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Super-absorbent polymer (SAP) UPSC NOTE

 

  • A superabsorbent polymer (SAP) (also called slush powder) is a water-absorbing hydrophilic homopolymers or copolymers that can absorb and retain extremely large amounts of a liquid relative to its own mass

  • A SAP's ability to absorb water depends on the ionic concentration of the aqueous solution

  • In deionized and distilled water, a SAP may absorb 300 times its weight and can become up to 99.9% liquid, and when put into a 0.9% saline solution the absorbency drops to approximately 50 times its weight.

  • The presence of valence cations in the solution impedes the polymer's ability to bond with the water molecule.

  • The largest use of SAPs is found in personal disposable hygiene products, such as baby diapers, adult diapers and sanitary napkins

  • The molecular structure of SAP again resembles the complicated mesh of a tree

  • As soon as it comes in contact with water, water molecules flow through and sit inside

  • The oxygen atoms in particular are attracted to the mesh due to the presence of an important ion in SAP called sodium

  • They start to hold each other and form a strong network that can no longer move, i.e. it is rigid.

  • The whole network swells, trapping the water molecules within, to form what is called a gel.

  • Thus, SAP is a magical compound that can absorb a large amount of water, at times more than its own weight.


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Super-absorbent polymer (SAP) UPSC NOTE
Super-absorbent polymer (SAP) UPSC NOTE
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