Silica gel, is produced synthetically from its compound, ‘sodium silicate’. With a glassy appearance and grainy texture, this naturally occurring compound is processed to be used as a siccative.
|Dry Action at War!
Silica gel was used in World War I for soaking up vapors and gases in canisters.
Silica gel is amorphous and highly poriferous in nature. Its texture is similar to commonly-used compounds such as agar-agar or gelatin. In addition, it is stronger than both these varieties. It is a very powerful moisture-absorbent as it has high affinity to water particles. Therefore, it is mainly used as a drying agent. Silica gel is processed and packed in small-sized paper sachets. These sachets are usually holey for water vapor to be absorbed by the gel.
Advantages of Silica Gel
✒ It has the appearance of tiny beads.
✒ It is neutral and doesn’t react with other materials.
✒ It is non-flammable and has high affinity to water.
✒ It can be reused after mildly heating it.
Uses of Silica Gel Packets
✒ Keeping valuable documents (marksheets, birth certificate, or passport) away from moisture can be achieved by placing a few silica gel sachets in the cabinet with these documents. Also, books and notes can be protected from dampening by placing a packet between the pages.
✒ Grains and seeds are stored in containers to be used through the year. Storage containers which are used to store food material need utmost care to prevent moistness, and this can be attained with the help of silica gel.
✒ Silica gels are always found in medicine or vitamin bottles. This helps keep a check on the moisture and keeps the medicines safe.
✒ Leather shoes, jerkins or jackets get musty when exposed to moisture. Also, if expensive fabric is to be stored at home, silica gel packets need to be placed alongside it for protecting its texture.
✒ Moisture can tarnish silver and thus, jewelry can lose its glow. To maintain this luster, toss a few silica gel packets into the jewelry box or locker.
✒ Detergents and powdered soaps are mostly stored in bathroom which is humid, and can absorb moisture and dampen. Here, silica gel is recommended to keep these powders dry.
✒ Your car dashboard needs to hold a few of these packets so that the windshield remains clear during foggy weather. Similarly a few silica gel packets can be placed on window sills to prevent condensation.
✒ While traveling make sure a few silica gel packets are added to the travel bag and makeup kit. This will prevent any accidentally leaked liquids from spoiling the contents of the bag.
✒ For electronics (cell phone, pen drive, or camera) that are accidentally exposed to water, silica gel is a good way to drain the moisture out. Keeping the device with a few silica gel packets in a zip-lock plastic bag is advisable.
✒ CD’s, DVDs etc. are usually placed in cases. But if the climate is very humid, then there is every possibility that they may absorb moisture. You can place gel sachets in these CD containers.
✒ Shaving tools such as a razor come in contact with water and liquids and can thus, lose its luster. These tools can be placed in silica gel.
✒ When using camera underwater with underwater cases, ensure that you tuck in a few silica packets in the casing along with the camera. This keeps the camera lens protected.
✒ Tools and fasteners in the toolbox are vulnerable to snow or rain. Hence can invite rust. To avoid this situation, this desiccant can be placed in every drawer of the toolbox.
✒ The functioning of arms and guns could be hampered by moisture present in the air. Gunpowder from this weapons must remain dry which can be accomplished by using these packets in gun cases.
✒ Dog or cat food often comes in large quantities and needs to be protected from moisture. Place this food in a bin and stick a few gel packets on the lid of the bin.
✒ Precious belongings such as photographs can readily absorb moisture. In order to avoid this, place a few silica gel packets in envelopes behind photo frames or photo albums.
✒ Packing the used wet clothes back into the bag can be a difficult task. This problem can be solved with silica gel. It removes some of the moisture from the clothes.
✒ Holiday decorations are used just once a year and hence are prone to absorbing moisture. Thus, a few packets of gel need to be appended to the box containing this decor material.
How to Store Silica Gel Packets?
Silica packets need to be stored in airtight containers which are not exposed to sunlight. Airtight containers restrict the moisture and air from entering in, which keeps this gel dry. They have a long lifespan and last very long when stored in the right type of containers.
How to Reactivate Silica Gel Packets?
The used silica gel packets have moisture absorbed in them. In order to reuse these packets, we need to get rid of this moisture. Place them in the microwave oven for about 1 ½ hours at 200 °C temperature or heat the utilized silica for about 2 hours at 120 °C (250 °F) temperature.
Small silica gel packets are found in many things we buy, such as a bottle of vitamins or a box of leather shoes. They are a great way to protect your stuff from moisture. Do make it a point to store the silica gel packets you find. They will always come in handy when you need a quick drying agent.