Encapsulants are any type of material that can be used to create an enclosure around another material. An encapsulant may be a permanent seal around an item that limits or eliminates the ability to see the enclosed object, or may function as a protecting layer that allows the object to be viewed, but not directly handled. Today, the concept of an encapsulant is used in many different industries, and provides a number of commercial products that many consumers have come to rely upon.
One of the most common examples of an encapsulant is found in just about every residential medicine cabinet. Over the counter medications, such as headache remedies, are often available in the form of capsules. Capsules provide the housing for the medication proper, and dissolve easily after being swallowed. This type of encapsulant is a temporary means of keeping the medication fresh and potent, and only begins to break down after the need for the encapsulation is no longer necessary.
Other types of encapsulant perform different functions. Clear acrylic is often used as a means of permanently enclosing some favored object, such as a photograph, a piece of jewelry, or some other keepsake. Because the acrylic capsule effectively creates a barrier between the contained object and the outside environment, the object is protected from harm. At the same time, the valued object is still available for viewing.
An encapsulant is also often utilized as a means of concealing objects for a period of time. Valuable items may be encapsulated in resin, ceramic, or even concrete so that the object cannot be found. When this is the case, the encapsulant will protect the object from both the environment and visual detection, and will remain intact until some type of outside force is used to break into the capsule.
An encapsulant agent is often employed when cornerstones for new buildings are installed. Typically, the cornerstone will contain a hollow space where documents and other objects relative to the year the construction takes place can be secreted. In order to offer additional protection from the elements and thus preserve the integrity of the objects, an airtight capsule will be created around the objects. This ensures the objects will still be in pristine condition when the cornerstone is opened at some point in the future.