What Is Super Absorbent Polymer?
SAP (Superabsorbent Polymer) is a functional polymer with higher water absorption and superior water retention capability. Hence, it is employed in projects requiring:
- Absorption of water
- Retention of excess water
- Effectively blocking the movement of water
The advantageous aspect of using SAP is that it is:
- Harmless in every aspect
Its most beneficial property lies in the fact that it absorbs liquids equivalent to several hundred times of it body mass and transforms it into a Gel; that is why it is able to retain or stop the water.
The normal SAP is available in white granular form; its granules come in various sizes. The type of application that SAP is to be used for is the determining factor for deciding the size of granules required e.g. Agricultural usage may require SAP of a size ranging from 5-20 mesh for trees while SAP for grass may be between 20-100 mesh.
Liquid Absorption Capability
This is one of the most vital yardsticks by which we measure the quality of this product. The test for its water absorption prowess is quite simple and straightforward; we use 1 gm of SAP and see the absorption within a specified time. Our tests have revealed that the amount of distilled water absorbed is between 200-800 gm.
Liquid Absorption Capability (under pressure)
Strong liquid-absorbing and liquid-locking capabilities for certain conditions and applications; these capabilities provide a wide usage to SAP in the case of:
- Paper diapers,
- Sanitary towels and Napkins, and
- Other hygiene products.
SAP finds wide usage in the agricultural, social forestry, gardening for use as a:
- Soil water retention agent
- In seed-coating operations
- For soil-less cultivation
- For setting up artificial turf
Advantages of SAP:
- It saves the irrigating effort, Increases the yield of fruits and crops
- Improves the germination of seeds
- Better emergence of the shoots for healthier growth
- Its constituents like Potassium, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus distribute the fertilizers more efficiently
For hygiene products
With its awesome properties of liquid absorption and locking it has found very useful application in products prone to moisture like:
- Sanitary napkins
- Nursing pads
- Pet pads
For miscellaneous industrial products
With each passing day, SAP is being employed in more and more industries and applications due to its increasing popularity and efficiency in water deterrence.
SAP is a highly coveted product as far as the manufacture of water-proof tapes and ointments for all sorts of cables are concerned; even, optical fiber cables use SAP. The extent and the speed of absorption are quite high and so are the overall inflation rate and its quantum of inflation upon encountering water.
In Ice Bags
Freshwater is directed at the individual sheets of ice packs to activate them; Super Absorbent Polymer instantly starts absorbing the water and converting it to a Gel by placing them under fresh tap water; in about 20 minutes time it is seen to soak up enough water to form small cushion-shaped Ice Cubes. They are now ready for use by placing them in the freezer.
Inflatable Anti-Flood Sandbags
SAP has this unique application in Disaster Management where it is used in preparing sandbags which, when coming in contact with water, quickly absorb it and expand to form a barrier to the advancing water. Though we call them Sandbags, they actually do not contain any sand; they are so-called because that is how they have been known traditionally.
These Sand-less Sandbags are quite small in size and light in weight initially but they soak up the water to assume a solid shape. They are much easier to store and transport and take up lesser space when unused.
- Its permeability happens to be quite low; it totally shuts out the water content
- Due to its fibrous texture, it can be stored to form a vertical barrier
- Since it is an effective sealant, it finds application in Cement-based items
It finds extensive usage in a number of species of products due to its amazing properties; some of them may be listed here:
- As an additive for functional coating in many specific applications
- As an additive in Air fresheners
- For expanding rubber requirements
- Absorption of wastewaters from industries
- In the mining industry for disaster management and normal seepages
- In certain cosmetics
Due to its awesome capacity to act on moisture, SAP (Superabsorbent Polymer) is finding newer purposes for which it is being employed.