Superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) are organic materials possessing high capacity to absorb and retain large volumes of water, saline and physiological solutions (at least 10–20 times their weight). The most commonly used SAPs are acrylated-based polymers that are not biodegradable or recyclable. To overcome these limits, carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) with hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC) hydrogels were synthetized in this work and dried using a supercritical assisted process at 200 bar and 45 °C. The solvent exchange procedure influenced the final aerogel morphology and, thus, the aerogel swelling ratio (SR). A solvent exchange starting from 50 % v/v ethanol, preserved the native gel nanofibrous morphology, producing a SR up to 20 times larger than the ones reported in the literature using the same process, corresponding to a water uptake larger than 500 times the weight of the dried aerogel.
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