A new carbon-based desiccant has been developed by scientists at the University of New South Wales – and it could be a game-changer in applications such as packaging, electronics and air conditioning.
The revolutionary drying agent is made from layers of graphene oxide and significantly outperforms current desiccants; it is twice as absorbent as the industry standard, silica gel.
The material was developed by a team led by Dr Rakesh Joshi of the UNSW School of Materials Science and Engineering, and a study outlining its performance in laboratory tests is published in the journal Chemical Science.
“This is a stable new material that shows significant gains in adsorption capacity over conventional desiccants,” says Dr Joshi.
The researchers showed the material’s extraordinary adsorption and desorption rates were due to the high capillary pressure in the laminates and tunnel-like wrinkles on their surfaces – processes that had not previously been understood.
The new desiccant can also discharge the moisture it has collected at energy-saving low temperatures, enabling it to be easily used over and over again. By contrast, the heating required to regenerate conventional desiccants is often considered prohibitively expensive.