In the 1950’s after the Korean War, the U.S. military used dry air storage for long-term protection of inactive ships, machinery and weapons. The technique saved millions of dollars in preservation costs. In the 1970’s, European military groups, notably those in Sweden and Denmark, pioneered the use of desiccant equipment for protection of active duty military material. Now tens of thousands of dehumidifiers protect expensive military equipment in all parts of the world, cutting maintenance costs drastically, and increasing the combat readiness of aircraft, tanks, ships and supplies.
All materials corrode, which is to say every substance eventually changes from one form to another through chemical reactions. Many of these reactions, especially those which depend on oxygen, are catalyzed and accelerated by moisture.
Ferrous metals like iron and steel are well known for their corrosion in the presence of moisture. Less well known is the fact that glass corrodes and cracks at a rate which varies according to the moisture on its surface. Pure crystals like sodium iodide and lithium fluoride also corrode, forming oxides and hydroxides in proportion to the moisture in the air. In the past, tens of thousands of desiccant dehumidifiers have been used to surround machinery and equipment with dry air, preserving ferrous metal parts from heavy rust.
In the present, dehumidifiers are working to protect materials from more subtle and expensive forms of corrosion. Modern society depends more and more on light equipment like computers, telecommunications gear, lightweight composite materials and high-energy batteries. While these are less subject to gross rusting, they are very sensitive to microscopic-level corrosion. These circuits simply do not have much material
to begin with, so small amounts of corrosion create disproportionately large problems. Desiccant systems save owners literally hundreds of millions of dollars each year by preventing both gross and microscopic corrosion.
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