Rice as a cheap common moisture absorber

Research shows rice is the answer for a wet mobile as cheap soaking agent for moisture

When you accidentally drop your mobile into water, what do you do?  Huddersfield scientists now have the answer.

Rice as a cheapest available moisture absorber

Science student Claire Boakes is pictured with her fascinating research into how rice flakes, among other things, can help revive seemingly broken mobile phones after they have been submerged in liquid.

THOUSANDS have experienced that sinking feeling when they drop their precious mobile phone into the sink or into the toilet, spill their drink over it or accidentally put it through the wash.  With data-packed mobiles increasingly central to people’s lives, salvage is vital.  But what are the best methods?  A University of Huddersfield student has carried out lab-based tests and come up with a Top Ten.

She also has some Top Tips.  For example, when you buy goods such as shoes or handbags, or electronic items, make sure you hang on to the tiny bags of moisture-absorbing silica gel that are part of the packaging (pictured below). That way, you will have a free mobile phone first aid kit always to hand.

Bag and beads of Silica<br /><br /> This is because science student Claire Boakes has discovered that one of the best ways to revive a wet phone is by using the granules that are contained in five-gram silica gel pouches.

However, various types of rice – which most people will have in the house – will also do a great job.

Claire, a mum of two from Golcar, had a career as a beauty therapist before deciding to study for a BSc degree in food, nutrition and health at the University of Huddersfield.  Her goal is to become a scienceteacher, so she began to work with chemistry lecturer Dr Jeremy Hopwood, who manages the University’s secondary school and sixth form outreach programme.

 

Dr Jeremy Hopwood mobile phone researchDr Hopwood (pictured left) himself experienced disaster when he dropped his phone into the toilet while helping his four-year-old daughter.

“I only hesitated slightly before retrieving the phone.  I wiped it dry and then did all the things you shouldn’t do, such as turn it on!” he said.  Later he dried it on a warm window sill and the phone works again, with a new battery.  But the incident meant that Dr Hopwood began to investigate the best ways to dry a mobile and realised that this would make an ideal research project for Claire, who was working with him during the placement year that is built into her degree course.

A survey has shown that 31 per cent of mobile phone users have experienced water damage – with 47 per cent of them confessing to dropping the gadgets into the toilet.  There are special drying-out products on the market, costing up to £15 a pack, and Claire will now research their effectiveness.

But she has compiled an initial report – Desiccation methods to save a wet mobile phone – which concentrates on the silica gels and different kinds of rice, plus techniques involving a vacuum cleaner or placing the phone in front of a lamp – a method which, says Claire, replicates conditions on a sunny window ledge.  However, she warns against using a hairdryer, which might force water into the phone and cause even greater damage. The Top Ten desiccation methods are:Brown Rice Flakes

  1. Silica gel (5g)
  2. Silica gel (50g)
  3. Flaked Rice (pictured right)
  4. Lamp
  5. Basmati rice
  6. Long grain rice
  7. Pudding rice
  8. Paella rice
  9. Brown rice
  10. Vacuum cleaner

The results

‌It was found that five grams of silica gel were just as effective as a larger quantity, although both absorbed 100 per cent of the moisture.  The granules must be dry before being placed in a box with the wet mobile – removing its battery first.

Various types of rice performed differently.  After 24 hours, flaked rice was found to soak up 78 per cent of moisture and basmati did well, too, at 73 per cent.  But brown rice managed to absorb just 44 per cent.  A vacuum cleaner operated for 30 minutes sucked out 37 per cent.

For more info please visit: Rice as a cheapest available moisture absorber

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