November 1, 2021

Laboratory instrument used for the dry preservation of a sample . There are substances whose compositions can be affected by exposure to moisture. Moisture saturation makes it difficult to transfer mass in a space and the substances that result from it can begin to break down.

Exposure to heat is one of the most used ways to combat humidity; however, depending on the type of substance, this may not be the best way since, in itself, the change in temperature can generate reactions in the substance. Likewise, it is not suitable for conservation, so the desiccator is used.

What is a Desiccator?

The desiccator is a two-part instrument; a large cavity that is used to place the sample to be preserved and another with less space to house the desiccant. A desiccant element is one that has hygroscopic qualities , that is, it absorbs moisture from the environment.

One of the most widely used desiccants is silica gel, which, thanks to its great porosity, absorbs moisture in closed environments. This is not toxic or flammable and regenerates at a temperature of 150 ° C. However, this is not the only desiccant used in desiccators, as these vary depending on the substance.

Phosphorous oxide, sodium / potassium hydroxide, or sulfuric acid are in common use. Anhydrous sodium or magnesium sulfate is used in the solutions; As you can see, there are several options and they vary, depending on the substance to be dried.

The desiccator works with a vacuum seal , this because the vacuum is the lack of material in a space; in this space, therefore, the density of particles is very low. The desiccant process is carried out in this condition so that the sample is not exposed to the environment that can give it moisture.

To guarantee this condition, many desiccators have in their design a stopcock to extract the air from inside the container. Something to keep in mind is that due to its vacuum sealed condition, opening the container after the desiccant process can be a bit difficult.

What is a Descador for?

The desiccator removes moisture from a sample , dehydrates it, allowing it to remain in optimal conditions by isolating it from the agents that may come into contact with it in the environment. This is done without causing alterations in the sample as would be done through changes in temperature or direct contact with other substances.

The sample and the desiccant material are kept separate thanks to the platform located between them, which prevents them from coming into contact, but which has grids to allow the desiccant to act on the sample, absorbing the humidity from the environment.

Uses of the Dryer

Desiccator is used to both dehydrate and preserve a substance and is required in various types of chemical procedures. The desiccator is also used in the cooling process of samples to prevent them from absorbing moisture; although this use requires certain precautions because when heated it can increase the pressure by breaking the adjustment of the lid, or cause a partial vacuum.

The desiccator, despite being an instrument of simple use, needs certain precautions in its use; If the sample is too hot, it is wise to wait for it to cool down slightly so as not to cause sudden pressure changes in the desiccator. Likewise, when removing the lid, it must be done in a sliding manner so as not to alter the sample with the abrupt change in pressure.

Another important consideration is what type of desiccant to use and this should be done by evaluating the sample and the procedure. There are desiccants that do not work as well in certain types of substances, or are faster than others, as well as the difference in the control they maintain over the humidity levels, even factors such as the economy can be decisive when choosing a desiccant.

The cleanliness of the same and the hermetic sealing are factors that also influence the sample. In general, the desiccator is used in various procedures in the laboratory that require preservation of the sample or drying without exposure to humidity, for the treatment of samples sensitive to it that cannot be preserved in the environment.

Types of Dryer

There are different types of desiccators, although they all fulfill the same function, so although they have slight differences in design, in terms of functionality they all remain in the same term. Still, design differences can be significant when choosing a desiccator, so here are the different types:

  • Circular dryer

    Of the most common type, generally used for small or medium samples. It is made of plastic or glass, the glass being the most complicated to manipulate.

  • Cabinet dryer

    Used for large samples, it is a square desiccator, similar to a box. They come in polycarbonate, acrylic, or stainless steel. A particular feature of these is that there are models that come with multiple cameras.

Both types of desiccators can be found with vacuum sealed or not, with a key for the extraction of air and different materials. But the main difference between them is that the circular is preferable for small samples and their transport, while the cabinet for large samples and keep them.

Desiccator Features

The desiccator, in either of its two types, are easy to identify and use; having distinguishable characteristics among laboratory materials. In itself, it is composed of four to five parts depending on the type, which are:

  • Body

The largest part and the one that contains the others, is divided into two unequal parts.

  • Way

It is used to seal the sample.

  • Removable platform

It is used for body parts, it has holes and it is where the sample is placed. This can be made of porcelain, plastic or steel, with steel being the best option.

  • Door

It is used for the cabinet type, it fulfills the function of the lid.

  • Thermohygrometer

It is used for the cabinet type, it allows to have control of the humidity level.

The vacuum tap is optional depending on the model and can come in any of the desiccator types. An additional feature of the cabinet type is that it can have multiple layers if it has multiple levels for sample storage.

Importance of the Dryer

The desiccator is an instrument of great importance for the handling of samples and the care of these in the various procedures carried out in the laboratory. Maintaining the integrity of the samples is one of the main concerns of scientists and the desiccator is a great tool for this.

The laboratory tools fulfill a specific function that allows the processes to be carried out satisfactorily and all of them are important and relevant within their scope.

Dr. Loony Davis5
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Born and raised in Brussels in an English family, I have always lived in a multicultural environment. After several work experiences in marketing and communication, I came to Smart Water Magazine, which I describe as the most exciting challenge of my career.
I am a person with great restlessness and curiosity to learn, discover what I do not know, as well as reinvent myself daily, someone who is curious about life and wants to know. I enjoy sharing knowledge.
This is my personal project but I also collaborate in other blogs, it is the case, the most important web on water currently exists in the US, if you are interested you can read my articles here.

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