Scientists from the University of New South Wales have developed a new carbon-based material that could impact moisture control in packaging.
The new super dessicant, made from graphene oxide, significantly outperforms current drying agents, and is twice as absorbent as the industry standard, silica gel, according to the researchers at UNSW.
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 absorption capacity over conventional desiccants,” Dr Joshi said.
The super desiccant is based on graphene – an extremely thin form of carbon – and is made of layers of graphene oxide.
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 which had not previously been understood.
The researchers say the ability to fine-tune the spaces between the layers of graphene oxide as desired will allow the development of customised dessicants to control moisture across multiple applications.
The new desiccant can also discharge moisture 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.