The benefits of superabsorbent polymers
The majority are made of sodium polyacrylate and available in granular form or as fibers. The granular material is a polymer made up of millions of identical units of sodium acrylate formed into a chain-fence like structure. These are then linked together to make the material into a three-dimensional network. In their dry state the long polymer chains are coiled. When they absorb liquid, they uncoil, and the network expands. The liquid is then stored in the spaces in the molecular network and the material forms a gel which locks the liquid in.
They help keep the skin dry. This is done by drawing the liquid away from the skin and absorbing and retaining it in the core of the product. This creates greater comfort for the user.
They help protect against skin irritation in diaper users by reducing skin wetness. If skin becomes too wet it is more vulnerable to irritation because the natural balance of the skin, which helps protect against harmful bacteria, can be compromised. This is especially so in the presence of faeces and associated enzymes.
They help prevent the spread of infections. The containment of fluid in the superabsorbent core reduces leakage. It also reduces the risk of urine mixing with faecal material and becoming contaminated with microorganisms which can cause the spread of diseases such as diarrhoea and gastroenteritis.
They offer improved quality of life and personal dignity. Many people suffer from a lack of bladder or bowel control as a result of illness, disability or age. Disposable products with superabsorbents help many of these individuals and their care-givers maintain a quality of life with greater mobility and independence.
Keywords: superabsorbent, super absorbent polymer, SAP powder
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