# Diapers + gratuitously more than enough to saturate them...

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Est. Contributor
I am curious, as to what would happen, if one were to [HYPOTHETICALLY, of course] take a package of diapers, with a few [3-5] holes in the plastic, no bigger than 1 cm. in diameter, and tossed said item into a large quantity of water, gratuitously enough for the package to displace 4-8 times (to allow for size expansion, whilst removing/absorbing water from the surroundings) its' current volume, and still remain completely covered in water, what would happen? I am, obviously, not suggesting anyone do this, as it would be a pretty large and terrible waste of resources, but rather, I am just curious as to how they would react. Would the plastic tear, and the diapers expand out of them? Or, would the plastic hold the diapers so tightly compressed, that they do not have enough capillary force to absorb the water? Any theories? Any proof to back those up? I am thoroughly intrigued... But maybe that's what 9 in the morning posting [after no sleep] does to you...

I personally think the package would burst open. Anyone else? Scientific/theoretical proof would be nice, especially the capillary force [if that's the right term] that diapers require to expand and take more water in. Thanks for helping me satisfy my curiousity, the fact that it's a completely ridiculous idea aside. =)

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#### Elli

##### Guest
Hmm...got me thinking.

Right, so for the package to rupture and burst open, the force from within the bag would have to be greater than the force from outside the bag and the strength of the bag itself.

If it were in a tank of water, the pressure from this body of water would surely even out the force from expanding nappies and make it less likely to break...right?

So, to remove that factor, I'm now imagining inserting a hose into the package, on dry land, and filling the package to full but not bursting, then removing the hose and resealing the package. But, am I right in thinking that the package contains it's capacity whether or not the water is swishing around in there or if it has been absorbed by the nappies and is now a gel? The package might be full of expanded nappies instead of free-moving water, but it hasn't had anything to increase it's capacity further. Even if you were to reconnect the hose, there would come a point where you could not get anymore water in, because the package would be full. If you forced water in, by using a high pressure hose, the package might rupture but that would happen regardless, so I'll ignore that scenario. In a body of water, with no high-pressure hose, no more water could enter.

However, if the gel (that nappies turn water into) actually takes more room than the water/gel crystals when seperate, then there is an active force from within the nappies. Nappies with SAP expand numerous times their original size but if the nappy were simply a water-tight bag, would the liquid poured into them also take this same amount of space? Say you have 100ml of water and you poured this into a measuring tube containing 100ml of unused gel crystals, would the resulting mixture have to be 200ml? If it were more, then would that suggest an active reaction rather than an effective but passive absorption of fluid? I know that when nappies are very full it is possible for them to burst, but is this just because they get sat on?

Because I imagine (though am by no means certain) that it is a more passive absorption rather than an active reaction, I think the package would be very full, but not burst open.

If there was a weak spot on the package however, I guess that might break under the increased tension. For example, often on a nappy package there is the perforated line opening. But as soon as the package tears open a little, it is no longer as stretched so I imagine it wouldn't be forced to open any further.

Interesting question though, for geeks like me!

Est. Contributor
Same here. We had some of that sodium polyacrylate [Diaper gel contents] in science, and before I even knew it was in diapers [about 3 years back] I learned of its' expansion and absorbtion capabilities. I am wondering if the capillary force [of the crystals attracting water [but not combining with it, thus why water can evaporate out, and is not changed and can be pressed out with enough force] is enough to cause a package of diapers [which I should assume would float untill soaked] to burst open. But yeah, when we got to see that substance in AP Chem for the 'first time', and he was showing it off like it was AWESOME [after taking a glass of water and pouring it into the crystals, then flipping the glass and saying OOH SNAP NO WATER!] I just looked at him and said, "Yeah, I love sodium polyacrylate, too." He gave me this ??? How does he know that look. So he's like "... Yes...Yes, that is correct. And can anyone tell me what this is commonly used i-" "Commonly used as either a decicant, and a general water absorber. Being experimented with as an ingredient in wildfire prevention in places such as Cali, and also found in diapers." Everyone was like... How does he know that? Probably thought something into how I know it's in diapers, but whatever. Nobody asked. Hehe. At any rate, it does expand when saturated, from my observation. Thus how a glass of water "disappears".

ADISC's science nerds, unite! We shall conquer this problem, for SCIENCE! =D

Edit: Found a demo to prove it.

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#### Elli

##### Guest
Ah ok, I hadn't known what capillary force was. I had thought that the polymer was somehow left incomplete and the water combined with it. I didn't know it could evaporate and I thought that when water is squeezed back out, that's because the little partical thingys have been burst, allowing the water back out. But you say the water doesn't actually combine, right? That's interesting. You're a better scientist than me!

Est. Contributor
Heh, no. I just have two years of chemistry (One of them being a college-level chemistry class, including the bonding natures of chemicals...) Basically, capillary force is the reason why, if you take a piece of paper, and dip it to a pre-set line, in water, and hold it there, that water seems to creep up the paper... It's the force at which water can be sucked in, and if it is greater than the pressure keeping it from happening, it obviously doesn't happen. And naw, it doesn't combine, more just absorbs. I donno. Either way, it was a nice little musing at the time, to consider. I think of odd shit like this all of the time [even though I prefer my answers to be even, haha. Even numbers are just nicer.]

#### avery

Est. Contributor
I am curious, as to what would happen, if one were to [HYPOTHETICALLY, of course] take a package of diapers, with a few [3-5] holes in the plastic, no bigger than 1 cm. in diameter, and tossed said item into a large quantity of water, gratuitously enough for the package to displace 4-8 times (to allow for size expansion, whilst removing/absorbing water from the surroundings) its' current volume, and still remain completely covered in water, what would happen? I am, obviously, not suggesting anyone do this, as it would be a pretty large and terrible waste of resources, but rather, I am just curious as to how they woulad react. Would the plastic tear, and the diapers expand out of them? Or, would the plastic hold the diapers so tightly compressed, that they do not have enough capillary force to absorb the water? Any theories? Any proof to back those up? I am thoroughly intrigued... But maybe that's what 9 in the morning posting [after no sleep] does to you...

I personally think the package would burst open. Anyone else? Scientific/theoretical proof would be nice, especially the capillary force [if that's the right term] that diapers require to expand and take more water in. Thanks for helping me satisfy my curiousity, the fact that it's a completely ridiculous idea aside. =)

i think this would create a massive, destructive, catastrophic explosion. alert the military! :graduate:

J

#### Jeffy

##### Guest
Haha! i've tried this once XD I threw an open package of good-nites into the creek by my house in order to "destroy evidence". I had only just opened them too so i was really mad >: \$17 down the drain.
I went back the next day cause incidentally my favorite sitting spot is right by the creek. And it actually got caught on a branch and swelled up really big and split the package open, they were all saturated and big and stuff.
Also I tested this theory when I went to the rave at A-Kon padded... Except I wore an old pair of whitie-tighties over it to keep it from crinkling when i was walking down to the dance. Well... needless to say I drank a lot of water and danced the night away... and bambinos hold a LOT and I got this bright idea to put a stuffer in for kicks. It actually soaked up and swelled up so much it stretched out the waistband so bad it ruined the undies and ripped around the front a little bit n.n; thanks bambinos for ruining my big boy undies!

Est. Contributor
Hehehe... Not THAT'S market security. "Our product will not only make you feel like a baby, it'll DESTROY your adult garments!" : lol :
Heh. Couldn't help making the joke, no matter how bad it was. At any rate, your observation is pretty much what I think would happen, but this can't be counted as an official test result [sorry ], as they were open, thus providing a more weak spot for tearage to occur. And I was also thinking more along the line of say, the CVS/Rite Aid packages... Not sure if it is, but I'd think GoodNites packages are a little less rugged.

At any rate, since your test results are the closest we've got, we are forced to conclude, that in a skewed ideal setup [the package being open in one large spot, thus not providing an ideal flow of water in a semi-even pattern, and providing a critical weak point], the capillary force of one package worth of GoodNites diapers, is in fact stronger than the containing force of the packaging around it.

SCIENCE! =)

#### Macaroni

Oh, the joys of modern science
Personally, I'd think the few holes might create points of stress that would make it easier to rip, but if they were small enough, because the diaper would be expanding not on one specific point, but across a relatively large surface area, I don't think they would affect the ripping too much. It also might depend on how sturdy the plastic casing is. I think if it was being all pressed together by the plastic it might not swell as much, but maybe if it was left in for a long time...?

Although in truth, I probably have no idea what I'm actually talking about

Est. Contributor

Objective:
Determine whether the force of capillary action of an arbitrary package of diapers, packaged in plastic, is greater than said plastic's containment force.

Materials:
-One package of diapers
-One container that will contain enough liquid so as to keep said package fully submerged, even with large (3-5 times larger than itself) expansion (note that a small body of water would be an ideal choice for a test like this)
-Duct tape (because you ALWAYS need duct tape.)
-Water

Procedure:
1. If liquid is not already, place liquid inside the container designated for this experiment. (Make sure liquid is always in *something*, or there are problems...)
2. Take diapers, and, due to an issue of excessive force created in areas of water inlet, pointed out by a fellow colleague, we shall have to reinforce these areas. Take your duct tape, and cut off several (4-7) 1 inch by 1 inch squares. Distribute these evenly around the package.
3. Create 1/2 inch round holes in the center of each piece of duct tape. Take care not to damage the contents.
4. Take the package of diapers, and place it in the container designated for this experiment. Observe the experiment, and record results.
5. After it everything appears to have stopped [if anything], remove experiment from water. Determine condition of package, and determine any damage done (if any). Record the results.

Haha, sorry. I haven't had enough SCIENCE lately, and this seemed like a good way to sum up my idea.

#### Macaroni

Hahaha, well played
To add to the experiments, maybe test with different liquids? :O

Est. Contributor
My thought exactly. I wanted to test [denatured] ethyl alcohol/ethanol, and methyl alcohol. Because that has fun uses afterwards. Can you see how many uses a diaper, fully saturated with m/ethyl alcohol could have!? Hehe. I'm a pyro.

Diaper bomb. XD Screw the molotov coctail, a flaming diaperfireball coming right at you would be more than enough to scare you away. Plus, when it hit, it would splatter flaming gel everywhere. But, it would be terribly bad for the environment XD

#### Macaroni

Oh no! Not the environment!!! :O

J

#### Jeffy

##### Guest
XD WOW i've actually done this before too! Hydrogel napalm!

#### CarKid

Est. Contributor
I am curious, as to what would happen, if one were to [HYPOTHETICALLY, of course] take a package of diapers, with a few [3-5] holes in the plastic, no bigger than 1 cm. in diameter, and tossed said item into a large quantity of water, gratuitously enough for the package to displace 4-8 times (to allow for size expansion, whilst removing/absorbing water from the surroundings) its' current volume, and still remain completely covered in water, what would happen? I am, obviously, not suggesting anyone do this, as it would be a pretty large and terrible waste of resources, but rather, I am just curious as to how they would react. Would the plastic tear, and the diapers expand out of them? Or, would the plastic hold the diapers so tightly compressed, that they do not have enough capillary force to absorb the water? Any theories? Any proof to back those up? I am thoroughly intrigued... But maybe that's what 9 in the morning posting [after no sleep] does to you...

I personally think the package would burst open. Anyone else? Scientific/theoretical proof would be nice, especially the capillary force [if that's the right term] that diapers require to expand and take more water in. Thanks for helping me satisfy my curiousity, the fact that it's a completely ridiculous idea aside. =)

You need to get a hobby......

Est. Contributor
This is my hobby. Thinking. Enjoy. Is your hobby feeling superior in that you can tell others they need a hobby? Because if not, I think, that you need to get a hobby.

#### Entity

Est. Contributor
People, this is what the Mythbusters are for!

#### Darkfinn

##### Banned
This is getting interesting.

Sadly I don't have a spare pack of diapers... or a baby swimming pool.

J

#### Jeffy

##### Guest
This is getting interesting.

Sadly I don't have a spare pack of diapers... or a baby swimming pool.

>.< one of us is going to have to try this... maybe on several brands... which would be a sad waste of lots of padding but totally worth it if it works XD

#### WoXxY

Est. Contributor
You have a bathtub, and probably 8 dollars laying around if you are really that interested.
I got a 23 pack of Luvs size 6 at walmart the other night to use as a stuffer, so that's not a huge investment. They would be ideal because the package isn't perforated to be torn-open

I would suggest trying a single diaper laying flat with a stack of weights on top of it in a shallow pan of water. Start heavy and reduce the weights until it starts to expand enough to lift the weight, then multiply that by the number of diapers in a pack. You could figure out the overall force roughly that way.

Though this doesn't quite answer the question of what'd happed, it should give you a better idea.

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