Silica gel is a granular, vitreous, porous form of silicon dioxide made synthetically from sodium silicate. Silica gel contains a nano-porous silica micro-structure, suspended inside of a liquid. Most applications of silica gel require it to be dried, in which case it is called silica xerogel. For practical purposes, silica gel is often interchangeable with silica xerogel. Silica xerogel is tough and hard; it is more solid than common household gels like gelatin or agar. It is a naturally occurring mineral that is purified and processed into either granular or beaded form. As a desiccant, it has an average pore size of 2.4 nanometers and has a strong affinity for water molecules.
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