Carnegie Mellon University

Polymers and Absorption

Absorption occurs when a liquid, such as water, is taken up (or absorbed by) a solid. When this happens, the solid often grows in size or swells. Many examples of absorption are found in cooking. For example, preparing pasta or rice requires absorption of water. Many polymers can also absorb large quantities of water, and by doing so, they find usefulness in many industries and aspects of every day life. We will perform some experiments with polymers that absorb many times their weight in water. These are called super-absorbers.