Sodium polyacrylate also named acrylic sodium salt polymer or simply ASAP (repeating unit: -CH2-CH(COONa)- ) is a polymer widely used in consumer products. Acrylate polymers generally are considered to possess an anionic charge. While sodium neutralized acrylates are the most common form used in industry, there are also other salts available including potassium, lithium and ammonium.
Acrylates and acrylic chemistry have a wide variety of industrial uses that include:
1. Sequestering agents in detergents. (By binding hard water elements such as Ca and Mg, the surfactants in detergents work more efficiently.)
2. Thickening agents.
4. Super absorbent polymers. These cross-linked acrylic polymers are referred to as "Super Absorbents" and "Water Crystals", and are used in baby diapers. Co-polymer versions are used in agriculture and other specialty absorbent applications. The origins of super absorbent polymer chemistry trace back to the early 1960s when the US Department of Agriculture developed the first super absorbent polymer materials. This chemical is featured in the Maximum Absorbency Garment used by NASA.