Mil Spec: Old & New Specs
How VCI Works
1. What is Desiccant?
Desiccant is any substance that draws and retains moisture from its environment. Different desiccant products have different properties, absorption rates, capacities, effective operating temperature ranges and other considerations. Desiccant is often misspelled as Dessicant.
2. Why use Desiccant?
Desiccant is used when humidity and moisture need to be mitigated. Desiccant is typically an inexpensive, inert and environmentally safe product which very effectively keeps products dry.
3. How do desiccant products work?
The ideal desiccant application involves segregating the item from the environment. Desiccant will absorb moisture until it is completely saturated. If new air is allowed to pass into the area to be protected, the desiccant will eventually become saturated or 'full'. Without some type of 'barrier' (typically a bag) to keep more moisture out, the use of desiccant will be defeated. It would be like throwing a sponge into a lake. This is why when using desiccant it is important to place the item in a relatively isolated condition. This could range from a well-sealed carton lined with a poly bag to a full-fledged heat sealed foil barrier bag with desiccant inside. The desiccant will dry the air inside the container and keep your item dry.
4. How long will Desiccant protect products?
When properly used desiccant should keep products dry for many years. Remember desiccant is like a sponge. The key to a good result with desiccant is good packaging. We get calls all the time stating,” I have a moisture problem in my closet in the basement. I need some desiccant to dry it out”. This is not the way it works. Any desiccant product used in such a situation would quickly become full and useless.
5. Where should desiccant products be used?
Desiccant should be used wherever moisture is detrimental to the product or item. Corrosion and rust can only occur in the presence of moisture. Desiccant offers a very economical solution to this. The desiccant draws and holds the moisture and your product stays dry and undamaged.
6. Is desiccant toxic or environmentally unfriendly?
Neither. In fact, those 'do not eat' packets found in vitamin and medicine bottles are silica gel desiccant . They are very safe for contact with food, medications or items that will come in contact with same. The other most common form of desiccant is actually a super dried natural clay which is totally inert.
7. Is it necessary to use VCI products along with Desiccant to effectively protect the item?
No, it is not necessary, but it is a very good idea if the item you are protecting is very susceptible to corrosion. The more layers of protection you have the better. The 'gold standard' of moisture/corrosion preventive packaging is the threefold approach as developed by the military. Place the item in a sealed barrier bag along with VCI and Desiccant . This is the way military specification (mil spec) packaging is done where the military wants to be sure that the spare parts will be in perfect - as manufactured condition - when opened for use in the field after long term storage or where the parts are to travel by water.
8. What are the benefits of using Desiccant products?
Desiccant products are very inexpensive.
Desiccant products are clean, dry and environmentally safe.
Desiccant products are easy to use and save labor costs.
Desiccant products present virtually no health concerns.