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A deliquescent material absorbs or releases water vapor to the atmosphere to maintain a constant vapor pressure of water at a given temperature. For example, if a saturated aqueous solution of a deliquescent material has a lower water vapor pressure than that of the atmosphere, moisture will condense into the solution until the solution water vapor matches the atmospheric water vapor. Some deliquescent materials are: concentrated Sulfuric acid, Glycerol, Calcium chloride, Sodium hydroxide pellets, anhydrous Sodium sulfate and Potassium carbonate. Many of the solid compounds will absorb enough water from the air to dissolve into a saturated liquid. The opposite phenomenon is called Efflorescence.

Resources and Citations

  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • Theodore J. Reinhart, 'Glossary of Terms', Engineered Plastics, ASM International, 1988