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[BKARTS] Update on Dri-Gel sheet desiccant
Artifex Equipment, Inc., is moving towards production of its
breakthrough desiccant product, called Dri-Gel, interest in its
application as a disaster recovery option has continued to grow in
the preservation and disaster recovery fields.
The problem of drying wet books in a safe, cost-effective and
expedient fashion has plagued libraries for as long as books have
been collected. Although the field of book conservation has begun to
embrace new technologies, innovations have been slow to materialize.
Vacuum freeze-drying constitutes the most effective development to
date. This process requires that books be transported off site and
takes up to six months to complete.
In the Spring of 2003, Nicholas Yeager, CEO of Artifex Equipment,
Inc. investigated using a starch-based super absorbent polymer to dry
water damaged (damp and wet) library materials. This polymer had been
invented by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in the 1970s and
has been used in agricultural as well as industrial applications.
Yeager and Kathleen Hayes, an information specialist at USDA's
National Agricultural Library, secured a Material Transfer Agreement
Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (MTACRADA) to develop
an interleaving product to dry books using the polymer's capacity to
soak up many times its weight in water. The resulting product
invented by Yeager and Hayes has been named "Dri-Gel" and has
The new hydrogel desiccant makes use of the chemical polyacrylate's ability to:
* absorb fifty times its weight in water
* release water through evaporation, and
* take on water and retain it under pressure - a key element to water
removal in books
In addition to drying wet materials, Dri-Gel will have other
conservation uses. It can be used as a poultice or humidity blanket
for relaxing brittle items because it has the ability to take on
clean water that evaporates slowly and evenly.
Dri-Gel was developed with the aid of the SBIR grant. The objectives
for this grant proposal required that the desiccant remain safely
within its enclosure, and that the product has good wet strength and
does not alter the book in any way.
Some surprising things were discovered while working out the method
of carrying the material safely into a book to dry it:
* Desiccant capacity is directly affected by proximity. The closer
the desiccant is in contact to wet material, the quicker moisture is
absorbed. The chart below describes this corollary:
Interleaving Dri-Gel per number of leaves Time
required for drying
15 leaves (30 pages) 12 hours/ six changes
10 leaves (20 pages) 5 hours/ four changes
5 leaves (10 pages) 1.5 hours/three changes
Every page 10 minutes with 1.5 hours
labor inserting Dri-Gel sheets
between leaves of the book with
no change of Dri-Gel
* Passive moisture absorption occurs in freezers where Dri-Gel is
present. Wet books awaiting treatment are placed in a container and
frozen to avoid mold growth. Placing Dri-Gel in the container (often
a zip-lock bag) removes 50% of the water while the item is stored
for two weeks. This lowers labor cost and drying time when the book
is finally processed
* Early tests show that Dri-Gel can be used on other porous materials
that require drying such as loose paper items and works of art on
Artifex is currently fine tuning the manufacturing process of Dri-Gel
for optimal use of the desiccant and cost-effective production
methods. Dri-Gel uses environmentally friendly materials, and is 70%
biodegradable. Yeager hopes to offer the product for sale by the end
of the year.
Visit Artifex Equipment Inc.'s website: www.artifexequipment.com or
call us at (707) 664-1672.
Edelpappband / "Millimeter" Binding Bind-O-Rama, Entry Deadline - October 1, 2005
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