A Silica Gel Bead Conditioning Experiment
Posted 22 March 2007 - 04:18 PM
As with most experiments you always need to work around road blocks and I've already ran into one. Kinda funny when I think about it..... you'll see why in a moment.
First, I had a baggy full of Kitty Litter beads left over from three years ago. These were unconditioned beads that have been sitting in my garage. I gathered up some equipment... an old humi, digital hygro, KL beads.
I planned to put equal amounts of conditioned beads and unconditioned beads in each container.
As with any experiment you need to know a few base things first so time to test some equipment. Salt test - 75% - Bingo!
Next was to test current rh on the unconditioned beads........ Was I reading that right? 65%? WTH?
I'm guessing that the beads reconditioned themselves sitting in the garage all this time...lol. I'm not positive of this yet and am running a few more mini experiments to verify this. I'll update this as I complete those tests. If thats the case my experiment is toast unless someone has some unconditioned KL they want to send to me.
More to follow........
Posted 22 March 2007 - 04:26 PM
Posted 22 March 2007 - 04:50 PM
I will trade KLH for the Wii in the background
Just don't accidentally throw it through the TV screen.
Posted 22 March 2007 - 05:08 PM
Posted 22 March 2007 - 05:23 PM
Kenny, email sent.
Got it thanks.
Don't get me started on that Wii system..... ungrateful little brats. LOL! You'd think they let the ol man win a few games wouldn't you?
Posted 23 March 2007 - 01:13 PM
By "managed correctly" do you mean misting the conditioned beads periodically when they become dry? I can't see why that wouldn't work as it's the same thing you do with your cigars. The only difference is that the unconditioned beads will deplete the conditioned beads more rapidly and more frequently.
Yes, the concern here is not allowing the conditioned beads to become conditioned to a lower rh because of the unconditioned beads keeping it at a point below its normal conditioned rh. (did that make sense? ) LOL I'm making this as clear as mud right?
Well, I took the unconditioned beads that were showing a steady read at 65% and added a little distilled water. It slowly rose to 70% and after approx 18 hours is still rock solid on 70%. It wasn't what I wanted to see happen but it is what it is.
Now I am a little suspect of possibly over saturating them so I've opened the humidor up and am going to let it air out for a day or so to see if I can get any movement of the RH. The beads very well could have already been fully hydrated and by me adding more just over saturated them resulting in the higher rh. We'll see....... more to come.
Posted 26 March 2007 - 09:46 AM
Sunday afternoon I closed the humi up and some 20 hours later we have a reading of 65/66%. It actually is flipping back and forth between 65 and 66% so I suspect it will settle at 66 over the next few hours. We'll see.
The plan now is to just leave the beads as they are, except for an occasional opening of the humi, just like real life, and see what happens. I'm expecting the rh to slowly drop in time. Once it gets in the approx 62% range i will add 3 cc's of water and see what happens. After allowing adequate time to get a good rh reading I will continue each stage with adding an additional 3 cc's of water and measuring rh.
Posted 26 March 2007 - 11:03 AM
Posted 26 March 2007 - 12:56 PM
Posted 26 March 2007 - 02:22 PM
When I leave a lid open, you can almost see a waterspout as the moisture is sucked out! Your RH must be on the high end of 50 inside the house.
You're prob right. One thing we have down here is humidity....lots and lots of humidity. Since I don't know what the house rh is I decided to test the the room I'm using. Its currently at 59% but really need to give it some time for an accurate reading. Might not be the best time to do this as the weather calls for very high humidity and rain around here over the next couple of days. I'm sure I'll get some flux as the air conditioner kicks on and off. I'll repeat this test down the road.
Just looked at a weather report...... +90% humidity the next day or two...hehe! Is it any wonder that these beads were already conditioned just sitting in my garage over the years. LOL!
Posted 27 March 2007 - 07:03 AM
Posted 27 March 2007 - 10:13 AM
I took a hygro out of my regular humidor to test the room rh. While these hygros are useually within 1% of each other I figured without testing it first I could be skewing the experiment so I decided to pull the one out of the testing humidor that I've already tested and know is spot on. I'm glad to report that after approx 24 hours I have the same reading on both hygros. I now know I have a second accurate hygro that I can use for side experiments.
Current room rh 58%.
I suspect this next stage could take some time. There's nothing in the humidor to absorb rh and this humi has a seal tighter than a virgin. I'll continue to open the humi a few times a day and see what happens.
Posted 27 March 2007 - 12:03 PM
I've resent the article to you but here's the excerpt regarding drying the beads for general consumption.
1. CONDITIONING SILICA GEL OUTSIDE THE EXHIBIT CASE
The most efficient method of removing moisture is with heat. Although silica gel has a very high melting temperature (16000 C), it will lose its chemically bound water and hygroscopic properties if heated above 300° C. In addition, there is a new class of indicator gels, incorporating organic dyes that are heat sensitive and their color indicating dye will be effected above 125-150° C (Goldberg and Weintraub 2001). Therefore, it is not recommended that indicating silica gel be heated above 120° C and regular gel be heated above 200° C. The principle impact of a lower heat of regeneration is that a longer time is required to dry the gel and there is less potential for the degradation of silica gel properties.
In a conventional oven, the time of regeneration varies from minutes to hours, depending on temperature and the thickness of the gel. Although silica gel can be dried in a microwave oven, it is difficult to determine the temperature inside the gel. Also, since metal cannot be used in a microwave oven, only glass, ceramic or microwave safe plastic with a high melting temperature should be used to hold the gel, since the individual beads can become very hot.
Posted 27 March 2007 - 01:44 PM
Thanks for the resend. I found the original files you sent me. I really need to organize my files. Why I file some things under Silica and others under Beads I have no idea.
Edited by Allofus123, 27 March 2007 - 01:45 PM.
Posted 29 March 2007 - 09:11 AM
I'm opening the humi for about 30 minutes each morning and then getting my reading the next morning before opening again. Now that the rh appears to be dropping I'm going to reduce the opening time to approx 5 minutes each day. Currently when I have the humi open the RH drops to the 57-59% range which is pretty much in line with the current room rh.
Will post again with the next drop in rh.
Posted 29 March 2007 - 07:59 PM
I love the marriage of Science and Stogies!
Posted 02 April 2007 - 12:55 PM
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