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Silica Gel Crystals

Silica gel crystals are an amorphous form of silicon dioxide. They are made by the acidification of sodium silicate. This procedures results in the formation of a gelatinous mass which is then washed and dehydrated. The drying causes the resulting silicon dioxide to turn into hard irregularly shaped white crystals, something like tiny beads.


The cooling silicon dioxide crystals are very porous. Each bead is a microscopically cavernous structure which has an amazingly high surface area. The beauty of these silica gel crystals is that they have an internal surface area of 800m square. And they have a very high affinity for water because they have a low surface vapour pressure. In its dry form, as it is supplied, silica gel contains around 3% water. This low vapour pressure means that water is attracted from the surrounding area.

Dry crystals are very effective at absorbing the water from their surroundings and can absorb up to 40% of their own weight in water. Once the vapour is equalised, however, then there is also an equalised exchange of water between the crystals and the environment. This takes a long time and in normal conditions, the gel crystals are not easily saturated.

Silica gel is a high capacity desiccant. Even in its saturated state, it remains as dry firm beads. It does not disintegrate into amorphous gloop, which makes it ideal for many practical and every day uses. It has an indefinite shelf life and can be regenerated completely by heating.

It is non toxic and inert and non-flammable. It will not react with metals or plastics and will not cause corrosion even with high water adsorption.

In a hermetically sealed environment, as a general rule of thumb, around 5 grams of granules or beads are needed per cubic foot. Our conveniently sized sachets allow this calculation to be performed with ease. It is simple to use the nearest sized standard sachet per cubic foot of the area to be protected.

Silica gel crystals are highly efficient and a very economical way to handle the problem of unwanted moisture. Their hygroscopic qualities make them an ideal desiccant to use in many different situations. They can be supplied in the original white form or as self-indicating, colour changing species. The original colour change was achieved with the addition of cobalt chloride. This resulted



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