Amorphous and porous form of silicon dioxide is called Silica Gel. Silica Gel is known and put to use as early as 1640, but remained dormant until its absorbent properties were found to be of great use in gas masks during World War I. Silica Gel is commonly prepared by acidification of solution of silicate, like water glass, the resulting acid forms either a rigid mass or gelatinous precipitate from which the soluble materials are removed by running it under water. The water is then removed by heating which then leaves a glassy granular particle.
The density of silica gel is 2.2 grams per millilitre, but the porous nature leaves it with much lesser bulk density. Commercial silica gel has a bulk density of 0.7 gram per millilitre and surface area of about 750 square meters per gram.
Silica Gel Types and Uses
There are predominantly four types of Silica Gel. Clear pellets, which has a pore diameter 2.5mm, and has drying and moisture proof properties makes it suitable to be used as catalyst carriers, adsorbents, separators and variable pressure adsorbent.
Translucent white pellets, has a pore diameter of 4.5 – 7.0nm, absorbs liquid, drier and perfume carriers. It can also be used ad catalyst carriers, cat litter.
Translucent micro pored structure, I the raw material used for preparation of cat litter. Additionally, when dried and screened, it forms a macro pored silica gel which can be used as drier, absorbent and catalyst carrier.
There are few types of silica gel that comes with organic indicators. Silica alumina gel has light yellow, chemically stable, flame resistant and is insoluble except in alkali or hydrofluoric acid. It also has superficial polarity, thermal stability, greater performance than fine-pores silica gel.
The impregnated organic colours are rated to be completely safe and when the gel is free from moisture the particles are orange and as they are put to use, they gradually change colour from orange to yellow and then to green which is a ready indication of saturation. It is mostly used in a low dust beaded form with granular versions are also available.
Iron salts are also used as the additive, high-capacity desiccant changes from a deep orange to very pale-yellow colour. These indicators make the silica gel suit repeated regeneration and reuse. It is available in granular and beaded physical forms. While self-indicating silica gels are non-toxic the blue to pink self-indicating silica gel is classified as toxic in the year 2000.
Silica Gel has using in various applications and few to mention are Drying and cleaning of air and gases, True Replacement to Blue material in Silica gel Transformers breathers, Pharmaceutical Products, Textiles Drying of analytical samples, Drying of solvent, Sample preparation for Karl-Fischer titrations , Protection of moisture damage to your electronic and communication articles, Electronic circuit boards and semiconductors manufacturers, Optical instruments and devices, Protection of Export Consignments from moisture in salty atmosphere, Drying and storage of Flowers and Seeds, Packing Industries, Pressure vessel Manufacturers , Valves preservation, Drying of synthesis products, Leather Products , Dry out a Wet Mobiles, Dry out fishing files.
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