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Wetting of the interior subsequently takes place via a very slow diffusion process. In practical terms this means that the absorption is much slower than discharge of fluid to be absorbed, and failure of a diaper or sanitary napkin or other absorbent structure may take place well before the hydrogel material in the absorbent structure is fully wet.
Rif E. Carus, "First International Absorbent Products Conference Proceedings", November, t98Q, Section V-I; and J. H. Field, "Pulp Parameters Affecting Product Performance", TAPPI, 65(7) 1982, pp. 93-97.