There are close to 2 million metric tons of super absorbent polymers made annually in the world.
Most of this volume is used in the personal care markets & in finished goods such as disposable
baby diapers, feminine care and adult incontinence products.

Only a very small portion of this total volume is used in the specialized markets that
WaterGel Crystals (WGc) serves.
Our purpose is to identify the best SAPs for these markets and make them available on an ongoing
basis in these specialty applications.

WGc does this by offering a broad array of granular superabsorbent polymers that encompass
the most up-to-date superabsorbent technologies. These polymers may differ in manufacturing
process, chemical make-up, particle size and shape, absorption speed, retention, gel strength
 and more. The information presented below gives a general overview about the two basic methods
used for making superabsorbent polymers and how the processes will affect the different performance
aspects of our products.

General Overview of Superabsorbent Polymer Manufacturing:
A polymer is a substance made up of many (“poly”) repeating units (“mer”).
The subunits of a polymer are called monomers. Superabsorbent polymers are made by
connecting monomer units together to make a long polymer chain that carries an ionic charge
(usually positive or negative… like the opposite ends of a magnet) along the chain itself.
Acrylic acid and its neutralized form, sodium polyacrylate, are the monomers used.
However, there are SAPs made with two monomers – acrylic acid and acrylamide.
These products are called copolymers.

During the manufacturing process, the long polymer chains are linked together into a
three-dimensional structure using specially designed cross linking agents.
This special polymer structure allows super absorbents to chemically absorb and retain
water-based fluids. This important feature is what sets super absorbents apart from other
absorbent products – water based fluids cannot be “squeezed out,” nor will they “leak out”
of the polymer, as the fluid is chemically bonded within the structure.

Super absorbents can be made in two ways: through Inverse Suspension Polymerization
or via Continuous Gel Polymerization. There are advantages to both systems.
The physical characteristics and performance parameters of polymers are controlled through
the manufacturing process, although occasionally post-treatment additives are used to alter
or affect certain desirable properties.

Inverse Suspension Polymerization:
In this process, SAPs are produced in batches in large reactors that produce particles that are
perfect spheres. Under a microscope, these materials will look like bunches of grapes.
Due to their very high surface-to-volume ratio, these SAPs have exceptional absorption speeds
and capacities. They are also very low dust products. Such as our Premium Super absorbent,
G-70 (Texas Snow©).

Continuous Gel Polymerization:
Using this method, SAPs are polymerized on long “poly-belts” that yield thick mats of polymer
that are then chopped to the correct particle size and oven dried.
These materials will look like shards of glass under a microscope.
Due to their irregular shape, the absorption speeds and overall capacities of these polymers are
lower than those that are perfect spheres; however, the overall gel strength
(or performance against pressure) of these products is typically higher than their inverse
suspension counterparts.

Our copolymer products, 40F, 40K, 41K and 42K Polymers, are made with Continuous Gel Polymerization.

  WaterGel Crystals©

      Selling Water Absorbent Polymers since 1995




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Differences in Polymers