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What Color is Your Gel?

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Hello everyone! My name is Kolten Burkes and I’m excited to finally have a real home for all of our product knowledge and ideas... not to mention, a place where YOU can visit to ask questions about desiccant products, how they work, what they do and what to look for to measure quality. I’d like to share my first post with everyone.

I thought this would be a great chance to share a graphic I made for our Technical Support Team from the inspiration of an email I received from a customer looking to purchase a pink silica gel. The email came from a company that works with Power Transformers. A customer has eight transformers and was looking for some new silica gel for the breathers. According to the email, the customer was looking to purchase pink silica gel. I replied to clarify that the customer was looking for blue silica gel (lesser known as purple silica gel) that indicates to pink once it had reached water adsorption capacity; a used blue silica gel indicates as pink. The customer had never heard of blue silica gel before, only a pink indicating silica gel, which the customer apparently always received as a dark pink color that later changed to a light pink color.The email came from a company that works with Power Transformers. A customer has eight transformers and was looking for some new silica gel for the breathers. According to the email, the customer was looking to purchase pink silica gel. I replied to clarify that the customer was looking for blue silica gel (lesser known as purple silica gel) that indicates to pink once it had reached water adsorption capacity; a used blue silica gel indicates as pink. The customer had never heard of blue silica gel before, only a pink indicating silica gel, which the customer apparently always received as a dark pink color that later changed to a light pink color.

In the same email, I learned the customer had mentioned having some issues with the pink silica gel that was being received from the manufacturer. The product that the current manufacturing supplier was requiring frequent change outs to be able keep enough moisture out of the system. I was asked about the condition of our packaging and if it was sturdy enough to handle shipping and I assured that it was. The concern was with the packaging that was normally received often had small tears and holes in the bags.

I realized at that moment why the customer had never seen blue silica gel in its fully desorbed form. All the material that the customer received had jeopardized packaging, which exposed the desiccant to open air and began adsorbing moisture before ever being put into the transformer breather system. Since the material had already lost a lot of adsorption capacity, it was no wonder why the customer felt that the material was having to be changed out too frequently.

I created the graphic above to help explain to the customer pink silica gel should arrive as a need blue color and will only turn pink once adsorption capacity has been reached. With a better understanding of the material, the customer now changes out the blue indicating (to pink) silica gel less frequently. Be cautious of the condition of the desiccant material that you receive and make sure the product you ordered maintained its full integrity while being shipped to you or your customer. If exposed to open air, the desiccant material will immediately begin to lose working capacity and might cause additional issues as well. A new, minimally exposed blue indicating silica gel should be almost a deep purple and will start to turn more translucent towards a pink or clear color once water has been adsorbed. This is due to the cobalt in the silica gel, which reacts in a similar manner as litmus paper and changes color based on pH values. Beware of the color of your gel and make sure you’re receiving the quality and care that you deserve.

Silica-Gel: Myths vs Facts

Let's settle the score right here right now .  There are a few misconceptions when it comes to Silica Gel that are just plain false.  Here we will walk through some of the popular ones so you can make informed decisions about these products:

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