Image Number K7218-1
Starch is the main constituent of grain flours, and the most plentiful
starch is cornstarch. Although most of the products from corn milling go into
food and feed, 4.5 billion pounds are used in the paperboard, paper, and related
industries, where starch serves both as an adhesive and a coating.
And new uses for cornstarch continue to surprise us. for example, when ARS
scientists married starch to a synthetic chemical, they managed to create a
product so thirsty, it could absorb hundreds of times its own weight in water.
Someone called it SuperSlurper, and the name stuck.
After patents were secured in 1976, SuperSlurper started popping up all over
the marketplace. The absorbent compound, which can slurp up to 2,000 times its
weight in water, is used as an electrical conductor in batteries. You can find
it in fuel filters, baby powders, and wound dressings. Compounds very much like
it are now used in disposable diapers and sanitary napkins.
Photo by Scott Bauer.
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