Demystifying silica gel

Steven Weintraub


It is important to understand how silica gels vary in performance in order to select the most costeffective gel for a particular application. MH, the hysteresis corrected buffering capacity of silica gel, is the critical variable for assessing silica gel efficiency. Calculating the correct quantity of silica gel allows for the cost-efficient selection of an appropriate amount of buffering material. If certain variables in the calculation are unknown, such as leakage rate or external RH conditions, general recommendations based on average display conditions have been provided, both for temporary exhibitions and for permanent displays. Finally, simple procedures for the use and maintenance of silica gel have been described. Passive humidity control within an exhibit case, when applied correctly, is a very simple and cost-efficient method of protecting museum collections from humidity induced damage.

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2002 | Miami | Volume 9