What is hydrogel from a chemical point of view?

Hydrogel is a network of polymer chains that are hydrophilic, sometimes found as a colloidal gel in which water is the dispersion medium and a swelling agent. Hydrogels are highly absorbent (they can contain over 90% water) natural or synthetic polymeric networks. Hydrogels also possess a degree of flexibility very similar to natural tissue, due to their significant water content.

Hydrogel for plants absorbs vital plant nutrition and water which it releases back to the potting soil as and when the plant demands it.  This function is particularly important during dry seasons as the hydrogel will hold soil moisture in arid areas and feed the necessary nutrient and water into the root system of the plant.

Its expected life cycle is 7 – 9 years after which it starts to biodegrade.

Hydrogels are cross-linked polyacrylamide polymers made up of water-insoluble acrylamide and potassium acrylate. Polymers are long parallel chains of molecules and when cross-linked they create a network of polymeric chains. Water is brought to the centre of this network where it is reserved. Hydrogels can absorb up to 500 times their weight in water, and when their surroundings begins to dry out, the hydrogels gradually dispense their stored water.

When they are exposed to water again, they will rehydrate and repeat the process of storing water. The plant will control its own demand of water intake and the nutrients stored within.

There are various types of hydrogel (made in China) available on the current market that resemble our product.  Please note that these have a different chemical structure, content and qualities.

We only supply Hydrogel developed in Germany which is regulated and tested to meet the precise and strict agricultural norms of EU. Its pH is neutral and therefore harmless to fauna and flora. The biodegradable hydrogel will start to decompose after 7 – 9 years.

 5g of crystal and powder hydrogel

The hydrogel is also commonly used for medical purposes in tissue engineering as well as sustained-release of drug delivery system or rectal diagnoses. Otto Wichterle also introduced soft hydrogel lenses in 1959 that are still used today. Hydrogel also serves as sorbent in the disposable diapers and sanitary napkins, where it has been differently engineered in order to absorb and retain liquids. This type of hydrogel is not suited for use on plants due to its chemical structure and could contaminate the soil.

There are no limitations to the uses of hydrogel which is also used for nanotechnological and scientific experiences.  A team of Czech scientists developed a glue used for bone repair which is injected directly into the broken bone where it solidifies and permanently affixes the bone. The bone is repaired within minutes rather than weeks.

A comprehensive information about hydrogel can also be found on youtube  which contains vast amount of videos and information about its uses.

Safety information:
Hydrogel for plants will not cause harm to the skin although it is not designed for oral or internal use.

Please keep the product in a dry spot away from children and the source of food.

FREQUESNTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How often should the hydrogel be applied to the farmed soil that is cultivated annually?

The professionally ploughed soils of farms and fields require consecutive application of hydrogel for the first 3 – 5 seasons to ensure that it is fully contained within the soil. This way it will serve as an effective water retention and conservation system.

Will hydrogel derive water from the root system of the plants during the dry and arid seasons?

Hydrogel is made of polymers that is structurally unable to retrieve the water back from the plant that had consumed it.

 Could hydrogel contribute towards rotting of the plant root system due to excessive water content?

The root system of the plant only rots away due to the excess water within its network. Hydrogel absorbs this excess water and retains it until the plant demands it, having an opposite effect.
It increases soil water holding capacity and reduces irrigation frequency.

How is hydrogel applied?

There are various way of applying the hydrogel crystals to the soil depending on the type of use.

Dry Application

For large quantities of potting soil or backfill around trees and shrubs use 2-5kg of hydrogel/m3 or 1l of soil. Once applied the soil needs to be thoroughly watered.

50-150g of hydrogel for square meter of potting soil or backfill can also be used on new or seeded turf using sower machines.

For small quantities of potting soil use 5g of hydrogel for 1l of soil

Wet application

The roots of small plants and seedlings can be dipped directly into the prepared hydrogel mixture prior to planting into pots. Use 5g of hydrogel for 1 litre of potting soil.

Note:
Since dry granules swell to many times their original size when water is added, 15-20% swelling room must be left in each planting hole or flower pot to compensate.

Basis: Polyacrylic acid – potassium salt, cross‐linked

Appearance: loose white granule

Distribution by grain size [mm]

Hydrogel 1:   0.2 ‐ 0.8

Hydrogel 2:   0.8 ‐ 2.0

Solubility:

Insoluble in water and organic solutions upon contact with aqueous fluids sweels in the gel.

pH:   7 ­‐ 8 (1g/l H2O)

Physical properties of hydrogels:

Toxicology / Ecology Following OECD

Environmental tests are not toxic to plants, soil, organisms or groundwater.

Acrylic acid: < 600 ppm

Acrylamide: 0

ecological supersorbent