It is billed as a chemically safe alternative to the use of cobalt chloride. Originally, non-corrosive silica gel was patented many years ago just after the Great War ended at the beginning of the previous century. It was during this war that silica gel was already being used for the absorption of vapors. It was also used to absorb gases in gas mask canisters. During the next world-defining war, the gel was being used to help keep penicillin dry and protect all military use equipment from damage from moisture.
Today, the non-corrosive silica gel acts as a fluid cracking catalyst. It is being used in the production of high octane gasoline. It also acts as a catalyst support mechanism for the manufacture of butadiene from ethanol, as well as feedstocks required for synthetic rubber programs. Over and above being non-corrosive, the silica gel is safe to use. It is non-toxic as well. This is because doping agents if you will are added to the gel as moisture indicators. These are obtained from an inorganic compound originally. But the compound is deemed to be safe for use across and within a wide range of applications.
Cobalt chloride, on the other hand, has been classified as a Category 2 Carcinogen in member countries of the European community. Similar classification is pending in the United States. And it is standard practice for all stakeholders to display the skull and crossbones legend on those materials and packages that contain cobalt chloride. Silica gel, on the other hand, includes visible signs that show the gel remains moist and active or dry and exhausted.
It is mostly commercial contractors that will be using the gel in order to reduce moisture in electrical and mechanized components.