Packaging Desiccant- Silica Gel
Silica gel is a granular, vitreous, porous form of silica made synthetically from sodium silicate. Despite its name, silica gel is a solid. It is a naturally occurring mineral that is purified and processed into either granular or beaded form. As a desiccant, it has an average pore size of 2.4 nanometers and has a strong affinity for water molecules.
Silica gel’s high surface area (around 800 m²/g) allows it to absorb water readily, making it useful as a desiccant to control local humidity in order to avoid spoilage or degradation of some goods.
We supply different types of silica gel:
Standard white silica gel
Standard white silica gel is referred to as being non-indicating. As it adsorbs moisture it remains physically unchanged. Non-indicating silica gel is both cheap and effective, available loose in bulk packs or packed in the tin or packed in sachets.
Self-indicating silica gels
Self-indicating silica gels have a moisture sensitive additive added to the basic silica gel. This indicator changes colour as moisture is adsorbed thus giving a visual indication as to the activity level of the silica gel.
Advantages of silica gel as a desiccant.
Silica gel has many other properties that recommend it as a desiccant.
- It will adsorb up to 40% of its own weight in water vapour. This adsorption efficiency is approximately 35% greater that typical desiccant clays, making silica gel the preferred choice where weight or efficiency are important factors.
- It has an almost indefinite shelf life if stored in airtight conditions.
- It can be regenerated and reused if required. Gently heating silica gel will drive off the adsorbed moisture and leave it ready for reuse.
- It is a very inert material, it will not normally attack or corrode other materials and with the exception of strong alkalis and hydrofluoric acid is itself resistant to attack.
- It is non-flammable.
- It is most frequently and conveniently used packed in a breathable sachet or bag. These are available in granule, creaked beads or round beads with a wide range of sizes suitable for use with a wide range of applications
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