Humidity Control Specialists: Dehumidification & Accelerated Drying


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Is silica gel a desiccant?

What is a Desiccant?

June 17, 2019

From our customers dipping their toes into the waters of dehumidification though, we often hear the same questions asked. It’s only natural to want to understand how your industrial dehumidifier functions, and we’re always happy to answer. However, we thought it prudent to tackle one of the most common questions here. Namely, what is a desiccant, anyway?

What is a Desiccant?

When we speak about desiccant in relation to dehumidifiers, we’re talking about the material in the dehumidifier which pulls moisture out of the air.

Desiccants are hygroscopic materials which eliminate humidity from the air by absorbing moisture. You’ll have encountered them in everyday life before, typically in silica gel packets which are included with everything from shoes to technology, to stop moisture from affecting the product.

In a desiccant dehumidifier, the desiccant material is typically a highly-porous silica gel, which is rotated within the dehumidifier as moist air is passed over it. The desiccant pulls the moisture out of the air and passes it back into the room before the gel is heated to release the moisture and the warm, wet air is fed out of the building.

Why Choose Desiccant?

Desiccant dehumidifier technology is primarily rivalled by refrigerant dehumidifiers in industrial applications. However, we believe that in most cases, desiccant dehumidifiers are the superior choice.

Why? Well, refrigerant dehumidifiers work by passing warm, moist air over a cold evaporating coil, dropping the air below its dewpoint temperature and creating condensation from the moist air, drying it in the process. Then, the air is passed over warm coils before being fed out into the building.

This method has a number of significant drawbacks, however, including vastly higher energy demands than desiccant dehumidification, reduced accuracy, increased noise and an inability to function at low air temperatures.

Desiccant dehumidifiers, on the other hand, are capable of removing vast amounts of moisture from the air and are able to operate within extremely strict tolerances, drawing up to 132kg/hr of water from the air in conditions well below 0°c. Indeed, where RH% levels below 40% are required, desiccant dehumidifiers are the only reliable option. They are able to achieve RH% levels of less than 1%.

To conclude…

At dehum, desiccant dehumidifiers are our speciality. For 23 years, we’ve worked closely with businesses across the pharmaceutical, industrial, chemical and food & drink industries to provide dehumidification systems which closely control air humidity in order to improve yield, safety and reliability.

We’ve made our name through industry-leading desiccant dehumidifiers, and remain staunch believers in the value of desiccant dehumidifiers over competing technologies.

For those reasons and more, dehum have always believed in the power of desiccant dehumidification. Want to learn more about our desiccant rotor powered dehumidifiers? Get in touch with a member of our team today and learn how your business can benefit from desiccant dehumidification.

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How our systems can help

Using our engineering expertise and skill base, we are able to design unique applications, based on calculated psychometrics, to achieve and maintain optimum relative humidity levels (RH%) or accelerating drying. 

We have been behind extensive improvements in productivity across a multitude of industries.

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