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Name: Henry E.
Status: educator
Age: 40s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999-2001


Question:
Please explain the difference between " hydroscopic " and " hygroscopic ". Would it be better to refer to (for example)the water absorbing nature of nylon as a hydroscopic or hydroscopic material?


Replies:
Henry,

The answer to your question is, neither.

My dictionary offers the following definitions:

hy.gro.scop.ic Pronunciation: "hI-gr&-'skä-pik  
Function: adjective Etymology: hygroscope, 
an instrument showing changes in humidity + [^1]-ic; 
from the use of such materials in the hygroscope Date: 1790
1 : readily taking up and retaining moisture
2 : taken up and retained under some conditions of 
     humidity and temperature
  - hy.gro.scop.ic.i.ty /-(")sk@-'pi-s&-tE/ noun

"hydroscopic": <=== Dictionary has no entry for hydroscopic

Nylon is not at all good at absorbing water. It is polymeric structure is hydrophobic (water hating) rather than like cotton which is hydrophilic (water loving). Thats why nylon clothing is so uncomfortable in hot and humid weather.

Under those conditions, I will take cotton every time.

Regards, ProfHoff


Correction Summer 2012


The answer provided by ProfHoff is incorrect. The answer was given in the context of the chemical nylon. The question was posed in the context of nylon fibers or nylon textile. In this case the textile or fibers are Hygroscopic as the textile or fibers will wick water and other liquids to some degree.

Rick



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