Super Absorbent PolymersSuper Absorbent Polymers

Press Release

WM 2016 Conference, March 6-10, 2016, Phoenix, AZ, USA
Stability of Super Absorbent Polymers in Sodium Nitrate - 16222

Martin Matushek
M² Polymer Technologies, Inc.


The stability of two different chemical types of cross-linked super absorbent polymers has been explored using a surrogate waste of 3M Sodium Nitrate (NaNO3) that had pH adjusted using concentrated Nitric Acid (HNO3) to pH of 1, 2, 4 and 6. Tests showed both types of polymer gelled the surrogate waste liquids. On-going stability tests revealed that there was no breakdown of the waste form after 11 months and no release of free liquids.


M² Polymer Technologies has been in existence since January 2000 and markets a variety of super absorbent products under the “Waste Lock®” brand. In October of 2014, we were contacted by personnel of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to see if there was any data that showed the stability of these sorts of super absorbent polymers to strong oxidizing agents. The question arose after waste drums from LANL exploded underground at WIPP. LANL explained that it appeared that waste with high levels of nitrates was solidified first using conventional cat litter (i.e. Sodium Bentonite clay) but that at some point, a switch was made to a “natural” cat litter made from some sort of plant fibers. It appears that this waste reacted with the nitrates and/or underwent radiolysis to form gases that caused the drums to explode.

We explained to the LANL people that, while we had extensive experience with many types of LLRW and other chemical contaminants, we had never specifically tested the polymers with strong oxidizing agents. We thought that this work may yield some interesting data and so we undertook this project out of intellectual curiosity.

After some discussion with LANL people who said that there was quite a range of waste forms in the damaged drums, they agreed that a good surrogate waste base would be to use a 3M Sodium Nitrate solution and then adjust pH to the range of 6 down to pH of 1.

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Press Release

M2 Polymer Technologies, Inc. Attains ISO 9001 Certification

June 7, 2011  (West Dundee, Illinois)

M2 Polymer Technologies, Inc. has been assessed and approved by QAS International to the ISO 9001:2008 management systems, standards and guidelines and have been issued an ISO registration certificate.

M2 Polymer Technologies, Inc. was established in January of 2000 and offers over eleven years experience in Super Absorbent Polymers (”SAP”) and specialty chemicals. They are an environmental industry expert in the use of super absorbent polymers for solidification and stabilization of industrial and hazardous wastes. “SAP” are a class of cross-linked, non-biodegradable polymers capable of absorbing and retaining up to 500 times their weight in water. Super Absorbent Polymers are widely used to solidify a wide variety of aqueous wastewaters and sludge with nominal or negligible increase in wastevolume or weight.

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Recent Articles on Superabsorbent Polymers and Waste Solidification by Martin Matushek of M2Polymer Technologies, Inc.

Published at

Economics of super absorbent polymers and waste stabilization By Martin Matushek; Courtesy of M2 Polymer Technologies, Inc. Originally published Oct. 2007

An Excerpt:

Economics of Super Absorbent Polymers & Waste Stabilization

The use of super absorbent polymer (superabsorbent polymer or SAP) in waste stabilization offers many advantages over more conventional absorbents. These advantages include:

• Minimal increase in waste volume or weight
• Lower transport fees due to less loads
• Lower total landfill disposal fees due since waste volume has not expanded
• Faster processing time and consummate labor savings
• No exothermic reaction to release organics or PCBs into the environment.
• Ability to bind most soluble Heavy Metals to prevent leaching

Conventional absorbents include lime kiln dust, Portland cement, dried corn cob, shredded newspaper, bentonite clay and saw dust. These conventional absorbents are relatively cheap – priced in the $20 to $50 per ton range. Why would someone use a super absorbent polymer that can cost $2.00/lbs or more?

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