Through the use of an absorbent desiccant material, desiccant dryers rely on chemical extraction to remove the moisture from the compressed air. However, due to the limited capacity of of the absorbent materials, two separate chambers containing the material is required which both work on an alternating basis; whilst one chamber is actively drying, the other is being regenerated/re-pressurised, in preparation to take over the drying process. Because of this, desiccant dryers are more costly to buy and run, and are usually paired with larger compressors. They also typically produce air with a dew point of -20C to -40C, meaning they are more suited to specialist applications where exceptional air quality is required, such as pharmaceutical, food or electronics applications.

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