Desiccators cabinets are special storage equipments that are used to store items which are sensitive to moisture. They’re designed to create a moisture free environment inside of them, so they can store chemicals that react to moisture, or materials like microelectronics that can get damaged by moisture. The inner region of a desiccator has little to no humidity.
Desiccators are used in labs and facilities that deal with various sensitive chemicals. They’re also used to store microelectronic components and semiconductors. Besides, they may be found in other settings where it’s necessary to store any material in a low humidity atmosphere. Most labs or manufacturing plants require multi-chamber desiccator cabinets, because they need to store large amount of materials. But before buying a desiccator cabinet, it’s important to be aware about its various specifications so that an appropriate model can be chosen.
Different Specifications of multi-chamber desiccator cabinets
- Size, dimensions and number of chambers
The first and obvious specification is the size or dimension of the cabinet. This varies according to the manufacturer. Another aspect is the number of chambers, as these cabinets can have anywhere between two to ten chambers or even more than that if necessary.
- Body material
The body or the main framework of desiccator cabinets can be made of acrylic, static-dissipative PVC or even stainless steel.
The acrylic body is rigid and economic, but not resistant to alcoholic cleaning agents. Static-dissipative PVC is resistant to alcoholic agents as well as static charges so they are suitable for materials that are sensitive to electromagnetic charges. However, they are more expensive than acrylic.
Stainless steel provides the highest level of resistance and is corrosion proof as well. But they are not commonly used for the body frame. They are very costly to manufacture, so stainless steel body is foundmostly in custom-made desiccators.
- Door and locking mechanism
The door frames, handles and hinges are usually made of stainless steel for maximum protection and resistance from corrosion. There may be a locking mechanism or not, depending on the model.
- Desiccants or Nitrogen-gas
This is an important specification of desiccators. A desiccant is a substance that absorbs moisture in enclosed environments, thereby creating a dry atmosphere. They are the main agents responsible for humidity free interiors of the desiccators. Silica gel is a commonly used desiccant. The advantage of silica gel in desiccators is that it’s cheap, and silica can be heated and reused. But silica gel based desiccators are not very common for two reasons. First is that the level of humidity inside the cabinet cannot be controlled using a silica gel desiccant. Secondly, it takes longer time to absorb all the moisture in an enclosure and make it humidity free.
Both these drawbacks can be overcome using a nitrogen gas based desiccator. Most desiccators today pass nitrogen gas from an external source and into the desiccator chambers. The nitrogen is evenly distributed through all the chambers, and it replaces the water molecules in the air which creates a dry and humidity free atmosphere. The level of humidity can be controlled by controlling the amount of nitrogen gas, and it also works much faster than silica gel in absorbing moisture.
These are the most important specifications of a multi-storage desiccator chamber. It is better to be familiar with these before buying a desiccator, so that one can decide properly what specifications are most appropriate for their requirements.