How Silica Gel Deals with Moisture Problems
Silica, also called silicon dioxide, is a molecule that’s composed of silicon and a couple of oxygen atoms. Packets of silica gel are often used in packaging to keep the moisture away from the product. This keeps the produce, especially food and medicine, fresh for a much longer period.
Let’s learn more about how silica gel helps with moisture problems.
What is Silica Gel?
Silica gel is created through a method involving acid and sodium silicate, first used by Walter Patrick at Johns Hopkins in 1919. The mixture of the two forms something like gel that is left to dry. It’s xerogel but often is just referred to as gel, although it is pretty solid.
How Does it Work?
It’s a type of desiccant that can potentially be around 40% water in relation to its weight. Water molecules attach to the gel’s surface, and that process is known as adsorption.
Each silica bead consists of many little interconnected pores that result in a high surface area. The small pores also help in hanging on to high moisture through a process called capillary condensation. This means even when they’re saturated with excess moisture, the beads seem very dry. Some silica gels available in the market have other chemicals that can change color when saturated with high moisture.
Silica gel usually works better when it’s in a completely sealed container, and the gel or beads are packed in a breathable container or bag.
What if there’s too much water?
If silica beads are immersed in water, or if there’s a very high level of humidity in the environment, they may pop and break apart. The water molecules in the saturated beads fill up the tiny pores to their full potential cause them to tear apart.
Where are they used?
Silica gels are largely used by the food and pharmaceutical industries. In the food industry, it helps in keeping the food fresh. The non-toxic nature of such desiccants helps in preventing foods from getting clumped together and allows for easy and quick consumption and transportation.
Pharma companies use silica gels in medicines to remove excess moisture and keep the medicines dry and safe for patients.
At Sorbead India, we offer a wide range of absorbents, including silica gel, chromatography absorbents, pharmaceutical coils, and much more. If you want to resolve moisture issues when packaging your products, get silica gel.
Contact us today to learn more about our products.