Can a substance absorb sweat from one place and release it elsewhere?

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Offline thedoc

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Scarlett asked the Naked Scientists:
I just have a quick question I'm not sure to even ask so I'm hoping you can help me a bit.

Is there a substance that can absorb sweat from one location and release it in another location? That may have a gel or a rubber-ish texture?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 22/05/2013 20:30:01 by _system »


Offline Lab Rat

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I have devised a device in response to your question that could perform your requested task:

A device consisting of a rubber hose filled with sodium polyacrylate should work-simply "seal" both ends of the hose with a material such that from a microparticle air filter or a respirator mask to prevent the sodium polyacrylate from spilling.  To use it, simply make one end come in contact with where you are trying to draw sweat from and place the other end where you are trying to deliver it. 

It would work because as one sweats, the sweat would diffuse from you, across the permeable seal, and into the absorbent sodium polyacrylate (s.p. from here on).  As the s.p. began to absorb the sweat, the sweat would, in turn, begin to diffuse across all the s.p. in the not-so-permeable rubber hose.  Once the sweat had begun to reach the other end, it would evaporate, or diffuse to an area of lower concentration.  Another method of transfer, provided the s.p. was fairly saturated with sweat at the end, would be that it simply dripped or ran out.


Offline Bored chemist

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I think that would be a bit slow.
Please disregard all previous signatures.


Offline alancalverd

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Pretty well any fibrous material will act as a wick, but unless you are prepared to add some power, the dispersal of moisture depends on the "sink" being drier than the source. A one-way wick would be an excellent passive perpetual motion machine!
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