Silica Gel Packs?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by J Rollinger, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. J Rollinger

    J Rollinger Member

    Messages:
    469
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I just received some Silica Gel Packs that i bought from Freestyle for the purpose of putting them in my Rz67 case and also with my enlarging lenses but I'm concerned because there are blue crystals falling out of their plastic cases! Did i buy the correct ones? I dont want my camera and lenses to get covered with these crystals.

    Thanks!
     

    Attached Files:

    • 026.JPG
      026.JPG
      File size:
      48.8 KB
      Views:
      36
  2. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

    Messages:
    1,629
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The blue crystals are indicators. They will turn pink when the silica gel is saturated with moisture.

    You can regenerate your silica gel crystals by placing them in a heat proof container and baking them in the oven at about 250-300º F for a couple of hours. When the crystals turn blue again, it's ready to use.

    The blue crystals are no different than the other crystals except that, when they were manufactured, they were doped with cobalt chloride. They should not have any negative effects on the items they are stored with.

    Museums use silica gel with blue indicator crystals to preserve and store precious objects with. If there were any negative effects from it, they would not use it.

    However, cobalt is a somewhat toxic substance. Wash up after handling and before eating, etc. and, of course, don't eat them. :wink:

    You can regenerate and reuse silica gel crystals virtually indefinitely provided you keep them clean.
     
  3. J Rollinger

    J Rollinger Member

    Messages:
    469
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for the info! In the past i always used the small silica packs that came with electronics so i was surprised to see these large plastic packs! My bag contains a RZ67, lens, 2 backs, light meter and spot attachment... I don't think i can even fit one of these large packs in there but i will try. Thanks Again!
     
  4. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

    Messages:
    1,629
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Go to the craft store and look for "Dri Splendor" silica gel in 1.5 lb plastic zip-closure bags.

    http://shop.hobbylobby.com/products/dri-splendor-silica-gel-109728/

    The stuff costs $6.00 for a pound and a half. It is the exact same thing that you get anywhere else.

    I take plastic 5 fl. oz. "Dixie" cups and fill them half full of the crystals. Then I cover the top with a paper coffee filter and use two rubber bands to keep it shut. I place my silica gel pack inside the container with my moisture sensitive gear.

    I can turn the cups over, give them a shake and look through the transparent bottom of the cup to see if any of the crystals are pink. IF the silica gel is saturated with moisture, I can open the cup, dump it into a glass dish and bake in the oven. When it has cooled, I can put it back in my cups and use it again.

    You might have seen me mention this before: I just inherited a whole bunch of photographic equipment. So far I have 32 military style ammo cans full of cameras and gear. I used the above method to store it all in the ammo cans.

    I have already gone through about 5 pounds of the stuff and I'm only about 3/4 of the way through.

    BTW: Those silica packs you get inside electronics and other stuff are good because they are free but keep in mind that they might be saturated. It would be wise to bake them and dry them out. If they are in a package that has doubtful heat resistance, open the pack and dump them out. You can use coffee filters and photographic tape to make a new pack or you can carefully cut open the original pack so as not to destroy it then seal it up again with photo tape.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2011
  5. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,578
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I take two silicon packs at night with a Blue Sapphire Gin martini with two garlic stuffed olives. I find that this improves my photography in the morning! :wink:

    Steve
     
  6. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

    Messages:
    1,629
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I bet those are DRY martinis! :D
     
  7. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,578
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You got that right.

    Steve