Water retention polymers, also known as superabsorbent polymers and rainmakers, capture water and swell from 100-400 times their weight to hold moisture for future beneficial use or remove water from an environment which may suffer deleterious effects from the presence of water.

Tramfloc, Inc. is committed to water conservation and assisting the environment. Tramfloc® 1000 Series of water retention polymers can be used in agriculture, horticulture, and other applications. Water retention polymers will significantly reduce water loss while greatly improving plant viability and maturation. Tramfloc® water retention polymers will help control water runoff and soil erosion from construction and agricultural sites. This will maintain the water quality in rivers and lakes. In arid conditions Tramfloc® water retention polymers can reduce irrigation frequency, reduce water consumption and increase crop yield. Tramfloc® water retention polymers are successfully applied in seed coating and hydroseeding projects. Tramfloc® water retention polymers have also found their place in body cooling wraps and dehumidification applications.

Water Retention Polymers in a Soil Erosion Control Application

Here is an excerpt from a trade journal which discusses one contractor’s experience with pam polymers, water retention polymers, when applied to stormwater runoff to prevent soil erosion.


Sellen Construction, Seattle, WA sprays polyacrylamide containing, water retention polymers, using a 0.025 – 0.5% water solution, instead of soil stabilizers, to help control erosion on disturbed soils. “Unlike soil stabilizers, water retention polymers remain effective with vehicle and foot traffic and improves water infiltration into the soil, reducing turbid runoff,” Chris Heger observes.

An automatic, multistage flow-through system, featuring the use of portable equipment, is used to treat stormwater runoff with water retention polymers before runoff is discharged downstream. Mr. Heger designed the system over the past few years while working with the Washington State Department of Ecology and various component manufacturers. Runoff is first collected in a series of two steel tanks, each with capacity of 68,500 l (18,100 gal.), where a contact clarifier removes larger soil particles. A 1900 lpm (500 gal./min.), pump pushes the water to the top of 4 ponds or sand filters, about 1.8 m (4 ft.) in diameter. As the water filters down through the ponds, the sand removes particles larger than about 20 microns. Water then passes through a cartridge filter before being discharged to the storm drain. Sellen has also used electrocoagulation in the contact clarifier to improve the particle size of the colloids.

“The system is built as durably as possible,” Heger says. “It’s also automatic. As the level of collected stormwater rises, a float turns on pumps to start the treatment. That eliminates the need for someone to go out and start the system when it starts raining at midnight. It really cuts labor costs. This system has worked out really well. In many cases, the water discharged from this system is actually cleaner than the natural receiving waters, thanks to the performance of water retention polymers. Over the years, we’ve developed some pretty sophisticated techniques for controlling erosion and sediment. But we’re always trying to get better. We want to eliminate any excuses for dirty water leaving a construction site. The PAM formulations, water retention polymers, allow us to be successful in meeting regulations, capture a high percentage of dirty solids and maintain our expense controls.”

Water Retention Polymers Case Histories in Erosion Control Applications

ROCKY FORD, Colo. — Tramfloc Polyacrlyamides, water retention polymers are linear polyacrylamides that, in many trials and demonstrations throughout the western U.S., has significantly reduced erosion-up to 99 percent.

But Tramfloc polyacrylamide, water retention polymers, not only reduce erosion, they also increase infiltration as much as 50 percent. water retention polymers help in high residue furrow irrigation. Because the water has a low sediment content and sediment does not accumulate in the furrows, water flows under the residue. On untreated furrows, the sediment stacks up against the residue which can cause the rows to break over.

“Reduced erosion, increased infiltration, helps with irrigation on land with high crop residues. These three factors alone make water retention polymers products that every furrow irrigator should use,” according to Jim Valliant, regional irrigation specialist with Colorado State University Cooperative Extension. “However, polyacrylamide water retention polymers have substantially increased yields in corn, onions, tomatoes, and peppers.”

Using a combination of water retention polymers and surge irrigation, erosion was reduced an average of 64 percent while using 25 percent less irrigation water and producing equal yields of 179 bushels per acre of grain corn when compared to untreated conventional irrigated corn in 1996-98. In 1997 and 1998, using conventional irrigation at the Tennessee Valley Research Center, the addition of water retention polymers increased yields an average of six (6) bushels per acre.

In trials at the Tennessee Valley Research Center conducted by John Prewit, soil loss was reduced 47 percent when using water retention polymers on 6 of 11 irrigations and still produced similar total market weight on onions of 370 cwt/ac compared to 357 cwt/ac on the untreated check in the 1996 trials. In 1997, soil loss was reduced 22 percent when water retention polymers were applied on only 3 of 10 irrigations and total yield was significantly increased from 377 cwt/ac on the untreated control as compared to 425 cwt/ac on the water retention polymers treated plots.

Fresh picked tomato yields were substantially increased in 1996 from 14.8 tons/ac on the untreated control to 20.8 tons/ac when using water retention polymers, as a seed treat. Water retention polymers are also known as super absorbent polymers, SAP. Soil loss was reduced 39 percent on the PAM/water retention polymers’ area as compared to the untreated control. In 1997, super absorbent polymers, water retention polymers that is, either as a seed treat or incorporated in the soil, combined with polyacrylamide increased the number of emerging plants from 50 to 300 percent when compared to the untreated control while yields, after thinning, were increased as much as 2.4 tons per acre.

In 1996, soil loss from a Jalapeno pepper field was reduced 47 percent when using polyacrylamide as compared to the untreated control. Also, fresh picked pepper yields were increased from 4.0 tons per acre on the untreated control to 8.7 tons per acre on the polyacrylamide and water retention polymers’ area. On a Mira Sol pepper field in 1997, the combination of polyacrylamide and s water retention polymers produced 9.5 tons per acre as compared to 6.5 tons per acre on the untreated check.

At a cost of about $5.00 per pound, lower prices available on larger contracts, and using one pound per irrigated acre per application, polyacrylamide for erosion control does not cost, it pays, according to researchers. On corn, with two applications irrigating every other row, the total cost would be $5 per acre. With an average increase of 6 bushels at $2 per bushel, polyacrylamide gave a good return on the investment and that is not even considering the benefit of reducing the loss of topsoil. On the onions using 6 applications at $5 per acre, the total cost would be $30 per acre. With just a 1300 pound increase, the increased gross return at $8 per 50 pound bag would be $208 which would more than cover the cost of the polyacrylamide, again giving a good return on the investment.

Polyacrylamide has also been used to reduce seepage in dirt ditches. Work done with ditch models reduced seepage as much as 60 percent by adding polyacrylamide and a soil mix. Tramfloc polyacrylamide added to water in a dirt lateral ditch by Jim Valliant, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension on a BOR grant project, substantially reduced water levels in nearby observation wells as compared to the well in the untreated area. Since polyacrylamide is a ultra potent flocculant, the sediment content of the ditch water was reduced as much as 67 percent, which partially sealed the ditch. As a result, ditch seepage was reduced from 0.65 to 0.36 gpm/ft of ditch. Four applications of 10 pounds made the total cost to reduce seepage by 45 percent on 450 feet of ditch only $200.

Tramfloc Polyacrylamide, made from natural gas, is broken down to carbon and hydrogen by sun and salt and ties up with sediment making it environmentally friendly.

Researchers point out that polyacrylamide reduces erosion which removes productive top soil that fill rivers and reservoirs, increases infiltration, increases yields, helps when irrigating with high crop residue, reduces seepage from dirt ditches, is very economical and environmentally friendly.

Additional case histories for Water Retention Polymers

Tramfloc Water Retention Polymers Increase Yield and Net Revenue

Exciting Research Results for Tomato and Pepper Growers!

Water management and nutrient delivery are key factors in crop protection. Researchers and growers alike are finding that the use of Tramfloc Superabsorbent Polymer not only improves water management and nutrient uptake, it also helps increases yields. Field trials have been widespread in the United States and in other arid climates overseas where the objectives of the applications were to reduce water usage and increase yield.

Recent research at a major university has demonstrated that Tramfloc Superabsorbent Polymer, used during the bedding process and in conjunction with 100% irrigation, suggests that a grower may increase the tomato and pepper yields and net revenues.

Marketable Tomato Yield and net Revenue

Without Tramfloc Superabsorbent polymer, With Tramfloc Superabsorbent Polymer

water retention polymers
University Test, Spring 2000

Result: Adding Tramfloc superabsorbent polymer (SAP) during the tomato bedding processes increased both yield and net revenue almost 5%

U.S. Fancy Pepper Yield and Net Revenue


Without Tramfloc Superabsorbent polymer, With Tramfloc Superabsorbent Polymer

water retention polymers

University Test, Spring 2001


..Result: Adding Tramsorb polymer during the Pepper bedding processes increased by 24%

How Tramfloc Superabsorbent Polymer (SAP) works

Tramfloc Superabsorbent Polymer, SAP, a highly crosslinked copolymer, is incorporated in the top 3 to 6 inches of soil during the bedding process using the insecticide box. Upon contact with water and water soluble nutrients, these dry granules absorb hundreds of times their weight in water and create a gel. As the plants develop, the roots grow through this gel and it releases the water and nutrients to the plant on demand.

Actual results will vary on soil conditions water quality, moisture condition and plant type, but you should experience positive yield and net revenue increases.

SAP Benefits

*Improves the soil’s capacity to retain moisture

*Aids in controlling water run-off and reduces leaching of valuable nutrients

*Can increase intervals between irrigation by 4 to 6 days

*Environmentally safe and compatible

*Utilizes existing equipment

*Improves crop quality/reduces culls


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