Applications and Industries
Microfoams are important materials to a range of industries. The TLT Foamer technology may offer a new sustainable approach for products, devices, materials, and processes.
Foods and Beverages
Whipped and aerated foods and beverages can offer the consumer indulgent and rich textures, as well as visual quality cues. These products are very familiar to us, such as whipped cream, foamed soda toppings, mousses, coffee crema, and latte milk foams.
However, foods microfoams might also be used as structuring agents and fat mimetics in products that would not normally be foamed. An example of this would be a foamed low fat formulation of a dressing traditionally high in fat e.g. Ranch or Caesar salad dressing. The microfoam structure may add a rich mouthfeel and viscosity usually associated with high fat recipes.
Whipped and aerated foods and beverages are most commonly produced by mechanical whipping, or via the use of nitrous oxide. The TLT foamer may offer a simple and sustainable method of generating foods and beverage microfoams on demand from aerosols, devices or in manufacturing.
Personal Care and Cosmetics
Foamed products are common in the Personal Care and Cosmetics sector. Foams, and particularly microfoams (bubbles typically < 100 microns), convey a number of functional and sensory benefits to products as diverse as hair conditioners and mousses, shaving foams, skin sanitizers, whipped face creams, foundations, and sunscreens. The structure of the foamed product allows it to be deposited on a precise area without runs or drips, and for a small volume of the product to be uniformly spread with ease over a relatively large area. Visual and tactile cues from a foamed product can generate user perceptions of indulgence, efficacy, quality, and novelty over a liquid product.
However, many foamed personal care and cosmetic products are generated through the use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), typically from aerosols. The TLT-Foamer technology offers an alternative, sustainable method of foam generation for packaged goods. It also offers capability to generate foamed products from refillable hand-held devices and fixed appliances related to beauty, personal care, hair styling and grooming, for both the consumer and professional salon markets.
Medical and Healthcare
The medical and general healthcare sectors have a variety of products and applications that rely on foamed materials, or may benefit from their creation. Most obvious are packaged therapeutic products for topical application of emollients and active ingredients, antiseptic and anti-fungal products, and wound healing.
However, there are a number of surgical products and procedures that rely on the formation of foamed materials for successful outcome. Example procedures include Sclerotherapy (injection of a setting foamed based sealants for the treatment of varicose veins and brain aneurisms), and thrombin based haemostasics (a foamed 'clotting' sealant for staunching trauma or surgically induced hemorrhaging). The importance of product composition and the consistency of the foamed structure are paramount in the success of these techniques.
Looking to the future, foamed material with novel or controlled properties may have a key role in the fields of regenerative medicine (tissue scaffolds, prosthetic implants), wound healing and therapeutic technologies.
Triple Line Tech's pilot technology, the 'TLT Foamer' may offer advantage in these application areas, providing novel drug or biologic delivery vehicles, sustainable packaging options for foamed products (non-VOC), next generation materials, or enabling surgical device development for the reliable, on-demand production of surgical foams.
Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Home Care
Foams, especially high stability microfoams, are favorable formats for dispensing cleaning, sanitizing, and decontamination products. Such products include surface and carpet cleaners, hand sanitizers, and large scale decontamination formulations used in disease and infection control.
Stable microfoams allow the user to visualize where and how much of a product or formulation has been dispensed and applied to a treatment area. This is important for product efficacy. The stability of the foam may increase the efficacy of a sanitization or decontamination treatment by allowing a slow collapse of the foam, extending the contact time of active ingredients.
The TLT Foamer is suitable for integration into refillable pressurized sprayer systems, as well as single use aerosol formats. It can also produce liquid microfoams with high stability due to the resulting foams having a low polydispersity (narrow bubble size range).
Liquid microfoams are already used in agricultural and horticultural applications. Microfoams allow small doses of active compound to be applied to target plants, or a specific part of a plant, such as a growing tip. The structure of the microfoam allows it to remain limited to the area of application, unlike sprays which may suffer overspray, drift, or drainage away from the intended site of treatment. For similar reasons microfoams are used for control of pests e.g. ant and wasp nests.
The TLT Foamer technology can be used in existing applications, dispensing high quality microfoams from aerosol packaging, and pressurized hand application systems. However, the design of the TLT Foamer makes it suitable for implementation in nozzles, and could therefore be used to continuously produce streams or sheets of foams from larger application systems such boom sprayers. This flexibility means that the TLT Foamer may offer more sustainable methods of applying agrochemicals, or facilitate the development of new products or completely novel approaches to crop protection and management.
Foams have a diverse range of applications in the industrial sector. The materials properties of microfoams, be they liquid or solid foams, allows them to carry out a broad range of functions from the suspension and distribution of active ingredients, to noise dampening, and insulation. The kinetics of many multi-phase industrial processes, such as gas scrubbing, gas-liquid reactions, and absorption may be enhanced by increasing the interfacial surface area by the formation of microfoams. Hence, the use of microfoams in fire suppression, gas scrubbing, insulation, separation processes, decontamination, and functional materials.
The TLT-Foamer, with its ability to generate microfoams, may offer process and materials advantage in a range of industrial applications.