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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Vacuum Freeze-Drying for Document Restoration

7/1/2021 (Permalink)

Here’s a vocabulary word for you: “sublimation.”

You may have run into “sublimation” in science class, way back when. It’s the word for when a solid (as in ice) turns directly into a gas (as in water vapor) without ever becoming a liquid (as in water).

You might be thinking “impossible!”, and we wouldn’t blame you. If you’re thinking about ice melting, then sublimation might seem like an impossibility.

But with vacuum freeze-drying, sublimation is a predictable, manageable process. And it’s exactly what we use to dry documents that have suffered water damage.

How does vacuum freeze-drying work?

Say you run a medical office, and your sprinklers went off in your records room. The records that you are required to keep, by law, for your patients have been soaked. You need to restore them in order to maintain compliance, so you call the SERVPRO of West Seneca/Lancaster document restoration team in to help.

Our team will bring the documents to a special drying chamber designed for vacuum freeze-drying. The wet documents are frozen solid in order to maintain their structure and integrity. Then, a high-pressure vacuum is used to remove any air from the chamber.

Within this vacuum chamber, the pressure and temperature can be strictly regulated to convert the moisture in the documents into water vapor without allowing it to revert back to its liquid form.

This vapor is then collected via a condenser that can achieve temperatures of -40ºF, which turns it back to ice for disposal. Over time, the temperature is gradually increased within the chamber to remove more moisture from the documents safely, until they meet our dry standard and are restored to their preloss condition.

It’s a high-tech process, so if it seems a little bit crazy, don’t sweat it. All you really need to know is that if your documents get soaked, call SERVPRO of West Seneca/Lancaster immediately. We’re here to help.

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