Superabsorbents are a key component of hygiene products like baby diapers or adult incontinence products, ensuring that urine is locked up safely, keeping the skin and clothes dry and clean.

Today’s disposable diapers are high-tech products, which have become even more comfortable, thinner and absorbent over the years. A major contributing factor to this development has been innovative superabsorbents such as HySorb® and SAVIVA® from BASF.

C 100 Sudio  HySorb und Saviva  Superabsorber

How superabsorbents work and how they improve our lives

Superabsorbents are humble in appearance: In the shape of inconspicuous white particles they are mostly hidden in the core of diapers, adult incontinence and hygiene products and therefore generally out of sight. But their effect is impressive. Superabsorbents absorb and retain large quantities of liquid even under pressure. Superabsorbents are instrumental in ensuring that diapers work effectively and that the skin remains dry and healthy.


A superabsorbent experiment -
how superabsorbents work

One gram of superabsorbent can absorb up to 500 grams of pure water. The liquid is not only absorbed but also locked up inside the particles even under external pressure. The result is a soft gel that is still capable to absorb further liquid. 


The chemistry behind it

Superabsorber is made by combining (polymerizing) single molecules of sodium acrylate to form long molecular chains. The polymerization is activated by an initiator, and a crosslinker connects the single mole­cules together to form a polymer network. The crosslinker ensures that the granules remain insoluble when exposed to liquid, maintaining their absorbent properties and structure. Upon contact with aqueous liquid the sodium ions become dissociated generating an osmotic pressure which drives more liquid into the superabsorbent binding it tightly within.


Development of diapers since 1980

Superabsorbents enable modern diapers to be thin, extremely light and very comfortable to wear. In the mid-1980s, before superabsorbent polymers were introduced into diapers, much more absorbent fluff pulp was needed to absorb a similar amount of urine. Baby diapers were thicker; at just under 100 grams they weighed around three times as much as they do today and could retain significantly less urine. Without superabsorbents, liquid could be squeezed out of the diaper, for example by the baby putting pressure on the absorbent core when sitting down. With a typical SAP amount of around 12 grams, today’s modern baby diapers prevent urine leakage, stay dry for hours and protect the skin from moisture helping to avoid diaper rash.

Download your information on HySorb®

Superabsorber one pager

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BASF Global Hygiene Portfolio

C 100 Sudio  HySorb und Saviva  Superabsorber


With HySorb®, BASF´s hygiene business offers a comprehensive portfolio of state-of-the art superabsorbents.
Im Werksteil Friesenheimer Insel des BASF-Verbundstandorts Ludwigshafen stehen 50 Tanks, die die Produktionsanlagen mit Einsatzstoffen versorgen. Die Tanks haben zusammen etwa ein Fassungsvermögen von 350 Millionen Litern an Petrochemikalien wie Butan, Benzol und Naphtha. 

The Friesenheim Island section of BASF’s Verbund site in Ludwigshafen is home to 50 tanks that supply the production facilities with feedstocks. The tanks have a combined total capacity of around 350 million liters of petrochemicals such as butane, benzene and naphtha.

HySorb® Biomass Balanced

It is the only available high-performance superabsorbent polymer based on renewable raw materials with a sustainability certificate.
C 100 Sudio  HySorb und Saviva  Superabsorber


SAVIVA®, the next generation of superabsorbent polymer is based on a pioneering technology platform, the droplet polymerization. 


These days, it is difficult to imagine the world of modern hygiene without superabsorbents. Whether for baby diapers, incontinence or feminine hygiene products, none of them would be complete without the white polymer granules that ensure that the fluid is safely locked away and that skin and clothes remain dry and clean.


Baby diapers

Every day around 375,000 babies are born worldwide. Many of them start their new lives wearing comfortable disposable diapers.
Elderly couple drinking coffee

Incontinence products

In industrialized nations life expectancy is continuously rising and society is aging. This results in many challenges and raises many questions such as: How do we ensure that older people enjoy a good quality of life? This involves dealing with the important issue of incontinence.
01ANUNFS Portrait of preteen sister and older sister in hammock.

Feminine hygiene products

Leading an active life without constraints - day after day: Superabsorbents are the secret behind today's trend towards smaller and thinner sanitary napkins improving woman's wellbeing so he can always feel at her best.