SUPER ABSORBENT POLYMERS
Superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) absorb and retain large volumes of water, electrolyte solution, biological fluids and other aqueous solutions. They are loosely cross-linked, three-dimensional networks of flexible polymer chains that carry dissociated, ionic functional groups.
APPLICATIONS OF SUPER ABSORBENT POLYMERS
SAPs are extensively used in many fields including agriculture, horticulture, sanitary goods, and medicine. Significantly, its property of water absorption has involved the use of SAPs in multiple applications, including paper towels, surgical sponges, meat trays, disposable mats for outside doorways and in bathrooms, household pet litter, bandages and wound dressings. SAPs are also used in forestation, construction, industrial and environmental applications. They offer ways for water management and so water absorption capacity (WAC) is the most important parameter of measuring the effectiveness of SAPs. This can be evaluated by volumetric, gravimetric, spectroscopic and microwave methods.
Potassium polyacrylate, a potassium salt of polyacrylic acid, is a type of super-absorbent polymer, with high water absorption and water holding capacity. It is basically a group of polymeric chains, that are combined together chemically to become a water-insoluble, net-like matrix that tenderly attracts and holds water molecules. It is non-pollutant, non-toxic and harmless in all aspects.
While faced with water shortages, it is adequate to apply potassium polyacrylate into the soil. It absorbs plenty of water quickly when it's raining (or the soil is irrigated). After absorption, potassium polyacrylate turns into the form of water hydrogel. When it gets dry, it release water slowly, thus coming back to its shape. Thus these molecules are designed to absorb when water is plenty and release when water is in short-supply. It continuously hydrates and releases captured moisture on demand as plants need it for months or more.
From its outward form, potassium polyacrylate can be identified similar to the detergent, sugar or salt. Generally speaking, synthetic hydrogels feature more flexibility for tuning chemical composition and mechanical properties.