Diapers and Super Absorbant Polymers
Sodium Polyacrylate

Author: Lynn Higgins: Illinois Polymer Ambassador
Disposable Diapers: An Engineering Marvel That's 
 <b>Good</b> For the Environment.

Glossary Links:
disposable diapers
sodium polyacrylate

OK. How much liquid can a diaper hold?
A disposable diaper for a 20 Kg toddler can hold nearly a liter of liquid.

How can it absorb so much without leaking?
Thanks to the wonders of chemistry, of course! The "active ingredient" in a disposable diaper is a polymer called sodium polyacryalte; nicknamed "water lock".
Click here to learn more about sodium polyacrylate. (external link)

Do you have any experiments I could do with that sodium polyacrylate stuff?
Sort of. First of all, you need work safely with the sodium polyacrylate (I'll just use it's nickname from here on.) You can get waterlock out of the diaper, BUT, be careful not to inhale any of the powder, or get it into your eyes. It is non-toxic: but it can be irritating to eyes and throat. Click here.(external link)
Or here.(external link)

"Non-toxic"? What does that mean? And I thought that disposable diapers are bad for our planet.
"Non-toxic" is a fancy word for NOT poisonous. The waterlock will NOT make you sick. AND disposable diapers will not make the Earth "sick" either. In most regions, disposables are better for the enviroment than cloth diapers. Click here.(external link)

I still think that cloth diapers are better because where we live, landfill space is a problem. Tell me about cloth diapers (After all, they're polymers, too.)
It's always good to know your alternatives. Read this.(external link)

(Need one last question about why superabsorbent polymers super absorb. ionic ions osmosis diagram )
Oh, so nice; a question about POLYMER CHEMISTRY. Have we got some sites for you!
Fairly simple. In between . Not so simple.(external links)

We hope that you will use this page.
PLEASE, credit Lon Mathias and USM at the bottom of any printout.
Thank you. Lynn Higgins, Dreyfus Project 2000.
How Polymers Work

Copyright ©2000 | Department of Polymer Science | University of Southern Mississippi