Thickening agent

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Any hydrophilic material that increases the viscosity of a liquid. Thickening agents are used in foods, paper, adhesives, textiles, paints, and detergents. The main types of thickeners are (based on Lewis 1993):

- Natural products: starch, gum, casein, gelatin, agar, etc.

- Synthetic cellulose derivatives: carboxymethyl cellulose, etc.

- Polymers: polyvinyl alcohol; polyacrylate

- Inorganics: clay, bentonite, silicates, fumed silica.

Synonyms and Related Terms

thickeners; rheology modifier

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p.294
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Tom Learner, A review of Synthetic Binding Media in Twentieth-Century Paints., The Conservator, Vol. 24, 2000