pressure to create a consistent and uniform sample. Primarily utilized for cell lysis or creating emulsions when large volumes are being processed, high-pressure homogenizers can be used for multiple types of bacteria, yeast and mycelia. Following are some of the many benefits high-pressure homogenizers provide:
- Ability to process large volumes of liquid reproducibly and methodically.
- Consistency in composition of products.
- Controlled turbulent flow and cavitation.
- Increased rate of dissolution.
- Low risk of product contamination.
- Uniform particle size reduction.
- Greater stability of final product.
- Customizable forces to optimize results.
- Consistent results in fewer passes.
- Accommodation of a wide range of sample sizes.
- Decreased cost.
As you can see, high-pressure homogenizers offer enterprises a lot of benefits. However, it’s important to note that they can’t handle large particles or high-fiber materials and aren’t the most suitable for high-temperature materials. Plus, they can be large and very heavy.
BEE International: Taking the Confusion Out of Homogenization
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