Superabsorbent polymers for dehumidification



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Texas Tech University


The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of the superabsorbent polymer, H-SPAN (hydrolyzed starch-polyacrylonitrile) as a means of controlling humidity in confined environments. Its equilibrium moisture capacity was found to be superior to that of traditional desiccants, such as silica gel, activated alumina and calcium sulfate, etc., over the relative humidity range of 50% to 80%. Below a relative humidity of 50%, these solid inorganic desiccants and the H-SPAN gave essentially identical performance with regard to equilibrium absorption capacity. However, organically derived H-SPAN could be regenerated at temperatures considerably below those of the traditional inorganic desiccants. This represents a savings in energy costs during the regeneration step. Although there are many parameters which influence dehumidification with solid desiccants, analysis of a typical hypothetical system indicates that the superabsorbent polymer powder can be used to control humidity in enclosed environments. When compared to standard refrigeration units for humidity control, the H-SPAN also indicated a better economical performance.



Polyacrylonitrile, Sorbents, Humidity