Potassium Polyacrylate | How to Choose Agricultural Type?

April 14, 2021

Since the UCC company of the United States first applied SAP (superabsorbent polymer) to soil water retention in 1973, SAP has been gradually applied to the cultivation and transportation of seedlings in agriculture, forestry, and horticulture, breeding, improving soil fertility, and water retention, and inhibiting soil erosion.

There are two types of superabsorbent polymer, so choosing a reliable Agricultural Potassium Polyacrylate Manufacturer is very very important, to avoid that you order the wrong Agricultural Potassium Polyacrylate.


Types of super absorbent polymer

There are two types of super absorbent polymer: potassium polyacrylate and sodium polyacrylate.

And there’re big differences between them - Raw materials Price Mainly Usages:

sodium polyacrylate - sodium hydroxide, acrylic acid, etc. about USD 1,200/Ton for the paper diaper, sanitary, etc.

potassium polyacrylate - potassium hydroxide, acrylic acid, etc. about USD 3,000/Ton for agriculture.


Potassium polyacrylate

For now, potassium polyacrylate‘s price is about USD3000/ton.

Soil conditioner

Potassium polyacrylate will absorb water and turn to water gel after rain or irrigate. And gel can release water to plants when the soil is dry enough. After releasing, potassium polyacrylate gel will turn to powder/granule and wait for the next rain.

Advantage

As a soil conditioner, SAP mainly uses a good water absorption capacity of SAP, so that the water in the soil is absorbed by the resin, so as to reduce the loss of water in the soil and play a role in reducing heat conduction, which can reduce the temperature difference between day and night, which is conducive to the growth of crops.

At the same time, SAP can enhance the cohesion between the easily dispersible soil particles, so that the particles can bond with each other and agglomerate into water-stable aggregates, thus causing changes in particle size composition. The increase in the number of soil aggregates has a good effect on improving soil permeability, preventing topsoil crusting, and reducing soil surface water evaporation.

For clay soils with low water content in the soil, SAP helps to increase the air content in the soil, improve the physiological environment such as water, fertilizer, air, and heat around the root system, promote root system development, and expand the absorption area.

Period of validity

The period of validity is about 3-10 years and potassium polyacrylate can be slowly decomposed into potassium ions, ammonia, water, and carbon dioxide in the soil.

Seed coating

The use of SAP in plant seed cultivation by the mixing method and coating method can:

  • increase the germination rate,
  • shorten germination time,
  • Promote plant growth.

For example, dressing SAP with grass seed can improve the survival rate of aircraft seeding in arid regions.

The super absorbent is mixed with water at a concentration of 1% to form a gel, which is coated on the surface of the seeds or mixed with fertilizers, nutrients, insecticides, bactericides, humus, and other ingredients to make seed coating agents. Bud, revitalization, yield and other effects,

It can be used for the artificial sowing of wheat, corn, soybean, peanut, and direct seeding afforestation and grass.

The name of the cropEarly emergence/dayImprove seedling emergence rate/%rate of growth/%
wheat1~3132-20
maize1~38-473-20
beet22-6-
watermelon1~25-94.3
peanut-2.7-87-14.4
sesame--10-18
soybean--12.2-48.9
cotton--3.2-17

Fertilizer coating

The fertilizer is coated with SAP and then fertilized so that the fertilizer can be released slowly without being washed by rainwater.

It can:

  • Improve the utilization rate of chemical fertilizers,
  • reduce waste caused by fertilizer loss and environmental pollution,
  • better display the excellent performance of varieties,
  • and also have anti-counterfeiting functions.

Seedling transplant preservative

In gardening and agriculture, it is often necessary to transplant various seedlings. If the seedlings are not kept well, the seedlings will die due to the drought of the roots during the transplanting period.

Therefore, the roots and soil are often dug together for soil protection of seedlings, which consumes a lot of manpower and transportation costs, and brings a lot of trouble.

SAP solves this problem and opens up a new way of transplanting seedlings.

In the transplanting of seedlings, it is only necessary to coat the SAP water-absorbing gel on the roots of the unearthed seedlings for water retention treatment, and no watering is required within a few days to half a month after transplantation, which can greatly improve the survival rate of the seedlings and the survival time of transplantation.


Sodium polyacrylate

Sodium polyacrylate’s price is about USD1200 / ton. (The price of inferior type can be lower than USD1000 / ton.)

As another type of super absorbent polymer, sodium polyacrylate is mainly used in producing absorption products such as paper diapers, and sanitary towels.

Unlike potassium polyacrylate, sodium polyacrylate‘s water gel won’t release water to plants and break down in a few days after mixing with soil.

This is meaning, sodium polyacrylate can’t help plants grow at all. Conversely, the sodium ion will let soil harden.

So sodium polyacrylate should not be used in agriculture.

But sodium polyacrylate‘s price is much lower than potassium polyacrylate and it’s hard to distinguish between them, there are some fake “potassium polyacrylate” is sodium polyacrylate in the marketing.

So choosing a reliable Agricultural Potassium Polyacrylate Manufacturer is very very important, Founded in 2009, Qingdao SOCO New Material Co., Ltd. is a modern high-tech enterprise focusing on R&D, production, marketing, and service of SOCO brand high polymer products. At present, Qingdao SOCO has launched a series of more than 30 varieties and specifications of products, including super absorbent polymer, water-soluble polymer, polyacrylamide, acrylamide, and acrylic acid, and other five categories.


Differences between them

chemical namesodium polyacrylatepotassium polyacrylate
usagesthe absorbent material of diapers,  sanitary napkins, etc.water-retaining agent for plants
appearance of absorbingwhite powder => white water gel => transparent water gelwhite powder => transparent water gel
the water-retaining ability of water gelstrong than the roots of plantsweaker than roots of plants, strong than soil
decomposition timein one weekmore than two weeks
decomposition productNa+,  carbon dioxide,  water, etc.K+,  carbon dioxide,  water, etc.
pricelowhigh

Does sodium polyacrylate help plants?

Sodium polyacrylate is widely used in every aspect of our life. And we can easily get sodium polyacrylate from paper diapers, sanitary napkins, etc.

Can we use sodium polyacrylate as a water-retaining agent for plants instead of potassium polyacrylate?

The answer is obviously no.

  • No water releasing function. Different from potassium polyacrylate, sodium polyacrylate (water gel) won’t release water to plants.
  • Bad for soil. Sodium polyacrylate will be decomposed into sodium salt which causes soil salinization.

How to devise them? (especially used in agriculture)

As sodium polyacrylate is much cheaper than potassium polyacrylate, some profiteers sell sodium polyacrylate as a water-retaining agent.

So we need to devise them before purchasing.

The simplest method is the sunlight test:

Expose the water gel to the sun, sodium polyacrylate (or low-quality potassium polyacrylate) water gel will melt in 7 days.


Choose high-quality potassium polyacrylate

High-quality potassium polyacrylate has the following characteristics:

High salt tolerance

The salt in the aqueous solution can affect the water absorption rate of potassium salt, and the leachate in the soil contains salt. Therefore, the salt resistance of potassium polyacrylate is very important.

The salt resistance of SAP is mainly determined by crosslinking density, structural composition, solution properties, surface morphology, and preparation methods.

According to the influence of salt solution on the water absorption of SAP, the following methods are used to improve its anti-electrolyte performance:

  • Introduce diverse groups
  • Choice of crosslinking agent
  • Improving the density of ionic charges and the degree of ionization of ions in the interpenetrating network of water-absorbent resins
  • Complex with other ingredients

High SAP gel strength

The water absorption rate of SAP water-absorbing gel will be affected by the pressure of the soil in the soil, so the strength of the hydrogel is very important.

Generally speaking, gel strength and water absorption rate contradict each other. The strength of hydrogel increases with the increase of cross-linking degree, but the higher the cross-linking degree, the lower the water absorption rate and the less water absorption. Therefore, it must be based on the requirements. The water absorption amount and water absorption rate are controlled to a certain degree of cross-linking to achieve the corresponding strength.

Another method is to add inorganic minerals. The strength of inorganic minerals is much higher than that of SAP. Combining SAP with inorganic minerals is beneficial to improve the gel strength of SAP. Not only does the water absorption performance remain unchanged, but also the durability is good. High water retention performance.

Slow/controlled-release fertilizer performance

SAP can be combined with fertilizers to form a water-retention slow/controlled-release fertilizer that integrates materials and functions so that it has the dual functions of slow-release fertilizer nutrients and water retention.

The swelling degree of SAP in the soil is low and the fertilizer release is slow, thus showing good slow-release performance.

SAP and fertilizer are combined in 3 ways: physical mixing (adsorption or granulation), coating, or chemical synthesis.


FAQs about sodium polyacrylate

Can potassium polyacrylate be reused?

Yes. Potassium polyacrylate becomes gel form after absorbing water. After gel releases the water to the roots of the plant, it will return to the granular state. There potassium polyacrylate granular can absorb rainwater or irrigation water again.
The life of potassium polyacrylate in the soil is related to the degree of soil salinity and local temperature. It can usually reach several years.


How to use potassium polyacrylate for plants?

You can make the potassium polyacrylate gel first then mix it with soil.


Is potassium polyacrylate safe for the environment (biodegradable)?

Yes. Unlike sodium polyacrylate, potassium polyacrylate can be decomposed into water, carbon dioxide, and potassium which can improve soil and increase fertilizer efficiency.


What is potassium polyacrylate used for?

Potassium polyacrylate is a kind of super absorbent polymer used for agriculture. It can improve soil
Mixing it in the soil can greatly increase the water holding capacity of the soil.

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