Silica Gel: Types, Application and Uses

There are various methods that manufacturers can use to protect their products from moisture and condensation damage. One way to do this is by using silica gel packs which are specifically made to protect products prone to damage due to high levels of humidity. In this article we will go over the main features and types of silica gel and explain the main uses of this substance. In it’s basic form this is a mineral that forms naturally and can be processed into either breaded or granular form. It’s often available on the market as beads in small packets that are used for packed goods to protect them against the changing humidity levels in enclosed spaces. It’s ability to easily absorb moisture makes it one of the best desiccant (drying agent) that can efficiently control humidity, thus preventing degradation of different types of products including food, footwear, clothes, electronic equipment, etc.

Silica Gel

For most of its applications the silica gel is dried and turned into a hard substance, which is usually more solid compared to a regular household gel. In addition to being a great desiccant, silica gel has a number of uses in many different industries. As a desiccant or drying agent, the gel is used to maintain the relative humidity inside electronic equipment and absorb moisture from compressed air in industrial air systems. In the chemical industry, the substance is applied during the processes of chromatography (separation of a mixture) and organic synthesis. Silica is also used in the food industry where it is added to food products, but only in very small amount to act as absorbent, stabilizer, viscosity control agent or carrier. The silica gel packs are often white in colour, but you can find blue and orange gels as well.

These three types of silica gels all have great moisture absorption properties, however the orange and blue gels are usually more expensive than the standard white form of silica. While white gels don’t change their colour according to the moisture levels, this is not the case with orange and blue gels. When dried the blue silica turns pink, while the orange silica gel becomes either colourless or dark green. White silica is the most popular and can be found in most of the packed products available on the market. Due to their self-indicating properties blue silica gels can be used in a range of industrial processes including natural gas drying, purification and separation of different types of chemical mixtures. Orange silica gel packs can often be found in pharmaceutical packaging, but they are also placed in food packaging as well as leather and textile products.

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