As stated in a recently published information by Credence Research, “Superabsorbent Polymers industry– Growth, Share, Opportunities, Competitive Analysis, and Forecast 2015 – 2022,” the demand for superabsorbent polymers is expected to witness high demand due to growing hygiene awareness among the people in both developing and developed economies. Other factors driving the growth of superabsorbent polymers in the industry are increasing use of baby diapers and growing demand from the disposable hygiene products industry.
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The polymers which possess water retention property are known to be absorbents. These absorbents have high potential of absorbing water and aqueous liquids of almost 800 times of its weight. Hence, these polymers were termed to be superabsorbent polymers. Physical appearance of these polymers can be misunderstood with table salt as these polymers are white/ off white in color. Common names of superabsorbent polymers are slush powder, SAP, absorbents, etc. These polymers are produced by polymerization reaction with acrylic acid. This acrylic acid is then blended with sodium hydroxide with the help of an initiator to form sodium salt which is poly acrylic acid sodium salt. This sodium salt is also known as sodium polyacrylate which is the most common superabsorbent known to wide range of industries today.
There are various methods for manufacturing superabsorbent polymers worldwide. Other polymer such as polyacrylamide copolymer among others is also a polymer used as superabsorbent polymer which is manufactured using other technique. The synthesis of superabsorbent polymers is done through the techniques such as gel polymerization, copolymer synthesis, suspension polymerization and solution polymerization. Superabsorbent polymers synthesized using these techniques are used for a wide range of application in the industrial sector.
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The major applications of superabsorbent include general as well as medical applications. General applications include baby diapers, feminine hygiene products, and adult incontinence products among others. These products are manufactured using an absorbent core which consists of a layer of superabsorbent polymers inside it. This helps retaining high amount of liquid which is then converted into gel thereby avoiding the problem of water leakage. This property of these polymers has led to high demand from the baby diaper and disposable hygiene products industry thereby contributing to the growth of superabsorbent polymers in the industry. The medical industry has contributed and is expected to fuel more demand for superabsorbent polymers in the industry through its wound care segment. Due to its water retention property and advancement in technology, superabsorbent polymers are used in manufacturing medical products which include traditional and advanced wound care products such as bandages and surgical pads among others. These polymers help absorbing exudates and liquids leaving the wound dry. This prevents itching and quick recovery of wound. These benefits have led to high demand for superabsorbent polymers from the medical industry. These polymers are used in agriculture as soil additive and as a cleansing agent in water treatment industry. Therefore, these industries are also projected to fuel demand for superabsorbent polymers in the near future.
Growing hygiene awareness among the people in both the developing and developed economies is driving the growth of global superabsorbent polymers. The rising use of hygiene products in Asia Pacific, especially China and India is expected to boost demand for superabsorbent polymers in the region. Therefore, Asia Pacific is the fastest growing region in terms of demand for superabsorbent polymers globally. North America held the largest share of global superabsorbent polymers industry due to growing demand for feminine hygiene products and adult incontinence products. The region is expected to retain it position during the forecast period from 2016 to 2022. Europe and Rest of the World is also expected to boost industry growth of superabsorbent polymers in the near future.
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