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Desiccants absorb moisture in containers and in the air that could damage products. Staples carries small and large packets that protect the contents of individual packages, boxes, rail cars and storage containers by removing moisture in the air.
Which Desiccants are the Right Options? Drying agents are commonly available in clay, silica gel and calcium oxide. Clay pulls moisture out of the air at temperatures below 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Clay doesn't swell or deteriorate over time, but can release the moisture back into the air if the temperature exceeds the recommended usage levels. Calcium oxide is a popular option due to its ability to absorb higher amounts of moisture at lower levels of humidity. While calcium oxide removes water vapor more slowly than other options, it works well in situations that require low relative humidity.
Silica gel absorbs moisture in temperatures up to 220 degrees but offers peak performance at the 70 to 90-degree temperature range. This material is FDA approved, making it ideal for food and pharmaceutical applications. Silica can also pull alcohols, ammonia, aromatics, paraffins, diolefins and olefins from the air, but these can be displaced by water in more humid locations.
Choose Packaging Options Based on the Usage Adsorbent materials are available in different size and package options. Smaller .63-inch by 1.28-inch packets are a good choice for using in bottles and small boxes. Larger silica gel packets work well in packages that contain multiple items or individual boxes. Strips and bags protect the contents of shipping containers and other large areas. The material that holds the desiccating agents is also important. Tyvek bags ensure moisture can pass through the packaging while ensuring that dust from the adsorbent material can't exit into the box or container. There are more budget-friendly packaging options for situations where dust entering the air in the container is not an issue.
Is an Indicating Silica Gel or Indicator Card Necessary? There are silica gel packets that contain ingredients that cause the beads to change color based on moisture saturation. As the material absorbs moisture, the color can change from blue to pink or orange to green, depending on the ingredients used as the indicator. When the color changes completely, the desiccants can't absorb any more moisture and need to be replaced to avoid damage to products.
Indicator cards are another option for use in areas where opening individual containers could be problematic or labor-intensive. These cards have small indicators that change from blue to pink based on the relative humidity levels in the air. There are options that indicate specific humidity ranges that ensure proper protection of electronics and other sensitive items. Indicator cards display warnings to show when the adsorbent material needs to be changed and when the item needs to be checked due to high humidity levels. This can increase the protection of moisture-sensitive materials and help eliminate damaged products due to high levels of humidity.
Whether protecting individual items on the shelf or preventing damage in shipping containers and rail cars, Staples carries desiccant options that meet the needs of most users and environments.