The Handy Guide to Using Silica Gel to Your Advantage in Different Applications
When you open a packed gadget or clothes or certain food items, you might have spotted a little paper pouch placed along with the packed material. These packets contain nothing but silica gel, a desiccant that shows exceptional results. This gel, by itself is usually found in a granular form of silica that is synthetically made from sodium silicate. Though it is referred to as gel, it is usually found in a solid form. Since it has a strong affinity for water molecules, this gel is widely used for any application that requires keeping moisture at bay—this explains why it is often used in everyday applications. Because it effectively controls humidity, this gel can help in preventing moisture-related degradation and spoilage.
As is common knowledge, the presence of moisture leads to proliferation of fungus and mold, when it comes to food products. In the case of electronic and electrical products, the presence of moisture may lead to condensation and this in turn, might cause severe damage to the gadget or appliance. But when silica gel is placed alongside these products, the moisture as well as odors and even certain vapors can be effectively absorbed. This helps in prolonging the longevity of the said products. Interestingly, this gel also comes in handy for use in advanced applications such as satellite transmission systems and a high frequency radio. Moisture can cause grave damage to the power amplifier present in these systems and it could even lead to changes in frequency, if not check in time. Hence, the placement of silica helps in controlling all of these factors.
Silica beads are also commonly used to protect leather products such as shoes, belts, jackets, bags and other accessories. Moisture is known to be the biggest enemy of leather and this is why manufacturers of leather products always advise you to keep your leather products dry. Using silica ensure just this. That explains why you often find little packets of silica gel placed in your leather product packets.
Industrial compressed air systems also heavily depend on silica for keeping the air free of moisture. Moreover, silica is also extensively used in museums and libraries to prevent moisture from settling on valuable and priceless art works and also books. This little substance is also known to be useful in chromatography, which is a chemistry-related field.
What you have just learnt are just a handful of uses of silica. There are innumerable other uses of silica gel that cover different industries. Since silica can prove to be harmful if consumed, most silica gel packets come with a warning that advises people against consuming these little beads of silica. But when it comes to regular use, this gel is non-flammable, non-toxic and also non-reactive, making it suitable for diverse industries.