Polymeric superabsorbent hydrogels are the kind of gels that are obtained by chemically synthesizing with hydrophilic polymers to form a 3D-network structure. These hydrogels have been extensively used in agriculture over the last two decades as an absorbent. The aim of this work is to use the polymeric hydrogel to increase the water holding properties of growing media such as soil and to develop a low cost system for monitoring. Two types of polymeric hydrogels were prepared and the swelling ratio was determined. A three times higher swelling ratio was observed at DMAA (90 wt%) than that of SMG (30 wt%) even though both samples have the same cross-linker (MBAA). In contrast to DMAA, SMG gel has a greater crystalline network structure as measured by mechanical and dynamic light scattering. Experimental results suggest that the DMAA based hydrogel is suitable for agriculture. A low cost, sensor based, monitoring system was developed that indicates the merit of the system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas