Experts in Humidity & Moisture Control

General FAQ's

At Baltimore, we are always very happy to help you with any questions that you might have; therefore if you want to look up a particular term of reference, or if you want to do some general background reading, then we provide our FAQs “Frequently Asked Questions” section below.

You can find them here: Datasheets and MSDS Sheets

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You can find them here: Datasheets and MSDS Sheets

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Desiccants are materials that have a “drying effect” on the materials and or environment around them. Desiccants are typically used to remove water vapour (humidity) from the air. Common forms of desiccant used within packaging are Silica Gel Sachets and Molecular Sieve sachets

For manufacturers of plastics, where the desiccant is required within the polymer itself, 3A Zeolite Molecular Sieve Powder is a common desiccant.

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Common forms of desiccants include: silica gel, molecular sieves, activated alumina, etc. in many shapes and formats. You can find out more about products that contain these chemicals here:

Silica Gel sachets

Desiccant Canisters

Molecular Sieve Sachets

Silica Gel Beads (bulk)

Molecular Sieve Beads

Activated Alumina Beads

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Desiccants are commonly used to prevent moisture damaging sensitive products during storage and distribution. 

– They help to maintain the shelf-life pharmaceutical preparations and food stuffs 

(see: Molecular Sieve Sachets)

– They protect against mould and rot, with textile products 

(See: Container Rainstop)

– They help to ensure the consistency of plastic polymers, such as polyurethane 

(See 3A SUPERSIV Powder)

– They help to protect ferrous metal objects from corrosion in long term storage 

(See: VCI Products), and 

– They also help to protect electronic items form system failure due to humidity ingress 

(See: SUPERDRYPAK Silica Gel bags)

If you need further assistance, then we will be very happy to help you. Just click on the green button below, and one of our Product Experts will call you back straight-away…

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Technically speaking, both a desiccant and an absorbent soak-up water. However, in industrial terms the term ‘desiccant’ is typically used to describe a product that adsorbs water when it is in vapour state (i.e. when it is invisible ‘humidity’), and the term ‘absorbent’ is typically used to describe a product that soaks-up water when the water is in a visible liquid state (e.g. a fluid that has been spilt on the floor). Worldwide, the most common form of Desiccant is silica gel bags and our most popular form or Absorbent is our range of dissolving liquid adsorbents.

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Silica Gels are a form of beaded or granular desiccant that is used for drying or dehumidifying sealed environments. Most people will have seen these gels where they are sealed in small white ‘sachets and are included in the packaging of medicines or electronic equipment. However, in industry, they are also used in bulk quantities, as free-fill media for air dryers and desiccant breathers.

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Indicating silica gels are small round beads of crystalline alumino-silicate that function as a desiccant or drying agent, just like normal silica gel does. However, they differ from regular silica gel in that they change colour from Orange (when they are dry) to Dark Green (when they are wet), so not only desiccate but also indicate.

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Molecular Sieves are zeolites crystals, made from synthetic alumino-silicates. They are available with different pore sizes. These pore sizes dictate the size and type of molecules that they can absorb. By using different forms of these zeolites, with different pore sizes, you can thus sieve out various molecules based on their molecular diameter. You can think of this process as being exactly the same as the sieving and grading of industrial rocks/aggregates, but just done on a molecular level. At Baltimore, we specialise in 3A Zeolite Powder and Pastes. They can actually remove very small molecules such as water and thus they function as desiccants.

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Barrier foils are a flexible sheet material, made-up of a thin aluminium foil layer, combined with 2 or 3 layers of polymer films, all laminated together to form one single sheet of material. They provide an excellent barrier to moisture, and it is used to form a hermetically sealed pouch in which a desiccant can then work. For more information, please click here, or speak to one of our Product Experts.

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HICs are small paper cards with special (reactive) ink-spots on them. They are designed to measure the relative humidity within a packaged environment. The humidity level is indicated by a colour change of the dots, from blue (when dry) to pink (when saturated). For more information, please click here, or speak to one of our Product Experts.

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SUPERDRYSIM™ is our advanced software for modelling moisture-behaviour within a sealed package. We use it to help manufacturers optimise their packaging in response to specific temperature and relative humidity conditions, and decreases the lead-time required to achieve product stability compared to more traditional techniques. In this way, manufacturers are guaranteed precise packaging solution at the minimum cost. For more information, please click here, or speak to one of our Product Experts.

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PRONTOPACKER™ is an advanced and reliable desiccant dispenser, designed to insert accurately desiccant sachets into automated high-speed production lines. This machine takes continuous-strip desiccants, cuts them into individual sachets, and then places them into your packaging, whether that be a bottle (on a high-speed bottling line) or a pouch (produced on an automated flow-wrapper). For more information, please click here, or speak to one of our Product Experts.

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HUMIBALANCE™ sachets are designed to maintain a specific humidity level, rather than reducing it to zero. If in-pack humidity is too high, then they adsorb moisture and if it is too low, then they release moisture. The overall effect is humidity maintenance at a specific level that is suitable for your product. For more information, please click here, or speak to one of our Product Experts.

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Oxygen absorbers are used to remove oxygen from within the product’s sealed packaging.

They are used to protect pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, diagnostic, food products from oxygen degradation and oxidative reactions, thus extending the shelf life – There are 2 types of oxygen absorber the Reliant type and Self-Reliant type . The reliant type (sometimes known as “moisture-activated”) relies on the presence of moisture inside the packaging to become activate – The Non-reliant (sometimes known as “self-activating”) do not rely on the presence of moisture within the package, in order to become activated

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In addition to a range of physical products, we also offer our expert advice through our Consultancy. This service is particularly useful for start-up companies who don’t have a large R&D Department that can answer their packaging questions for them. It is also very useful for larger companies who are either working against a tight deadline, and need answers quickly, and/or established companies who are launching a new product into a new market sector in which they have little prior experience. For more information, please click here, or speak to one of our Product Experts.

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It is possible to regenerate silica gel by re-heating it, but we do NOT recommend this, for three main reasons:

With every heat-and-saturation cycle the crystal structure within the silica gel becomes more and more damaged (it’s just like photo-copying a photo-copy), and with every re-heating cycle the product’s quality decreases, and total adsorption capacity decreases.

In Europe and the USA, the cost of energy for heating the silica gel, is actually more than the cost of buying a brand new silica gel sachet. So it costs you more to regenerate these bags yourself.

In almost all cases, the temperature at which you need to heat the Silica Gel is higher than the burning temperature of the sachet or plastic housing that contains the Silica Gel. Therefore, you have a choice of: [a] heating the silica effectively and setting fire to the sachet/housing, or [b] not setting fire to the exterior sachet, and in doing so, not drying the silica beads to a level required to regenerate them.
For all of these reasons, we do NOT recommend re-generating your silica gel.

Note also that if you are using a standard white packet of white silica gel, then it’s not easy to tell when the silica has been saturated, and when it needs replacing. For this reason, we have developed a range of indicating silica gels, which clearly shows (via a colour change) when the silica has become saturated, and when you need to replace the sachet.

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If you require further information or assistance, or if you simply prefer to speak or write to us with a more specific requirement, please feel free to contact us at any time.

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