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|Dr. Skip's Corner: K-12 Teaching Adventures @ OSU Engineering|
A Simple Experiment to look at Super Water Absorbant Soils
Dr. Skip Rochefort and Norm Fraker Chemical Engineering Department, Oregon State University
NOTE: The technology for the super soaker soils are the same super absorbent polymers (SAP ) that are responsible for the incredible disposable baby diapers that we talked about a little over a year ago in this column.
The beauty of this experiment is that it can be a quick and simple (15 min.) mini-lesson or home experiment, or integrated into a multiple session learning module on soils, water retention, erosion, plant growth, etc. This has been tested with 2nd Grade Ashbrook Independent School students as part of their soils and plants module, and with Benson High School students as a 15 min. fun experiment to demonstrate how a technology developed for one application (the disposable baby diaper) can have a significant impact in a completely different areas such as: home gardening; increased crop production in Eastern Oregon; erosion control for prevention of landslides; and even the production of artificial snow for indoor skiing in Japan (that’s another lesson for another month!).
NOTE: The Steve Spangler Science link below has a “boat load” of information on these materials and ideas for how to use them, so I’m just going to cover a simple basic experiment below. Visit that site….it’s pretty good!
For more information or to obtain some super absorbent polymer (SAP) contact: Skip.firstname.lastname@example.org
Reference Web Sites (there are many others)
Best site to visit: http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/experiment/00000038
Water absorbing Soil polymers: http://www.aquadiamonds.com/