Silica gel is a solid form of silicon dioxide, or SiO2, and it is actually more granular and hard than it is a gel. Silica gel is specifically synthesized to be highly porous, which is what gives it its adsorbing capabilities. Additionally, SiO2 is a polar compound, which allows it to preferentially adsorb other polar compounds and making it especially useful in chemical separations.
Packets of silica gel are found in many types of products (like vitamins, seaweed snacks, etc.) because silica gel is a desiccant — it adsorbs and holds water vapor. In food products, the lack of moisture limits the growth of mold and can increase the shelf-life of the product. In electronics it prevents condensation, which might damage the electronics. You will find little silica gel packets in anything that would be affected by excess moisture or condensation.
Silica gel is known to be harmless, which is why you often see it in food products. The gel form contains millions of tiny pores that can adsorb and hold moisture.
View our silica gel product line.