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Desiccants, but not as we know them

Desiccants, but not as we know them Silica gel bags, which have been keeping packaging and sensitive technology dry for generations, could soon be a thing of the past, with North London company Brownell now ready to export VMAP - a new and far more practical desiccant. Unveiled recently after several years of development, VMAP represents a breakthrough in desiccant technology, standing out in its versatility. It can be moulded or machined to complex shapes as required to fit specific applications, and can be fixed in place easily with adhesives or screws. Each cubic centimetre has an effective surface area of 600m3 and goes further than traditional desiccants in not only dealing with moisture but can adsorb odours and organic volatiles too. Unlike traditional gel bags, it is non-toxic, and it can also be 'recycled'. VMAP, which stands for Versatile Moisture Adsorbent Polymer is made from silica gel molecular sieves bound into a polymer, and was developed through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership between Brownell and Reading University. Over the past three years, Brownell funded research by graduate student Pierre Tchale, supervised by Reading's Professor Howard Calquhoun and Dr Wayne Hayes. It has a huge potential in a wide range of applications including electronics, telecoms, aerospace, defence and optics, preventing moisture from affecting sensitive systems such as electronics, instruments and industrial enclosures, which may be deployed in hostile environments affected by humidity or extreme variations in temperature. VMAP is also useful in packaging solutions, providing controlled and ongoing absorptive capabilities in specialist or long term packaging, and it has the advantage that it can be fixed in place so, unlike desiccant bags, it will not move about or generate dust or fibres in transit.

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