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Abstract

Superabsorbent polymers are hydrophilic networks that can absorb and retain huge amounts of water or aqueous solutions. They are currently used in many areas including hygienic and bio-related uses (particularly in disposable diapers), agricultural uses (e.g., water reserving in soil, soil conditioning, and controlled release of agrochemicals), pharmaceutical dosage forms, separation technology, fibers/textiles, water-swelling rubbers, soft actuators/valves, electrical, construction, packaging, artificial snow, sludge/coal dewatering, fire-extinguishing gels, etc. Addition of clays and organo-modified clays into superabsorbent formulation has funded new generations of these hydrogels, i.e., superabsorbent hydrogel composites (SHCs) and superabsorbent hydrogel nanocomposites (SHNCs). New superabsorbent hydrogels are cheaper in price, and possess superior mechanical properties than non-composite counterparts. This review introduces the SHC and SHNC polymers with the focus on different minerals and humic additives, synthetic methods, the hydrogel characteristics and their applications. POLYM. COMPOS., 2011. © 2010 Society of Plastics Engineers