GFS Chemicals was founded in 1928. The first product manufactured by the company was anhydrous magnesium perchlorate. Magnesium perchlorate is an alkaline earth salt that is commonly used as a potent oxidizing or dehydrating agent. Its applications are numerous, as it finds use in industries such as rechargeable batteries, pharmaceuticals, instrumental analysis, and pyrotechnics. For most of our customers, it is used as an effective drying agent for gases before analysis using elemental analysis instrumentation.
According to Alfred Schilt, of Northern Illinois University, Anhydrous magnesium perchlorate affords several advantages as a drying agent compared to phosphorus pentoxide, its nearest competitor in dehydrating power.1 Its capacity for water absorption is several times greater, it does not become sticky upon handling nor from channels through use, and it contracts in volume on absorbing moisture.1
A research paper by H.H. Willard and G. Frederick Smith in 1928 found that magnesium perchlorate as a drying agent could also be repeatedly recovered and reactivated. They concluded that “being a natural drying agent, it offers many possibilities as a dehydrating agent for materials for which phosphorus pentoxide and conc. sulfuric acid is not permissible.”2
The manufacture of magnesium perchlorate led to GFS becoming one of the world’s largest manufacturers of perchloric acid. Perchloric acid is a key raw material in the manufacture of magnesium perchlorate, and it was important for GFS Chemicals to have control over the raw materials used in the manufacturing process.
1. Schilt, A.A. (2003). Perchloric Acid & Perchlorates (2nd Edition). GFS Chemicals.
2. Willard, H. H., & Smith, G. Frederick. (1922). The Preparation and Properties of Magnesium Perchlorate and Its Use as a Drying Agent 1. https://doi.org/10.1021/ja01431a022