Polyacrylamide Crystals

My current homeschooling year is almost over and I’ve been cleaning out my bookcases and drawers so I can plan next year. In my science drawer I found several envelopes of both polyacrylamide crystals and sodium polyacrylate. I remember getting these but couldn’t remember why.

Oh, yeah…experiments.

Well, sifting through the internet I found that not only do these make for fun science experiments but the polyacrylamide crystals are also great for gardening. These crystals can absorb up to 50 times their weight in water forming a gel that will slowly release the water to surrounding plants in your garden. The crystals eventually break down over time which can add more nutrients into your soil such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Meanwhile, since they expand and contract, these crystals provide aeration for your soil.

What you need to do it place a few crystals in your soil beneath your plant. They are not as efficient near the top of the soil because the sunlight can degrade them and the water will tend to evaporate. Beneath the plant, the roots can tap into the water source.

Polyacrylamide crystals can be found online and at gardening stores. They are supposed to be non toxic but I did see one warning specifying that un-polymerized acrylamide crystals may be toxic so be sure to purchase garden grade crystals. I think we’ll just use what we have for science.

As for the sodium polyacrylate, these crystals are best know for their use in disposable diapers, super glue and other polymer items. Do not put this in your garden.

One thought on “Polyacrylamide Crystals

  1. Eileen I read about a girl who used diapers in her plants for the same reason – moisture – but I wondered about the toxicity of it. Not good for organic gardeners. Hmmmm.

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