Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Desiccant'
n : a substance that promotes drying (e.g., calcium oxide
absorbs water and is used to remove moisture) [syn: drying
agent, drier, sicative]
- Desiccant \De*sic"cant\, a. [L. desiccans, p. pr. of desiccare.
Drying; desiccative. -- n. (Med.) A medicine or application
for drying up a sore. --Wiseman.
Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Desiccant'
A desiccant is a hygroscopic substance that induces or sustains a state of dryness (desiccation) in its local vicinity in a moderately well-sealed container.
Commonly encountered pre-packaged desiccants are solids, and work through absorption or adsorption of water, or a combination of the two. Desiccants for specialized purposes may be in forms other than solid, and may work through other principles, such as chemical bonding of water molecules.
Pre-packaged desiccant is most commonly used to remove excessive humidity that would normally degrade or even destroy products sensitive to moisture. Some commonly used as desiccants are: Silica gel, calcium sulfate, calcium chloride, montmorillonite clay, and molecular sieves.
Rice is a common "low-tech" alternative frequently used, for example, in salt-shakers to maintain granularity of table salt for effective pouring or shaking. Rice, however, is not a good general purpose desiccant since, unless immersed in an organism-hostile environment like pure salt, over time may be eaten by creatures that might in turn contaminate the product that is being preserved. Salt itself is another effective desiccant, used for millennia in preparation of dried food and also to mummify corpses.[See more about Desiccant at Dictionary 3.0 Encyclopedia]