An auxiliary nurse in the maternity ward in Skien Hospital was fed up of the little mats that did not fit the delivery beds, resulting in a spill of foetal fluids and blood. She explored the possibility of producing a specially modified super-absorbent bed sheet. Nurse Astrid Skreosen contacted SINTEF Materials and Chemistry, resulting in an agreement to cooperate. By Christmas 2007, the plans were so advanced that she could apply for funding and set up a company: ASAP Norway. SINTEF health researchers have been responsible for concept development and prototype development.
An absorbent polymer material functions like a nappy. But in this case, the challenge was to maintain the thickness of the sheet to only one millimeter without letting dampness pass through it. ASAP developed a triple layer, fractional millimeter thick sheet. SINTEF Scientists have developed 2 prototypes which have been tested for their performance. The product should be only 0.1 mm thick and is required to perform without dampness passing through it.
The products are made up of three layers: the bottom layer acts as a humidity barrier while the mid-layer is a super absorbent polymer, topped by a gauze-like layer in contact with the skin; this is intended to allow fluids to pass rapidly through it. Polycyclic acid a proven dampness absorbent (moisture absorbent) in powder form was used as a mid layer. This layer was topped by gauze like layers. These 2 top layers remain in contact with skin. This product is intended to allow fluids to pass rapidly through it. A soft, flexible and environmentally friendly bioplastic from BioBag was used to form the base layer.
Astrid Skreosen has applied for a patent, and is now looking for a company to produce her sheets that can be used in maternity wards and in field hospitals anywhere in the world as well as in operating theatres and ambulances. Hospitals will save time and money by using the new sheets as time-consuming jobs such as clearing up and laundering will be taken care of and related infections will be controlled.