Poly-sorb Diaper Dissection
The building blocks of
all matter are atoms.
Atoms can group or
bond to form
molecules. Here are
two models of water of
a water molecule. Water
is made of two atoms of
hydrogen (H) and one
atom of oxygen (O) and
its formula is H2O.
Introduction/ Background: What does an astronaut
do if they are in the middle of a space walk when they
need to go to the bathroom? D'oh! Diapers, that's right,
they wear diapers with a super absorbent chemical called
poly-sorb. Poly-sorb or Sodium Polyacrylate is an amazing
polymer that absorbs 100-500 times its weight in water.
Space is not the only place that poly-sorb is being used.
You can find poly-sorb in disposable diapers. It is spread
throughout the cotton lining. Poly-sorb is a polymer.
Polymer means many parts.
Polymers are very important substances. Wood, starch,
rubber, cotton, wool, spiders’ webs, silk, hair, leather,
muscles, and fingernails are all examples of polymers that
are made in nature. Man-made polymers, or synthetic
polymers, are materials such as polyester, polystyrene,
polyethylene, teflon, and nylon. A zip lock plastic bag,
fibers in clothing, carpets, and fishing line are all examples
of polymers. Gelatin, hair, fingernails, and muscle tissue
are all made of polymers called proteins.
In this lab you will investigate how chemicals are used in everyday disposable diapers.
You will learn by dissecting a diaper and by testing the chemicals found in it.
State Standard; c. Students know atoms and molecules form solids by building up
repeating patterns, such as the crystal structure of NaCl or long-chain polymers.
Safety: Wear safety glasses and be careful about the dust created
when shaking the dissected diaper parts in the containers. Don't eat
or taste the poly-sorb. Don't play with lab materials like the
droppers or the poly-sorb itself. Be very careful about inhaling the
cotton fibers in the baby diapers. They can be very irritating to the
Materials: disposable diapers salt (NaCl), distilled water, p