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Characterization of a Polypropylene/Super-Absorbent Web by NMR Diffusion Studies

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Super-absorbent fiber has the property of absorbing moisture up to several thousand times its original weight, undergoing significant expansion, and eventually becoming a gel. The hydrophilic super-absorbent fiber is usually blended with hydrophobic polymer fiber to form a polymer web with the ability to attract fluid and also to hold it under pressure. Because of the confining influence of pore boundaries on molecular translation, restricted diffusion measurements on fluids in porous systems, such as the super-absorbent web, contain important information about the pore morphology. In this work, we studied the diffusion of water in a web of super-absorbent polyacrylate and polypropylene fiber. We observed restricted diffusion of the water by means of the pulsed-field-gradient spin-echo (PFGSE) NMR technique. Several mathematical models were used to interpret the data and yield estimates of the gross pore dimensions and the surface-to-volume ratio of the pores.

Keywords: Diffusion; Diffusion coefficient; Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy; Polypropylene fiber; Pulsed-field gradient spin-echo NMR; Restricted diffusion; Self-diffusion; Super-absorbent fiber; Web

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Chemistry, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-8204; present address: Biophysics Research Division, 930 North University, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 2: Department of Chemistry, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-8204

Publication date: November 1, 1996

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