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Review on the Manufacturing and Properties of Nonwoven Superabsorbent Core Fabrics used in Disposable Diapers

Author(s): Grace Kakonke, Tamrat Tesfaye, Bruce Sithole and Mbuyu Ntunka

Absorbent hygiene products are made up of different types of raw materials, renewables and non-renewables, to create the absorbent core which acts as a fluid storage structure in the product. With the addition of superabsorbent polymers in the absorbent structure, disposable diapers moved from being just a convenient item to a thinner, safer, and efficient absorbent product which resulted in reduced leakage of the collected fluid. Numerous changes in the design of diapers led to an increase in environmental problems such as excessive resource consumption, water and air pollution, excessive use of energy as well as waste disposal. This is due to the presence of specialized biological inert polymers and superabsorbent polymers which are not easily digested by bacteria present in public and private sewage treatment plants. Hence, sustainable production and consumption strategies are being explored for the production of bio-based products to reduce the use of non-renewable raw materials. This report reviews procedures for the manufacture of disposable diapers, problems emanating from the usage of fossil-based products and use of sustainably resourced materials that could replace the fossil-based ones. It appears that chicken feathers could be used to manufacture disposable diapers as they meet the property and characteristic requirements.

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