Effects Of Sodium Polyacrylate

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Sodium polyacrylate is a polymer with a unique structure, that chemists are leveraging in a variety of lucrative industrial applications. Sodium polyacrylate possesses a unique chemical property: the ability to absorb incredible amounts of water. It can absorb 300 to 800 times its weight in water (Superabsorbent Polymers). Industrial chemists have taken advantage of the polymer’s special function, and have incorporated it into dozens of different products. In fact, the industry behind superabsorbent polymers is expected to grow to $8.78 billion by 2020 (Superabsorbent Polymer Market 17). This is due to the fact that within the past two decades, the applications of such a polymer have grown exponentially. Sodium polyacrylate operates on the …show more content…
This is evident in the variability of the compound’s absorptive capacity; tap water will not absorb nearly as much water as deionized water. The high concentration of natural ions (i.e. sodium, calcium, etc.) within the tap water, means that less sodium ions can be displaced from sodium polyacrylate, resulting in an isotonic (osmotic equilibrium) solution much faster (France).
In addition to its ability to absorb water, sodium polyacrylate can form cross-linked bonds with itself (Superabsorbent Polymers). This has resulted in many chemists even referring to it as a “network polymer” (Super-absorbing Polymer). As shown in Figure 1, the curve of the structure is due these cross-linked bonds. In fact, many proprietary versions of sodium polyacrylate remove carboxylate functional groups from the structure, increasing the number of cross-linked bonds that can form, thus resulting in a stronger structure (Superabsorbent Polymers). It should be noted though that the more cross-linked bonds present, the less surface area for water molecules to bond with, and thus a smaller absorptive
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Leveraging the power of such a polymer has resulted in the projected growth of billions of dollars, as well as a multitude of various research projects. Chemists are increasingly finding the application of polymers in the commercial space as very beneficial. As a result, the modification of sodium polyacrylate and other polymers via the manipulation of its structure has become the topic of much research in the past few years. With the ability to design polymers with a certain purpose in mind, one can only wonder what the next big polymer will

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