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Agglomeration in formulation and how to deal with it

SpecialChem / Jan 4, 2008

When I first learnt about adhesive formulation, one of the less technical rules-of-thumb that I was given compared my employer's processes with cake-baking. Polymer fluids were analogous to milk and water, solid fillers to flour, crosslinkers to egg and catalysts to baking powder. From this analogy, it became easy to see why adhesive mixing processes required several filler addition stages. Just as over-enthusiastic flour addition can result in lumps in numerous recipes, overdoing an adhesive's filler at the start of mixing can create troublesome lumps and grains in the final batch. Ultimately, comparing manufacturing to cooking is just a familiar way to interface with complex physical behaviour - that behaviour being what unites the two. The principles of dispersion apply equally to sealant adhesives, coatings and other manufactured products that involve mixing, like paints. To effectively disperse filler, pigment or any other particles, a dry powder must be immersed and wetted, then distributed and stabilised as a colloid.

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