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Thread: A Way to Rate Absorbancy

  1. #1

    Default A Way to Rate Absorbancy

    After reviewing the Bambino Quadro, it occurred to me that there is no easy way to describe the differences in absorbancy between high SAP and high wood pulp products. It got me to thinking of a way to state it easily by using a ratio.

    Since SAP has great volume absorption and retention but it also has poor speed of absorption and horrible wicking. I think it would be useful to have a way to measure it. Here is what I propose:

    The ratio between the amount of liquid that is absorbed by the SAP divided by the absolute volume of absorption would be a quick representation of it's absorption properties.

    An example:

    The Abena X-Plus I would estimate as having an overall capacity of say 1500ml. By experience (in swelling, flooding control, press out, and wicking) I might say that I think 750ml is absorbed by the SAP. So the measure would be:

    750ml / 1500ml = 0.50

    A Bambino could be represented like:

    800ml / 1200ml = 0.67

    Using the 2 examples you can quickly see that the Bambino will be worse at controlling flooding than the Abena.

    What we could call the resulting ratio I'm still trying to figure out. I was thinking SAPAR but I think it's a little lame.

    Of course, there are obvious issues with this method with the major one being that we really don't know what the ratio is. I realize the measure is only a subjective guess at this point. But I think a consensus could be achieved over time, and I think it is a pretty convenient measure of performance characteristics.

    To give a demonstration of its usefulness. This is how I would currently rate the products I've tried (in a (Ratio)-(Total Volume Absorbed in ml) format:

    -Abri-Let Maxi = 0.10-700
    -Molicare Super Plus = 0.35-1000
    -Abena X-Plus = 0.50-1500
    -Secure Care X-Plus = 0.50-1000 (Yes, I think there is a slight difference to the Bambinos)
    -Bambino Bianco/Classico = 0.67-1200
    -Assurance = 0.7-400
    -Depend Boost = 0.75-250
    -Bambino Quadro = 0.95-850

    Anyway, does anyone think this could be useful?

  2. #2


    Skeeter, you propose a fascinating theory.

    Here is a site all about testing diapers:

    Welcome To The Disposable Diaper Net

    Carlos Richer is a world-wide consultant to the baby disposable diaper industry. The above site is one of many offered by his consulting firm. Dig deep there and you will find information about doing science fair projects on testing disposable diapers.

    Certainly it is very important to know which styles of which brands wick fast and which absorb the most but over a long period. Someone already discussed an article in the New Yorker about UltraHuggies in which it is said the R&D and Quality Control folks use the term "the insult" as a polite way of saying the diaper was wet or messed.


  3. #3


    Thank you for the interesting link. I'm a Quality Management professional and find such information/material fascinating. I just did a quick search of the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) and the ISO (International Standards Organization) but came up with no standards specifically related to "diapers." There will be standards for absorption, I'm sure, but there's nothing specific to diapers. I'll look further and let you guys know if I find anything.

  4. #4

  5. #5


    There is a measure missing here: squeeze-out.

    For example, Abena (I think) lists squeeze-out that occurs when a 150lb weight is put on the diaper a set time after its capacity has been met.

    Consider this: if your 1500mL capacity diaper squeezes out 1250mL when it's sat in, then it's worse in practice than a diaper with a 500mL capacity that releases none of this fluid back into the diaper upon sitting.

  6. #6

  7. #7


    Basically, wicking is how far the "insult" spreads from where it hits the diaper. With SAP the liquid is only absorbed when it comes in direct contact with it. So when you wet a diaper with a high SAP content, once the spots where the liquid pools is full it will just stay pooled there. With wood pulp the liquid in the pool will get "wicked" (like liquid wax in a burning candle) up into the areas that are still dry. Good wicking helps you to avoid flooding and helps use more of the diaper padding. The trade-off between good wicking and poor wicking is usually in thickness of the diaper.

    Thank you for the link Angela! I've read a couple of them, but I don't know if I have the time to really do that intensive testing.
    Last edited by Skeeter; 03-Apr-2009 at 11:52. Reason: Added to the comment

  8. #8


    Personally... I think the only way to effectively rate a diaper's capacity is to ask around and compare results from a number of individuals. People have very different lifestyles and this can drasticly effect how a diaper performs. Some folks wet slowly, some flood. Some folks are very active while diapered, some just chill out and sit around. Capacity also depends on the composition of your urine. SAP does better with urine that is more water and less salts... so if you are staying properly hydrated your diaper will have a greater capacity.

    For me... I break things down into hours of usage. I can't keep count of the number of times I wet nor can I easily measure the amount of fluid released every time... but once I have worn a certain brand of diaper for long enough I get a good idea of how long I can expect one to last before needing a change. Of course I can make one last longer by simply drinking less... but it still gives you a good idea.

    I'll list some for a quick reference.

    Attends: 3-5 hours.
    Abena Super: 5-6 hours.
    Tena Super: 5-6 hours.
    Secure X-plus: 5-7 hours.
    Bambino: 8-10 hours.
    Abena X-plus: 8-10 hours.

    That's pretty much all the brands I've tried in the past year.

  9. #9


    I don't really care of the amount of liquid diapers hold. I think the best way is to try for yourself, and learn what they can hold with your own liquid. The only thing that I would take into consideration is which diaper (of a specific brand I'm looking for) is most absorbent. I would get that one, and just figure out how much of my urine it can hold, and then I'll know.

  10. #10


    It's fun to be in the presence of some true diaper geeks! I was thinking yesterday about the trade-offs, and balance, between pulp and SAP, and how that might be measured. With different parameters a statistical correlation between the two variables can be drawn for each parameter. Too, a designed experiment could be run to study the interactions of the two variables. I'm going to spend more time on that website, when I get the time.

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