Jolyn Silvas

Jolyn Silvas

Published: 13 Sep 2023


Deliquescence is a fascinating phenomenon that occurs when certain substances absorb moisture from the air and dissolve, forming a liquid solution. While you may not be familiar with the term, you have undoubtedly encountered this process in your everyday life. From salt shakers clumping up on humid days to the formation of stalactites in caves, deliquescence is all around us.

In this article, we will delve into the world of deliquescence and explore some surprising facts that you may not know. From the chemistry behind the process to its applications in different industries, prepare to be amazed by the wonders of deliquescence. So, let’s dive in and uncover the fascinating secrets of this intriguing phenomenon.

Table of Contents

Deliquescence is a fascinating phenomenon.

Deliquescence refers to the ability of certain substances to absorb moisture from the atmosphere and dissolve in it, forming a liquid solution. This process occurs when the vapor pressure of the substance is higher than the partial pressure of water vapor in the air.

Many common salts exhibit deliquescence.

Salt compounds such as calcium chloride, magnesium sulfate, and potassium carbonate are well-known examples of substances that undergo deliquescence. They readily absorb moisture from the air, becoming hydrated in the process.

Deliquescence is dependent on relative humidity.

The ability of a substance to undergo deliquescence is influenced by the relative humidity of the surrounding environment. Higher humidity levels increase the likelihood of deliquescence occurring.

Deliquescent substances can have practical applications.

The deliquescence property of certain substances is utilized in various industrial and laboratory processes. For example, calcium chloride is commonly used as a desiccant to remove moisture from the air.

Deliquescence can lead to the formation of concentrated solutions.

When a deliquescent substance absorbs moisture from the air and dissolves, it can result in the formation of highly concentrated solutions. These solutions can have important applications in chemical reactions and manufacturing processes.

Deliquescence is reversible.

If the humidity levels decrease, some deliquescent substances can lose their absorbed moisture and return to their solid state. This reversibility makes them suitable for certain applications where control over moisture content is necessary.

Deliquescent substances can cause corrosion.

Some deliquescent substances, particularly salts, can promote corrosion when they come into contact with metals. The absorbed moisture and the dissolved salts can create an electrolytic environment that accelerates the corrosion process.

Deliquescence can affect the stability of pharmaceuticals.

In the pharmaceutical industry, it is crucial to control the moisture content of certain drugs. Deliquescence can impact the stability and efficacy of pharmaceutical products, highlighting the importance of proper storage and packaging.

Deliquescence plays a role in atmospheric chemistry.

The deliquescence behavior of certain salts can influence atmospheric chemistry. When aerosol particles containing deliquescent salts are present in the atmosphere, they can react with other gases and particles, leading to the formation of secondary aerosols.

Deliquescence can impact the storage of sensitive materials.

Materials that are sensitive to moisture, such as certain chemicals, electronics, and documents, need to be stored in environments with controlled humidity to prevent deliquescence and subsequent degradation.

Deliquescence can be observed in everyday life.

Have you ever noticed how salt clumps together on a humid day? This is a prime example of deliquescence, where the salt absorbs moisture from the air, causing it to dissolve and form clumps.

The deliquescence process is influenced by temperature.

Temperature also plays a role in deliquescence. Higher temperatures can increase the rate at which a substance absorbs moisture, while lower temperatures may slow down or inhibit the process.

Certain deliquescent substances have medicinal uses.

Some deliquescent compounds, such as ammonium chloride, have been used in traditional medicine for their expectorant and antitussive properties. These substances help to relieve coughs and facilitate the removal of excess mucus in the respiratory system.

Deliquescence can be a hazard in certain situations.

In environments with high humidity or when deliquescent substances are mishandled, there can be a risk of spills, leaks, or the release of hazardous gases. Adequate safety measures and storage practices are essential to mitigate these risks.

Deliquescence is influenced by the crystal structure of a substance.

The crystal structure of a deliquescent substance can affect its ability to absorb moisture. Substances with a porous or highly soluble crystal lattice are more prone to deliquescence compared to those with tightly packed structures.

Deliquescence can be regulated through hygroscopic materials.

Hygroscopic materials, such as silica gel or molecular sieves, can be used to control humidity levels and prevent deliquescence. These materials absorb moisture from the surrounding environment, reducing the relative humidity and protecting sensitive substances.


Deliquescence is a fascinating phenomenon that occurs when certain substances absorb moisture from the air and dissolve in it. It has practical applications in various industries and can impact factors such as corrosion, pharmaceutical stability, atmospheric chemistry, and storage of sensitive materials. Understanding deliquescence is vital for maintaining product integrity and ensuring safety in relevant settings.


Deliquescence is a fascinating natural phenomenon that occurs when a solid substance absorbs moisture from the surrounding air and dissolves into a liquid solution. It has numerous applications and implications, ranging from industrial processes to atmospheric science. Understanding deliquescence can help us better comprehend how certain substances behave in different environments.

This article has provided you with 16 surprising facts about deliquescence. From the importance of relative humidity to the wide range of substances affected by deliquescence, we have explored various aspects of this intriguing process. Hopefully, these facts have expanded your knowledge and sparked your curiosity about this lesser-known topic in chemistry.

In conclusion, deliquescence serves as a reminder of the complex and ever-changing interactions between solids and liquids that occur in our natural world. Its study continues to contribute to advancements in numerous fields, making it a captivating area of research for scientists and researchers.


Q: What causes deliquescence?

A: Deliquescence is caused by the absorption of moisture from the air by a solid substance, leading to its dissolution as a liquid solution.

Q: How does relative humidity impact deliquescence?

A: Deliquescence occurs at a threshold called the deliquescence relative humidity (DRH), which is the level of humidity at which a substance can absorb enough moisture to become a liquid.

Q: Which substances are prone to deliquescence?

A: Various substances can experience deliquescence, including common salts like sodium chloride and calcium chloride, as well as organic compounds such as sugars and certain acids.

Q: Are there any practical applications of deliquescence?

A: Yes, deliquescence has several practical uses. For example, it is utilized in drying agents, chemical reactions, and environmental monitoring.

Q: Can deliquescence be reversed?

A: Yes, deliquescence can be reversed by removing the moisture or lowering the humidity level. This process is commonly known as efflorescence.

Q: How does deliquescence affect the stability of substances?

A: Deliquescence can significantly impact the stability of substances by altering their properties, such as their melting point, boiling point, and reactivity.