Opinions on testing diaper absorbency - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 09-05-2003, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm interested in doing an absorbency test for a fitted diapers review that I'm working on, and I'm wondering what you all think about the best way to test/guesstimate a diaper's absorbency. Bareware did a formal analysis using this method (see http://www.bareware.net/analyzer.htm):

"For absorbency, diapers were submerged in 1000 ml of water after being weighed dry. They were allowed to soak for one minute and were then hung to drip dry for 15 minutes. After this time, they were weighed again. The dry weight was subtracted from the wet weight to find the absorbency - 1 gram water = 1 ml."

FWIW, 1000ml of water is 4 cups. The most absorbent diaper according to their tests was a babykicks regular hemp prefold (556 grams)-- in contrast, a premium CPF was 360 grams; a ME OS was 400 grams. There aren't too many other diapers that I recognize on these charts.

I'm thinking that it would be a better test of the diapers if you poured water into them (simulating baby peeing)-- maybe one cup total over a 5 minute period.

Do you have other thoughts on how to do this? I recall vaguely that we discussed this once, but of course searching is out (and, yes, I do know that I can be added to a search group but I don't want to be).

Karla
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#2 of 14 Old 09-05-2003, 06:45 PM
 
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The reason they do the submersion is they are doing a saturation level. When is the entire diaper saturated.

IMO, the flaw with this test is when you use fitted diapers, you don't want the diaper completely saturated including the wings. You really need to know how much the "soaker" area absorbs. I don't know how you would section this off.

As for pouring the water, what would you be testing for then? I mean it would be subjective I would think rather than quantitative.
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#3 of 14 Old 09-05-2003, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by mom2kay

IMO, the flaw with this test is when you use fitted diapers, you don't want the diaper completely saturated including the wings. You really need to know how much the "soaker" area absorbs. I don't know how you would section this off.

As for pouring the water, what would you be testing for then? I mean it would be subjective I would think rather than quantitative.
Why couldn't you do the weight test then (substract dry weight from wet weight)? Pour water into diaper (in a pan), let sit for 15 minutes, then weigh.

Karla
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#4 of 14 Old 09-05-2003, 06:58 PM
 
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Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I don't like my snappied prefolds to be saturated all the way up to the waist, either. It's different if you are using a trifold prefold in a wrap or pocket diaper, though.
No, I don't have a better idea of how to test for absorbancy.
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#5 of 14 Old 09-05-2003, 07:47 PM
 
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I would probably use the same method... weigh diaper, pour water on the soaker.. enough to make it SOAKED .. maybe 2 cups over 5 minutes ... then hang to let drip for 10 minutes or so.. weigh again. May not be entirely accurate, but as long as its all done in the same method should give an accurate comparison.
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#6 of 14 Old 09-05-2003, 08:05 PM
 
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how about this... don't laugh...

fill a balloon with 2 cups of water. put diaper onto the balloon. stick a pin through the dipe into the balloon. then you could either time how long it takes for moisture to get to the outside, how long it takes to empty the balloon, how much water it took to get to the outside (you'd have to set it on a scale and measure weight for that one), and/or how long it took to absorb a certain amount.

i'd think that would "simulate" a baby peeing better than pouring water on a dry dipe, kwim?

i know. i'm a sleep deprived loon

Lo
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#7 of 14 Old 09-05-2003, 09:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by lolov
how about this... don't laugh...

fill a balloon with 2 cups of water. put diaper onto the balloon. stick a pin through the dipe into the balloon. then you could either time how long it takes for moisture to get to the outside, how long it takes to empty the balloon, how much water it took to get to the outside (you'd have to set it on a scale and measure weight for that one), and/or how long it took to absorb a certain amount.

i'd think that would "simulate" a baby peeing better than pouring water on a dry dipe, kwim?

i know. i'm a sleep deprived loon

Lo
I hear ya on this one!!!!!This is a much better idea than measuring total diaper absorbancy! For example, if you measure total diaper absorbancy, ME OS come out looking like clear winner over regular and infant CPFs but if you consider wet zone absorbancy, cpfs are lots more effective (at least this was my experience).
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#8 of 14 Old 09-06-2003, 12:37 PM
 
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While I understand the 'total saturation' was just done as a 'control' across the line, I have always disagreed with that being a good representation of a diaper's worth in absorbency.

For one, as was pointed out - I don't want my diapers saturated from top to bottom all the way through - so, those #s are irrelevant to my desires.

I remember we talked about this once and I said that an 8-ply Infant Prefold was just as absorbent in the 'pee zone' as an 8-ply Premium Diaper. Well, given thought - that is not EXACTLY right, but on the other hand, it isn't too far off. I want to know how absorbent a diaper is IN THE STRIDE, not on the wings, up the front and the back.

I'm thinking the balloon idea isn't too far off the mark, actually

This is what I would do.

I would test Prefolds in two different manners:
1.) I would test as a tri-fold soaker
2.) I would test it when used as a 'pinned on' or 'snappi-ed' on diaper.

But then, you are doing fitteds.

So, most probably I'd go with much of what you are saying, but maybe have two different measurement standards.

1.) Absorption capability in weight:
Sit fitted upright and gently press against stride while pouring 2 - 4 cups of water directly into the stride area. (Weighing before and after.)

2.) Sit fitted upright and pour 1-2 cup(s) of water, let it sit for 30 minutes, do it again, and estimate time it took to 'soak through' the diaper and how the moisture 'traveled' in the diaper. Does the moisture spread out - go straight through in one spot, etc. . .
Does that make sense? This wouldn't be a measurement for absorption amount/capability, but rather moisture dispursement. I have diapers that Kenny pees on and it goes straight through - right at the 'pee' area. Then, other diapers where it seems to absorb throughout the diaper better . . . so, he doesn't wet 'through' and it seems to draw the pee into the middle layers better (overall more comfortable and a better diaper).
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#9 of 14 Old 09-06-2003, 01:53 PM
 
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I know it would be rather destructive, but another possibility would be to cut the soaker area out and do a saturation test on that. However, you would have to take a pretty wide area in front and back because that's one of the ways IMO that fitteds are more absorbent than inserts.

The balloon thing : me :LOL
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#10 of 14 Old 09-06-2003, 02:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by lolov
how about this... don't laugh...

fill a balloon with 2 cups of water. put diaper onto the balloon. stick a pin through the dipe into the balloon. then you could either time how long it takes for moisture to get to the outside, how long it takes to empty the balloon, how much water it took to get to the outside (you'd have to set it on a scale and measure weight for that one), and/or how long it took to absorb a certain amount.

i'd think that would "simulate" a baby peeing better than pouring water on a dry dipe, kwim?
Isn't there a Huggies commercial where they do this? No, I think it's Luvs. You know, "holds like the Hoover Dam?" :LOL
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#11 of 14 Old 09-06-2003, 02:08 PM
 
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I don't understand why the dipes would be left to drip dry for a certain amount of time. What is the purpose of that step?
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#12 of 14 Old 09-07-2003, 05:21 AM
 
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The diaper is *more* than soaking wet when you submerge it in 4 c of water. No diaper will actually HOLD that much. The drip "dry" is simply to get it to the point where it's no longer dripping, so that it's wet all over, but not "leaking" any liquid.

Ulrike, mom to:
Roman (3/98), Evalina (3/00), Nadia (3/03), and Kira (11/07)
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#13 of 14 Old 09-07-2003, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for your thoughts everyone. Lo, I think that the balloon idea is a very good one, as it not only simulates the peeing action but the weight behind it. Absorbency may be affected by the weight of baby's body against the diaper as s/he pees.

Heather, I like the idea of testing "pee through" vs "pee dispersement". I'm wondering if I can hang the fitted (snapped), put the balloon inside, prick it, and measure the water that drops out beneath the diaper (and when it starts dripping out).

I think I'm going to play around with different tests. As Tiffany said, saturation is not a bad estimate of absorbency, as it's the comparison between diapers that matters more than the exact method of testing. I would like to better approximately absorbency as it actually works in diapers, though.

Karla
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#14 of 14 Old 09-07-2003, 01:31 PM
 
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Just be sure to take pictures of your dipes on the balloon LOL and share your results with us!!!

Good luck!

Lo
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