Encyclopedias define an aerosol as: “A colloidal suspension of liquid or solid particles in a gas”. Fog and clouds are examples of liquid-particle aerosols, while smoke is a solid-particle aerosol.
The definition in the European Community legislation, and therefore, Spanish legislation, states: “The combination of a non-refillable receptacle made of metal, glass, or plastic and containing a gas compressed, liquefied, or dissolved under pressure, with or without a liquid, paste, or powder, and fitted with a release device allowing the contents to be ejected as solid or liquid particles in suspension in a gas, as a foam, paste, or powder, or in a liquid state.”
The definition given by advertisers:
Aerosol is a consumer good which produces user satisfaction.
Indeed, aerosol has fulfilled and continues to fulfill the needs of many people. In 1999, with input from technicians, sales representatives, and management executives, a well-known newspaper compiled a list of great inventions of the 20th Century. Aerosol was one of them.
Aerosol is a packaging system capable of containing and dispensing a wide variety of products. Aerosol containers consist of:
A non-reusable tin, aluminum, glass, or plastic recipient.
Containing a mixture of product and propellant.
With an adjustable output device..
The pressure exerted by the user's finger on the output device can release the contents in the form of a spray, foam, or gel.
How it Works
We all know how to use an aerosol container. It’s easy: you push down on the button, and there you have it, it works.
But in the operation of an aerosol device, a number of devices and materials work together simultaneously to allow the the product, designed for a particular purpose such as spray, deodorant , cleanser, foam , etc., to be released according to the user’s needs.
The product is dissolved or suspended in a concentrated diluent in liquid state.
The propellant generally consists of a liquefied gas which is introduced into the container. The container already contains the product and is closed via the valve. Typically, the liquefied gas is mixed with the product. In cases where compressed gas is used, it does not mix with the product.
When the valve is activated, the product is released from the container by way of the dip tube. When the product reaches the actuator button it is sprayed, and the spray effect becomes stronger as the liquefied gas evaporates.
As the mixture is dispensed, the liquid gas inside the aerosol container evaporates, maintaining constant pressure inside the container, whether it is full or half empty.
If the product is a foam, the liquid gas forms small bubbles to give the product its foam texture.
In some special cases, for example, in paints, the propellant is used as a fast-drying solvent.
Aerosols have become a part of our everyday lives because they are:
User-Friendly: immediate application, numerous spray options available, easy to use, and manageable.
Effective: optimal application and performance, and maximum reliability.
Airtight and safely stored: guaranteed to be hermetically sealed, tamper-proof, and safe to use; contents maintain their original properties and cannot become contaminated, even while being used.
Able to ensure precise application and cost-effective: user controls dosage in terms of time of use, area of use, and amount of product used, eliminating waste by overuse.
A wide variety of products classified as aerosols can be found on the market in the following sectors: household (air fresheners, cleaners, insecticides, etc.); personal care (deodorants, hairsprays, shaving creams, etc.); industrial applications (automotive, paint); food; and pharmaceutical.
AEROSOLS DO NOT CONTAIN CFCs
In the early 1980s there was a concern about the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in various consumer products and their relation to the ozone layer. Aerosols were among these products.
As of 1989 aerosol manufacturers voluntarily stopped using these propellants, and currently, there are no aerosol consumer products containing CFCs.
AEROSOLS ARE RECYCLABLE
LAerosol containers are manufactured using fully recyclable materials, and a significant part of the metal used in their manufacturing contains recycled materials.
75% of containers use tin, 24% use aluminum, and less than 1% are made of glass or plastic.
Data shows us that aerosol recycling is a completely accepted practice. It is compatible with established criteria for normal collection of domestic waste and for separate collection, transportation, and treatment.
In separate collection programs, the user disposes of empty aerosol containers, which are included in recycling programs as part of corresponding fractions.
Our current estimates indicate that European countries recycle some 1 billion aerosol containers by different ways and means.
UNUSED AEROSOLS AND DOMESTIC POST-CONSUMER WASTE
Aerosol containers which have been used by the consumer and are already empty should be treated like any other metal container for food, beverages, etc., and deposited at separate collection points for household waste (designated igloo or other trash bins, or in appropriately colored bags (yellow in Spain)).
Full or partially used aerosol containers should be treated according to the classification of their content (in general, extremely flammable), and therefore deposited at recycling centers or in special waste collection.
A safe product
From the very beginning, the global aerosol industry has monitored the safety of aerosol containers. This led it to establish norms and standards which offer the user a wide margin of safety.
AEDA maintains continuous participation in the technical and legislative sessions held by international organizations such as ADR, IATA, ISO, and EU DIRECTIVES, among others. This enables it to advise on and devise mandatory norms and laws that provide a high degree of confidence in the safe use of aerosols.
Aerosols are among those everyday household items that cause the least amount of accidents. In statistics, they appear as a cause of accidents after customary objects like combs, beds, forks, knives, undergarments, draperies, etc.
Communications experts have also considered aerosol to be one of the greatest inventions of the last century.