The Two Most Common Types of Desiccant Materials Used in Dryers

a large stainless steel tank next to a wall

Introduction to Desiccant Materials in Dryers

What is a Desiccant Material?

A desiccant material is a substance used to attract and hold water vapor from the air. This process is vital in many industrial applications to prevent moisture-related damage and maintain product integrity. Desiccants are commonly used in dryers to ensure that the air is free from moisture, enhancing the efficiency of drying systems.

Importance of Desiccants in Drying Processes

The importance of desiccants in drying processes cannot be overstated. Moisture in the air can cause significant issues, including corrosion, mold growth, and reduced efficiency of equipment. By using desiccants, industries can protect their machinery, improve product quality, and extend the lifespan of their equipment. At Red River LLC, we prioritize the use of high-quality desiccants to deliver superior drying solutions.

Silica Gel: A Leading Desiccant Material

Properties and Characteristics of Silica Gel

Silica gel is known for its high surface area and ability to adsorb moisture quickly and efficiently. It remains effective over a wide range of temperatures and humidity levels, making it suitable for various drying applications. Silica gel is also non-toxic and chemically inert, ensuring safe use in diverse environments.

Applications of Silica Gel in Dryers

Silica gel is commonly used in industrial dryers to remove moisture from compressed air and gases. It is also used in packaging to protect products from humidity and in dehumidification systems to maintain optimal environmental conditions. Its versatility and effectiveness make it a popular choice for many industries.

Advantages of Using Silica Gel

Using silica gel as a desiccant material offers several advantages, including high moisture absorption capacity, non-toxicity, and chemical stability. It is also reusable after drying, providing cost-effective moisture control solutions.

Activated Alumina: Another Common Desiccant

Properties and Characteristics of Activated Alumina

Activated alumina is known for its excellent moisture absorption properties and thermal stability. It can withstand high temperatures and remains effective in various environmental conditions. Activated alumina is also chemically inert and non-toxic, making it safe for use in a wide range of applications.

Applications of Activated Alumina in Dryers

Activated alumina is widely used in industrial dryers to remove moisture from compressed air and gases. It is also used in water purification systems, air separation plants, and gas drying applications. Its ability to adsorb a variety of contaminants makes it a versatile desiccant material.

Need a reliable partner?​

Red River specializes in the design and manufacturing of pressure vessels. We also fabricate related items such as prefabricated spools and skid packages.

Reach Out to us today and experience the Red River difference. Where American Made and American Values come together, we care more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I determine which desiccant material is best for my dryer application?

When selecting a desiccant material for your dryer, consider factors such as the moisture removal capacity required, operating temperature, and specific environmental conditions. Silica gel is ideal for general moisture absorption due to its high capacity and wide temperature range effectiveness. However, if your application involves higher temperatures or requires adsorption of specific contaminants, activated alumina might be the better choice. 

What is the difference between adsorption and absorption in the context of desiccants?

Adsorption and absorption are both processes that describe how a desiccant material captures moisture, but they differ fundamentally. Adsorption involves the adhesion of water molecules onto the surface of the desiccant material. Silica gel and activated alumina work primarily through adsorption. Absorption, on the other hand, involves the uptake of water molecules into the internal structure of the desiccant material. 

Can desiccant materials be regenerated, and if so, how?

Yes, many desiccant materials, including silica gel and activated alumina, can be regenerated. Regeneration involves removing the absorbed moisture, typically through heating. For silica gel, heating it to 120-150°C in a ventilated oven for a few hours is usually sufficient to restore its moisture-absorbing capacity. Activated alumina can be regenerated at higher temperatures, often between 175-315°C. 

How does moisture affect the efficiency of industrial dryers?

Moisture can significantly impact the efficiency of industrial dryers by increasing energy consumption and reducing the overall effectiveness of the drying process. Excess moisture in the air can lead to longer drying times, higher operational costs, and potential damage to the drying equipment and products. 

What safety considerations should be taken into account when using desiccant materials in dryers?

Safety is a key concern when using desiccant materials in industrial dryers. Ensure that the desiccant material is compatible with the operating environment and that it does not pose any chemical hazards. Silica gel and activated alumina are generally safe and non-toxic, but they should be handled with care to avoid inhalation of dust particles. 


In the realm of industrial solutions, Red River emerges as a pioneer, offering a diverse range of custom-engineered products and facilities. Among our specialties is the design and production of Custom/OEM Pressure Vessels, meticulously crafted to meet individual client requirements, ensuring performance under various pressure conditions. Our expertise extends to the domain of prefabrication, where Red River leads with distinction.

The company excels in creating prefabricated facilities, modules, and packages, reinforcing its stance as a forerunner in innovation and quality. This proficiency is further mirrored in their Modular Skids offering, where they provide an array of Modular Fabricated Skid Packages and Packaged equipment. Each piece is tailored to client specifications, underlining their commitment to delivering precision and excellence in every project they undertake.

Pressure Vessel line art

Pressure Vessels

Custom/OEM Pressure Vessels designed to fit your needs.

Prefabrication line art


Red River is a leader in prefabricated facilities, modules and packages.

Modular skid line art

Modular Skids

Modular Fabricated Skid Packages and Packaged equipment manufactured to your specifications.


The selection of materials for pressure vessel construction is paramount. The key factors include the vessel’s operating temperature and pressure, the chemical nature of the contents, potential corrosion risks, and the required strength and durability. Material compatibility with the contents ensures chemical integrity, while factors like tensile strength, yield point, and impact resistance determine the vessel’s ability to withstand pressure. Additionally, considerations for thermal expansion and contraction are vital for maintaining structural integrity under varying temperatures.

Need action? Ready to Get Started?

We are here to make it happen. Request a quote!