November 11, 2009

It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's DIAPER GEL!

THREE POSTS IN ONE DAY!!!!! Too much!!!! I had to share this though P R O N T O! My Uncle Jim commented on my last post... Heavy Huggies. He told me of some fascinating related information. I'm going to quote from his email referencing our diaper experience, "Yes, the absorbent gel that they contain is amazing. As an aside, they are currently experimenting with spraying a... form of this foam over homes in forest fire areas and then wetting them down with water. The gel holds the large quantity of water and protects the house from catching fire. Clean up is not too bad either." WHAT?!?!! Craig, my personal skeptic, prompted me to do some googling. So here... an article I found on this topic, "The federal government will begin field testing the gel by dropping it out of planes, probably onto forest fires in Utah, Nevada and California, said Merrill Saleen, a chemicals program manager at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The gel, made with a super-absorbent polymer, soaks up water and stores it in several layers of tiny bubbles. When heated by fire, the gel is boiled away one layer at a time, protecting the surface below from extreme heat for long periods.

After a fire, it washes away with water and is biodegradable.

The gel was originally developed after a firefighter in Florida, John Bartlett, noticed that disposable diapers didn't burn during fires. He discovered that the absorbent powder used in those diapers could be converted to a gel that, when mixed with water, could be sprayed on houses and foliage, Fredley said.

In his living room last week, Fredley mixed water with a quarter-size blob of the Barricade gel -- which looks like milky-colored, translucent shampoo -- spread it on his hand and blasted his palm and fingers with a propane torch. His skin was undamaged.

Saleen said the gel won't replace the retardants currently dropped from planes because it doesn't halt fires for as long as traditional retardants. It's about the same price as other fire retardants, he said.

But it's valuable to firefighters because it's mixed with water using a 1-to-99 ratio, meaning little gel is needed to fight a large fire. Other fire retardants are mixed in a 1-to-4 or 1-to-5 ratio, Saleen said. That makes Barricade more portable, allowing firefighters to transport it closer to a fire quickly, Saleen said" - taken from

Don't you feel a little bit smarter now after reading this? ha ha

Thanks, Uncle Jim!

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