5. What's in an aerosol?
Shake well before use P.13 of 13 
A few aerosols need to be shaken before you use them. This is to make sure that the product and the propellant are well mixed. Many propellants aren’t miscible in the product. So the two liquids form two separate layers in the can.

Without a good shake, you’ll be left with a pool of propellant when the product runs out; this doesn’t make very good body spray!

Foaming sprays
As well as pushing the product out of the can, the propellant helps to give it its texture. For example, shaving foam is foamy because the propellant evaporates as the liquid mixture comes out of the can. This forms tiny bubbles in the soap product, making it foamy.
Picture 5.4 A shaving foam and a hair spray have very different textures.

Mix and match
A shaving foam aerosol contains about 5% propellant and 95% product. On the other hand, a hair spray has about 30% propellant. The higher proportion of propellant breaks up droplets more as the mixture leaves the can.
Is it that simple?

We have seen that the particle size depends on the proportion of propellant in the aerosol. However, this could also be achieved by changing, amongst other things, the type of propellant or the valve design.

Making an aerosol is an involved process. But the result is that the properties of aerosols can be tailored to exactly suit the product that they dispense.

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Question 10
Use the text and your knowledge of percentages to answer these questions.
Description Pressure
A. What percentage of a hair spray is propellant? %
B. What percentage of a hair spray is product? %
C. A deodorant has equal amounts of product and propellant. What is the percentage of propellant? %
D. A furniture polish has product and propellant in the ratio 8:2. What is the percentage of product? %
E. A spray paint has product and propellant in the ratio 3:2. What is the percentage of propellant? %

Summary                                           Close
  • some aerosols need shaking before use
  • the propellant helps to produce the texture of the product