In India, a team of chemists at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras have used chitosan—a component of seafood industry waste—along with citric acid and urea to produce a biodegradable replacement for super-absorbent polymer in disposable diapers.
Each gram of the new material—dubbed CHCAUR (CHitosan, Citric Acid and URea)—can absorb 1,250 grams of water, which is eight times more than SAPs currently used in commercial diapers.
“In the present form, our material does not absorb water as rapidly as commercially available diaper materials but it is biodegradable unlike fully synthetic commercial super-absorbents,” Raghavachari Dhamodharan, the lead researcher, tells India Science Wire. The material is also being tested as a soil additive to reduce frequency of watering.
The results of the study have been published in Carbohydrate Polymers