Experiment 2 - Will Silica Gel dries grease and engine oil?


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Jul 5, 2007
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AMK
#1
Just open my tool cabinet and caught sight of my can of old Guard brand grease and engine oil. Here is what I have just done, will see what happen in a months time.

- 1 empty camel macadamia nuts plastic container with sealed cover.
- 1/3 filled with fresh silica gel, well sufficient to suck any moisture inside the container.
- 2 folded small aluminium foils fold to a cup.
- 1 filled with old guard brand household grease
- 1 fillled with engine oil
- Tape seal over the cover.
- Left in a quiet corner and wait for 1 month.

Purpose. To see if the grease and oil be dried?

*Note: these silica gel will be disposed after use as oil or grease may have come to contact, thus oven heating will/may be unsafe later.
 

Rendell

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Aug 2, 2009
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#2
Just open my tool cabinet and caught sight of my can of old Guard brand grease and engine oil. Here is what I have just done, will see what happen in a months time.

- 1 empty camel macadamia nuts plastic container with sealed cover.
- 1/3 filled with fresh silica gel, well sufficient to suck any moisture inside the container.
- 2 folded small aluminium foils fold to a cup.
- 1 filled with old guard brand household grease
- 1 fillled with engine oil
- Tape seal over the cover.
- Left in a quiet corner and wait for 1 month.

Purpose. To see if the grease and oil be dried?

*Note: these silica gel will be disposed after use as oil or grease may have come to contact, thus oven heating will/may be unsafe later.
Any photos?
 

Jul 5, 2007
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AMK
#5
Troublesome lah. My intention was the grease.

Control set, will be my window and bathroom slides. I long knew the result already for open grease. It will dry up fast in the sun. But under shade, their last very long, when grease is left alone untouch, the surface will darken and harden forming a protective coat. With constant movement, grease will not harden but lose it lubricating properties as parts friction turning dirty black, eventually drying out. I don't know the details but similar to why we need to change engine ... I think. This is with reference to normal grease.

With graphite grease (it think it is called), things are better in my opinion.

Wow, thanks ... you really going to test with a whole tin of silica gel ah ...

Why don't you split them into smaller tins and have a control set. :)
 

Fotophilic

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Jun 18, 2006
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#6
are u trying to relate this test to find out if the dehumidifying agent will dry the grease- and oil-alike in our camera and lenses?
 

Jul 5, 2007
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AMK
#8
All of you have never eaten or seen camel macadamia nuts is it? :bsmilie:
The can is very small yet the nuts are very expensive. Don't need alot of silica gel actually.

Yes, I just wanted to see for myself how the general idea comes about that low RH can cause grease in lens or camera to dry up quickly.

I know natural rubber requires moisture after initial smoke or drying but not sure about oil.
And direct prolong silica gel contact will cause discoloration or marking even to plastic because the synthetic oil coat is sucked.
Hygrometers generally have no problem reading high values but struggles to read low value after 25%. So a good meter is one that read low value too.
 

Fotophilic

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#9
actually that is a lot of silica gel u are using.

i have those "power-rechargeable" one i bought from home-fix. when totally blue after recharge, it can lower my 10L dry box till ~20% RH. I have to use zip lock bag to wrap up the dehumidifier and out a small opening to keep the RH at about 40-50%.

therefore i suspect the RH in that can u have is way below the 40-50% RH recommended. do u have a RH meter to put inside to agak agak see the RH?
 

Jul 5, 2007
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AMK
#10
RH will be 0% or at least <5%.

In my previous experiment 1, both silica gel and thirsty hippo can bring down the RH within a container down to <5% eventually (I did not complete my report back then). The reason why thirsty hippo does not go that low is because of its smaller surface area as compared to silica gel spread at the bottom of the drybox. With similar surface area e.g dry pack in a double sized can of the above, it will still go very low.

With fan circulation, a 20L container can still achieve very low RH fast.

actually that is a lot of silica gel u are using.

i have those "power-rechargeable" one i bought from home-fix. when totally blue after recharge, it can lower my 10L dry box till ~20% RH. I have to use zip lock bag to wrap up the dehumidifier and out a small opening to keep the RH at about 40-50%.

therefore i suspect the RH in that can u have is way below the 40-50% RH recommended. do u have a RH meter to put inside to agak agak see the RH?
 

scenar

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Aug 23, 2005
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#11
Anyway, is the grease u r using similar to the kind used in camera / lenses?

I would think different kinds of grease have different properties?
 

Jul 5, 2007
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AMK
#12
Yes, there are many types of grease for metal and plastic too.

It doesn't matter to me, this is a 23+years old can of general grease (I had it since my old license bicycle). If is does not dry, the better grease today will unlikely. If it does dry, then the theory "may" hold true.

As I have stated above, general grease will dry in the open regardless humid or not, it is the movement that keep the grease from drying. That's why you get the saying, always crank the gears once a while. The hotter (too cold is possible too) it gets, the faster it dries. Dry could also mean property change too like oxidation.

Anyway, is the grease u r using similar to the kind used in camera / lenses?

I would think different kinds of grease have different properties?
 

Jul 5, 2007
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AMK
#13
After a week, don't see any difference in the grease or any change the color. As for the oil, not sure yet , can't see clearly inside the foil.

Keep posted.
 

May 31, 2009
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#14
Hi spheredome

Where do you get silica gel in quantity? I need them leh

Thanks

:D
 

spheredome

New Member
Jul 5, 2007
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AMK
#17
Sorry I thought you were humoring.

All film developing shop will sell in 500gm bottle blue silica at S$3.50-$4.50. Some may sell even cheaper but likely recycled (but still the same quality).

Ok, anyone knows where to buy silica gel in quantity?

Thanks
 

Timolol

New Member
Sep 24, 2009
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#19
spheredome! how's the experiment going? :D
 

elavan

New Member
Sep 19, 2009
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AMK
#20
silica cannot take up organic compounds like grease/oil. it can only take up the water content that is within the mix, and the change in moisture composition can likely cause those problems related with excessive drying.

so you are not likely to detect any tangible change in your experiment..

it's the loss of water that causes problems, a degree of it is still necessary..
 

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