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Background Research – Nappy absorption(revised)

Background Research – Nappy absorption(revised)

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Published by MrStuDev
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Examples of background research for Science Project

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Published by: MrStuDev on May 12, 2012
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Background Research – Nappy absorption
Since becoming a father I have been very interestedin the effectiveness of different brands of nappies. Iam particularly interested in the absorption rates ofthese nappies as this would impact on the overall costof nappies over a period of time. I.e. the better theabsorption the less often a babies nappy needs to bechanged, therefore less money being spent.I am also conscious of the impact disposable nappies have on our environment. Ourfamily would prefer to use reusable nappies but are they more absorbent?I have heard that disposable nappies have a chemical called polymer in them. Whatis the purpose of polymer? Is it more effective than cloth to absorb moisture?
An overview of the types of nappies
There are three main categories that you can choose between:
Traditional cloth nappies, known as flat or square nappies
Disposable nappies
Modern cloth nappies which are pre-shaped and re-usable.
Cloth Nappies
Modern cloth nappies are now easy to use and justas easy to clean. Cloth nappies are made up ofthree layers: a waterproof shell, an absorbentcore, and a fabric next to the skin that allowsmoisture to pass through, keeping your baby’s skindry.Cloth nappies halve the ecological footprint ofdisposable nappies. Every child adds a minimum of6,500 disposable nappies to our landfills whichtake upwards of 500 years to decompose. Included in the soiled nappies are manypounds of raw fecal matter. Viruses found in the feces can pose a threat to ourwater supplies and wildlife by seeping through cracks that sometimes develop inlandfills.
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Further, the 30 billion disposable nappies that get thrown out in the Worldannually consume approximately 150,000 tons of plastic and 1,200,000 tons oftree pulp every year. Now compare that to the natural resources used to make andclean three to five dozen cloth nappies.Then there’s the question of what’s hidden in some disposable nappies, such asdioxin (a by-product of bleaching the pulp) which has been linked to cancer, as wellas other chemicals and fragrances that can irritate sensitive baby skin.On average, parents spend $4,000 (US) on disposable nappies per child. Comparethat to an average of $900 (that includes laundering expenses) for your firstchild's nappy years using cloth nappies. A second and third child will cost muchless since cloth nappies can be re-used for more than one child.Cloth nappies use premium quality 100% natural cotton fibre in their cloth nappiesfor softness, absorbency and durability.Many cloth nappies have inserts that fold easily and are sized to fit perfectly anappy cover. They can be folded in a variety of ways to accommodate boys, girlsand smaller babies as required, and 'boosted' with optional booster pads for heavywetters or night time use.
What’s in a disposable nappy?
70% - Core containing fluff pulp and absorbent material10% - Polypropylene topsheet to protect against wetness13% - Polyethylene backsheet to prevent leakage7% - Other, including tapes, elastics and adhesives
Baby Nappy Polymer
DescriptionModern baby diapers contain polyacrylic acid, a super-absorbent polymer. Whensome of this polymer was added to a beaker with water and stirred, it absorbedmany times its weight in water.
Explanation
Polyacrylic acid is a polymer made from the monomer acrylic acid. These longchains contain thousands of monomer units, and the polymer also has some cross-

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