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Desiccants are the hygroscopic agents or compounds that facilitate the induction of stability and dryness into a humid atmosphere and helps in preserving the products during transport, for storage etc. There are varieties of desiccants available like Activated Alumina, Benzophenone, Calcium oxide, instead of other harmful chemicals which absorb the moisture from the surrounding air via physical or chemical reactions. Apart from being used in pharmaceutical drugs,the desiccant is also used to prevent rusting, prevent tarnishing of silver commodities, protect electronic appliances, freshening the other products, and preserve the photos and jewellery. Choosing the right kind of desiccant for the right purpose is important as otherwise, it can show adverse results. For example, salt is a desiccant, but it can be corrosive if used with metal objects. The most effective choice is the desiccant, which has an average absorption rate and average absorption capacity like Silica gel, Bentonite clay, etc.
Types of Desiccants:-
The Desiccants available are of several types to be used for the recommended purpose, but some of them are notable like:-
- Silica Gel- this desiccant remains dry and flows freely. Its absorption capacity is relatively less in low humidity, but it increases as the humidity increases. This can be healed and regenerated.
- Bentonite Clay- this desiccant is dry and has free flow. It has an average adsorption capacity and is economical. It needs minimum processing and can be reactivated.
- Molecular Sieve- it has a high adsorption capacity. It is a very aggressive desiccant among others and is available in a variety of packaging.
- Carbon- this desiccant is mainly used for adsorbing gas and odour. It is available in various packages and is porous.
Molecular Sieve is the most efficient desiccant available as per the technical grounds.
Common features shared by the Desiccants:-
- All desiccants have a good absorption rate to absorb moisture and reduce humidity.
- Some of the desiccants can be heated and regenerated like Silica Gel, Bentonite clay etc.
- The desiccants have a physical appearance like Silica Gel which comes in combination with cobalt chloride and hence turns pink when it comes in contact with water.
- The desiccants also have a melting point and a density, and no boiling point.
Purpose of the Desiccants:-
There are various desiccant manufacturers and suppliers all over, and they provide desiccants for the purpose as needed. While selecting the desiccant, one should make sure to select the right desiccant for the right purpose in order to ensure safety. The desiccant pouches are also available to preserve pharmaceuticals, health care products, nutraceuticals and medical devices. These pouches provide active sorbents to reduce moisture. These Desiccants can be used for:-
- The most important use of desiccants is in the pharmaceutical industry. The pharma desiccants are mainly used to protect the drugs, instruments from the adverse effects of hydrolytic degradation caused due to the moisture by absorbing the moisture.
- The desiccants are also used to protect electrical devices and their parts like laptops and phones and their components from absorbing moisture. They prevent the entering of moisture into those places.
- Desiccants are also used to preserve precious jewellery, antique artefacts in museums by protecting them from atmospheric moisture.
- In Chemical labs, tertian desiccants are used to absorb water from water intolerant solvents.
- It is also used in livestock farming to dry the newborns of the animals.
- The desiccants are also used in the AC and refrigerators.
Everything you need to know:-
The desiccants are very useful but should be used with precaution; otherwise can prove to be harmful to the health. The desiccants should be kept away from the reach of small children because their consumption might lead to choking and sometimes may be fatal. It should not be inhaled as it can affect the lungs, can cause breathing problems and a shortage of breaths. It can also cause temporary blindness, eye irritation, skin irritation if touched and applied to the eye by mistake. Safety is the priority, so one should properly read all the instructions and precautions before using the desiccants.