¿Is Silica Gel Polar ?
What consideration does this have for its adsorption suitability?
Silica gel is a polar adsorbent. This makes it easier for it to adsorb predominantly other polar materials. When we talk about polarity, materials interact more with like materials. This beginning is fundamentally substantial for quite a few laboratories, which use silica gel as a stationary stage for column chromatographic separations.
Silica gel is a solid form of silicon dioxide, or SiO2, and is more granular and harder than a gel anyway. Silica gel is specially synthesized to be very porous, which gives it its adsorption ability. In addition, SiO2 is a polar complex, which makes it easy for it to adsorb predominantly other polar compounds and makes it fundamentally useful in chemical separations.
Silica gel packs are in various types of products (such as vitamins, seaweed snacks, etc.) because silica gel is a desiccant, osseous, adsorbs and retains water vapor. In food products, the lack of moisture limits mold growth and can increase the shelf life of the product. In electronics, it prevents condensation, which could damage electronic devices. You're going to find silica gel packs on anything that might be affected by excess moisture or condensation.
Silica gel is known to be harmless, which is why it is commonly seen in food products. The gel form has millions of tiny pores inside that have the ability to absorb and retain moisture.
Silica gel is interesting in that it is effectively very fine grain sand (SiO2). However, this formula misses the important factor of sand which is not its interior structural pattern but instead the surface chemistry. Obviously, SiO2 cannot have a surface that is the same as the interior because “half” of the continuous structure is missing thus something else must be going on at the interface (surface between solid and liquid phase). In the case of silica gel, the interphase is marked by the presence of OH groups. These make the surface of the silica gel highly polar. However, funnily enough, silica gel like many other nanomaterials can be modified at the surface to change their properties. I’m sure there is a way to chemically modify the surface of silica gel to covert the functional group into something else that would make it hydrophobic such as converting the OH group to an H. While this materials would still be “silica gel” in a rough sense because the interior is still the same, the crucial aspect of the silica gel which is its exterior would have market different properties.
A. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-performance_liquid_chromatography
B. Knauer: https://www.knauer.net/en/search?q=chromatography
C. Kromasil: https://www.kromasil.com/support/faq.php
D. Shimadzu: https://www.shimadzu.com/an/service-support/technical-support/analysis-basics/basic/what_is_hplc.html
E. ChemistryView: https://www.chemistryviews.org/details/education/9464911/What_is_HPLC/
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