A release agent is a chemical used to prevent other materials from bonding to surfaces. It can provide a solution in processes involving mold release, die-cast release, plastic release, and tire and web release.
In the concrete construction industry, form release agents prevent the adhesion of freshly placed concrete to the forming surface, usually plywood, overlaid plywood, steel or aluminum. In this application, there are two types of release agents available: barrier and reactive.
Reactive release agents are chemically active and work by the process of a chemical reaction between the release agent and the free limes available in fresh concrete. A soapy film is created which prevents adhesion. Because it is a chemically reactive process, there is generally little to no residue or unreacted product left on the forming surface or concrete which provides for a cleaner process.
Water based release agents is a result of more focus on health, environment and safety issues. This has resulted in development of new technologies in this area have focused largely on water based formulations and the movement has been away from petroleum or solvent based products.
Food processing 
Release agents are used to aid in the separation of food from a cooking container after baking or roasting. Traditionally fat or flour have been used, but in industrial food processing other chemicals might be used. The application is called bakery release.
In industrial papermaking release agents are used to get slip effect of the paper from the processing equipment. A release agent may be applied on the process rolls (like the yankee cylinder) or in the paper coating.
Some paper types are made with release coatings:
- Release liners for pressure sensitive adhesive laminates and tapes
- Casting papers
- General industrial release papers
- Food-grade release and packaging papers
Release agents, also known as de-moulding agent, form oil, parting agent or form releaser, are substances used in moulding and casting that aid in the separation of a mould from the material being moulded and reduce imperfections in the moulded surface.
There are two types of release agents used in the molding of rubber products. Both are silicone based. The decision on which to use has to do with lubricity and release. Water diluted silicon is used when you have rubber sliding over a hot mold (sheets or slugs). The silicon keeps the rubber from sticking to the mold but just as important it lubricates the rubber so it will slide over the hot mold as it is loaded. Diluted silicon typically has to be applied every cycle. Semi-permanent mold release builds a silicon matrix on the mold that becomes a barrier between the rubber and the metal surface of the mold. The matrix is created by the other ingredients in the semi-permanent mold release. Applications of semi-permanent mold release vary from every cycle to once daily applications depending on the compound being molded and the design and quality of the mold.