Guar Gum Properties and Applications
Guar Gum is derived from the ground endosperm of the guar plant, a hardy and drought-resistant plant that grows 1-2 m high with vertical stalks that feature seed pods in clusters. The seed pods are about 10-12 cm long and hold six to nine seeds about 2-3 mm in diameter. Roughly 14%-16% of the seed is the hull; 38%-45% represents endosperm and 40%-46% germ. This annual plant is an ancient one grown extensively in India and Pakistan for human and animal consumption. It is also grown in the semi-arid, southwestern United States.
Guar Gum is a white to creamy-colored, free-flowing powder and is free from extraneous matter. Its ability to suspend solids, bind water by hydrogen bonding, control the viscosity of aqueous solutions and form strong tough films, accounts for its rapid growth and use in various industries. Industrial-grade Guar Gum is used in paper, textile processing, explosives, detergents, drilling fluids, ceramics, paints and many other products. The purified grade is used in pharmaceuticals, dialectic, cosmetics and food industries.
Guar Gum has properties that make it useful in various applications:
a) Easy solubility in cold and hot water.
b) Fine film-forming property.
c) Resistance to oils, greases and solvents.
d) Better thickening action.
e) Physiologically inert nature.
f) Non-ionic, anionic or cationic character.
g) Water binding due to hydrogen bonding.
Guar Gum is marketed in two basic forms:
- Food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and dialectic grade
- Technical or industrial grade
Grade designations depend on:
a) Active matter content
e) Degree of substitution
Food, Pharmaceutical & Dialectic Industries
When used in ice cream, in pure form Guar Gum acts as a superior stabilizer and ensures preferred texture by preventing the formation of coarse ice crystals. The present trend is to use agro-based Guar Gum only for ice cream, without any additives or preservatives, in place of Carboxymethyl Cellulose (CMC), which is a chemical derivative of cellulose and therefore objectionable in Europe, Japan and America for food products. In squashes, sauces and sherbets, it functions as a suspending agent and a stabilizer. It has a low calorific food value and is an excellent bulk laxative. It is used as a suspending agent for Calamine and Barium Sulphate. Guar Gum increases the mechanical strength of tablets during pressing yet readily disperses in water. It is used in jellies and ointments as a thickener, imparts good viscosity and gives better foam stability in shampoos, and is compatible with glycerol and used in toothpastes.
Guar Gum is soluble in cold and hot water, so the solution is not attacked by bacteria. It’s protective colloid-forming capacity results in emulsion stabilization, making it a good thickener and suspending agent in cosmetics is used in bread, pastry, cakes and cookies. On dry mixing prior to dough making in bread, Guar Gum helps retain moisture, hence the weight of bread. It keeps the bread smooth, pliable and fresh for a longer time and gives it a milky-white bleached appearance.
Guar Gum is soluble in cold and hot water, so the solution is not attacked by bacteria. It’s protective colloid-forming capacity results in emulsion stabilization, making it a good thickener and suspending agent in cosmetics.
Textile Industry (Sizing and Thickener for Printing on Cotton, Silk, Wool and Synthetics)
Guar Gum gives excellent film forming and thickening properties when used for textile sizing, finishing and printing. Guar Gum reduces breakage of yarns, while sizing and gives better efficiency in loom shed. It is physiologically inert and is also resistant to greases, oils and organic solvents.
Guar Gum is added in paper manufacturing to create a denser surface to the paper used for printing. It improves erasive and writing properties, better bonding strength and increased hardness. Because of its improved adhesion, Guar Gum gives better breaking, mullen and folding strengths.
Oil Well Drilling (as Viscosifier, Bore-well Retainer and Fracturing Gum)
When used in oil well drilling muds, Guar Gum gives a better colloid, thereby reducing water losses. It regulates the viscosity of mud solution, stabilizes and regulates the flow properties of the drilling muds.
Explosives (as Water Blocking Agent in Nitroglycerin, Slurry Explosives, Ammonium Nitrate & Dynamite Explosives)
By mixing Guar Gum in Ammonium Nitrate, Nitroglycerin & Oil Explosives, explosive property is maintained even in wet conditions. This is due to enhanced swelling, water blocking and gelling properties.
Guar Gum is also used in:
- Insecticides and pesticides
- Detergents and soaps
- Paint industry
- Electrodes and brazing fluxes
- Leather industry
- Tobacco processing
- Pencils crayons