Moisture promotes the development of mould and also contributes to rusting in many domestic and industrial objects. Condensation has the potential to harm the electronic goods’ parts and hasten the chemical breakdown of pharmaceuticals. Desiccant Silica Gel prolongs the shelf life of certain goods.
Water vapour is captured and held by silica gel. Silica gel can prolong the shelf life of food and medications and maintain the efficiency of industrial equipment by reducing the amount of moisture around it.
Learn more about silica gel and the distinctions between white, orange, and blue silica gel in this article.
What is Silica Gel?
Amorphous and porous silicon dioxide is found in silica gel, which is a potent desiccant. A hygroscopic material called a desiccant is used to promote or maintain a state of dryness around it. As a result, silica gel reduces moisture by capturing and retaining water vapour.
Around 40% of the moisture in silica gel’s weight can be absorbed. In a closed container, it can reduce the relative humidity to roughly 40%. By heating silica gel over 300 degrees Fahrenheit after it has become saturated, you can remove the moisture and reuse it (150 degrees Celsius).
The fundamental particles are spherical polymerized silicate particles linked at random. The main particles’ size, degree of aggregation, and surface chemistry determine the characteristics of silica gels. Modern silica gel technology makes it possible to create extremely pure gels with specific pore systems and surface qualities that are almost entirely made of silicon dioxide.
Types of Silica Gel
There are two varieties of silica gel created for use in industry and other areas. They are silica gels that indicate and do not indicate. Let’s examine these two categories, the silica gel variations that fall within each category, and each category’s intended use.
Non-indicating Silica Gel
The silica gel kind known as non-indicating silica gel doesn’t change in appearance after absorbing moisture. These silica gels are no less capable of absorbing moisture than other types, but there is no way to tell if a silica gel has absorbed all of the moisture or not with non-indicating silica gels. Non-indicating silica gel includes white silica gel.
White Silica Gel
White silica gel is also referred to as non-indicating silica gel since it keeps the same look even after absorbing moisture. With good absorption capabilities, white silica gel is generated as an ivory-white, semi-transparent spherical vitreous body or crystals. However, there is no way to tell whether or not the silica gel has fully absorbed moisture. White Silica Gel is non-toxic and has no smell or environmental impact. It is one of the most often used desiccant or moisture proof agents in the world.
Indicating Silica Gel
The term “indicating silica gel” refers to a silica gel variation that modifies its appearance after absorbing moisture to signal that its absorption capacity has been reached and it has to be changed. These silica gels can absorb just as much moisture as others, however by identifying silica gels, you can tell if the silica gel has absorbed all of the moisture or not. Indicating silica gel comes in many colours including orange and blue.
Blue Silica Gel
Blue silica gel, which gives the silica gel its blue colour, is an indicating silica gel because it is made by washing white silica gel with a concentration of cobalt chloride. Similar to white non-indicating silica gel, indicating blue silica gel also absorbs moisture.
However, they really change from blue to pink when they are becoming saturated with moisture, signalling that they have absorbed moisture and need to be replaced.
While still retaining the same performance standards, Blue Silica Gel is frequently less expensive than Orange Silica Gel. However, due to the inclusion of cobalt chloride, a recognised human toxic, in its production, Blue Silica Gel’s use has been restricted due to its restriction in the European Union. For this reason, Blue Silica gel shouldn’t be used in close proximity to items that are meant to be consumed, such food or medicines. Blue Silica Gel is still usable in the United States despite this fact.
Orange Silica Gel
Orange Silica Gel is a non-toxic desiccant that satisfies the demands of businesses that care about the environment. Orange silica gel is used in a variety of places where visual moisture control is required, including compressed air dryers, breathers, for the protection of non-consumable packaged items, for drying and storing flowers and seeds, among many other uses. Orange Silica Gel shouldn’t be used in close proximity to items like food and medicines that are meant for human consumption.
When the desiccant is saturated with moisture, the methyl violet in orange silica gel causes the gel to become green. There is also a more recent type of orange silica gel that, when exposed to moisture, loses its colour and is said to be superior in terms of indication, adsorption capacity, and environmental impact.
The most popular type of silica gel utilised in commercial applications today is orange silica gel.
Condensation and moisture promote the formation of mould and could harm the goods. All such products that are prone to damage from moisture and water vapour employ silica gel. Silica Gel is suitable for moisture proofing tools, weapons, electronics, home appliances, machinery, leather, pharmaceuticals, food, and other packed items because it prevents dampness, dries quickly, resists rust, and resists corrosion. Due to its high density and high moisture absorption under low humidity, it is utilised as an air purifier to control humidity in the air as well as a catalyst carrier and to dehydrate organic molecules. It has been frequently utilised for maritime shipping due to its capacity to withstand moisture in order to preserve cargo due to excessive humidity.