Our bentonite and silica gel desiccant bags are highly active desiccants packaged in porous materials that allow them to effectively adsorb, sometimes commonly referred to as “absorb,” moisture inside packaging or storage containers helping protect packaged goods from moisture damage.
- Desiccant bags effectively adsorb moisture in product packaging to combat its damaging effects, including corrosion, mold, and degradation.
- Desiccant bags meet Mil-D-3464E (Mil-Spec) Types I, II, and III, as well as comply with JEDEC for semiconductor packaging (dry pack, dry packing).
- Desiccant bags meet various global specifications: German DIN 55473 and TL 6850-0008, French specification AFNOR NF H 00321, and MIL-D3464E (Mil-Spec).
- Clariant offers desiccant bags that meet relevant US FDA specification for use in food and drug.
- Desiccant bags are a simple, dependable, and economical solution for preventing moisture damage in enclosed packages.
- Available in a variety of fills including Desi Pak® bentonite clay, a natural, sustainable desiccant solution, and Sorb-It® silica gel desiccant.
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What are Desiccants?
A desiccant is a hygroscopic material. Its main purpose is to maintain the dryness state for products, so that they retain moisture. It is different from a humectant, which promotes retention of moisture.
Synthetic processes can also be used to make such desiccants. Such processes include sand mining and quartz purification.
Benefits of desiccants
Desiccants have many benefits for real use. They help to remove moisture from products and eliminate air humidity. This helps to achieve a dry and moisture-free environment.
Why is this important?
Moisture resulting in damp environments can lead to damage in electronics, cosmetics, food, medication and other product types that require an environment of dry moisture. It can create formation of bacteria, fungus and mould.
If moisture is found in electronics, the components can be corroded or damaged permanently. This means that the electronic equipment cannot be used anymore. Think of it as bad as how rust damages the electronics items.
Types of desiccant
The most common desiccant is the silica. Silica can be found in quartz and plants. Silica gel is the porous and amorphous form of silica.
Silica gel can be made through the following processes:
- Sodium silicate in its aqueous form goes through acidification.
- The gelatinous precipitate is produced and then washed.
- The washed form is then dehydrated to produce colorless silica gel.
As a desiccant, silica gel can be used to prevent moisture from condensation to form mould and spoilage.
Another application of silica gel is relative humidity. It helps to keep relative humidity low. Further details of application of silica gel can be found below.
Other common desiccants include activated charcoal, activated alumina and calcium chloride.
Activated charcoal is a type of carbon produced from carbonaceous source materials like bamboo, coal, coconut husk, wood and petroleum pitch. Either one of the two processes can be used to produce activated charcoal:
- Physical activation: Carbonization and oxidation are involved in the process.
- Chemical activation: Certain chemicals such as acid and salt impregnate the carbon material to activate the carbon to have microscopic pores.
Activated alumina can be made from aluminium hydroxide through the process of dehydroxylation. During this process, a highly porous material is produced and then used as a desiccant. When used as a desiccant, it works by a process called adsorption. It either dries out the air or helps to remove the trapped water, in whichever way it is used. The process is reversible one.
Activated alumina can also be used to remove the fluoride from the drinking water. Further details of this usage can be found below.
As a desiccant, silica gel can be used for a multitude of purposes. The most common use is to use silica gel as packets in electronics items packages to preserve these items. The preservation is done by preventing damage by moisture that condenses and forms mould on the affected electronics items.
Another common item using silica gel is vitamin pills. Silica gel helps to slow down the rate of decomposition in the vitamin pill packages. With the use of silica gel packets, the items can be maintained at a longer period of time.
Silica gel as a desiccant also helps to keep relative humidity inside a high frequency radio as low as possible. This also applies to satellite transmission system waveguide. As excessive moisture that is collected within a waveguide can cause arcing inside and damage the power amplifier, silica gel is placed in a jar and a small compressed air system is used to circulate the air inside the waveguide over the jar.
In some factory buildings, silica gel is used to dry the air in industrial compressed air systems. Air flows from the compressor discharge through a bed of silica gel beads. The silica gel then adsorbs air moisture and in this process, prevents damage at this point due to condensation or moisture. This methodology is also applied at railway locomotives.
Another area of application of silica gel is in the library and museum to control relative humidity of exhibits and storage. Many other applications of silica gel include diagnostic test strips and syringes in many hospital or clinic environments.
Activated charcoal is used in storage of methane and hydrogen mainly. Its many other heavier uses include air purification, gold purification, decaffeination, water purification, medicine, sewage treatment, air filtration in gas masks and teeth whitening.
Among the uses of activated carbon, the most common one is in the manufacturing industries. One of them is metal finishing to purify electroplating solutions. In this process, activated carbon helps to remove organic impurities from bright nickel plating solutions, subsequently improving the deposit qualities and enhancing brightness and smoothness properties of metals. Organic additives create unwanted products in solution due to direct current and electrolytic reactions of anodic oxidation and cathodic reduction. Such impurities can be removed by activated charcoal treatment and restore plating performance to its optimal level.
The medical uses of activated charcoal include treatment of poisonings and overdoses. These problems occur during oral ingestion and if untreated or not properly taken care of, conditions such as diarrhea, flatulence and indigestion in the stomach may occur.
Another area of activated charcoal is in analytical chemistry, in which it helps to extract the direct oral anticoagulants such as dabigatran from blood plasma samples. It helps to analyse abnormalities in the blood plasma samples.
Environmental applications can be used with activated charcoal too. It undergoes adsorption and removes the pollutants from air or water streams in industrial processes such as drinking water filtration, spill cleanup, air purification, painting, dry cleaning and many others. In fact, activated charcoal filtration is an effective method in water treatment. Another environmental application of activated charcoal is the measurement of radon concentration in air.
The activated alumina is another desiccant which can be applied to businesses and industries. It is used widely in adsorbent and catalyst applications, like hydrogen peroxide production.
One of the most important roles of activated alumina is the removal of fluoride from drinking water. This applies especially so in the USA, whereby rampant programs are set up to fluoridate drinking water. This is done so through the use of activated alumina filters that help to decrease fluoride levels from 10 ppm to less than 1 ppm. Because with more activated alumina in the filter, lesser fluoride will end up in the final filtered water.
Other applications of activated alumina are present in high vacuum to prevent oil produced by rotary vane pumps from flowing back stream into the vacuum system and in biomaterials to cover surfaces that are in friction in body prostheses.