Dissecting a Diaper

Yesterday my children and I dissected a diaper.  After we opened the diaper and pulled out the cotton, I showed my children how the outer layer is waterproof by pouring tap water into it.  Then I remembered that I have a blog, and pulled out my camera…

Let’s dissect a diaper.  First we cut open a disposable diaper, pulled out all of the cotton, and placed it in a gallon-sized zip-lock bag. The children kneaded the bag until the powder separated from the cotton.

We put the cotton in one bowl, and the powder in the other.  I asked my son which would be more absorbent, the cotton or the powder.  He voted for cotton.  Let’s find out!
Then we filled our 2 ounce shot glasses with water.  Then we colored it with food coloring.  The children loved to help mix the water.
We poured ten ounces of liquid in the cotton bowl, then decided that there was too much of the polymer-gel still in the cotton to make it a real contest.
It’s time to get messy!  The polymer gel was a lot of fun.  After pouring 18 ounces into the powder, it felt very wet and squishy, but still it absorbed all of the liquid.  We stopped at this point because the children were getting it all over the floor.  I was surprised at how easy it was to sweep up.
Look at the texture!

This experiment was inspired by this video:

Disclaimer: Elsewhere on this blog I praise cloth diapering. This is true, about 95% of the time we use cloth diapers, but I love disposable diapers when we travel, or if I get behind in my laundry. :o)


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