Aerosol form the basis of many techniques and processes found in industry. Spray drying is commonly used in the food industry to create dehydrated powders, such as milk powders and instant coffee, in the pharmaceutical industry to produce powdered drugs, in the ceramics industry to produce powdered oxides and carbides, as well as to produce pigments for use in paints, detergents and enzyme powders. Additionally, spray drying is a route to evaporation self-assembly of structured nanoparticles and micro-encapsulation, which have applications in catalysis and producing drug formulations for controlled delivery.
Aerosol are also used to inject fuel in combustion engines. The large surface-to-volume ratio leads to a greater concentration of vapour in the gas phase, increasing the combustibility of a fuel delivered as an aerosol compared to a bulk liquid. Spray injection of fuel is used in diesel engines, turbines and some rocket engines and pulverised coal is used in some industrial furnaces.
The use of an aerosol to disperse pesticides and herbicides over crop fields in agriculture is common, allowing a small volume to be distributed over a large area. Both liquid solutions and powders may be dispersed by aircraft in a technique which has been used for over 100 years. The release of large amounts of potentially dangerous or damaging chemicals into the environment can be a cause for concern.