Warning: fopen(111data/log202008052219.log): failed to open stream: No space left on device in /home/pde321/public_html/header.php on line 107

Warning: flock() expects parameter 1 to be resource, boolean given in /home/pde321/public_html/header.php on line 108

Warning: fclose() expects parameter 1 to be resource, boolean given in /home/pde321/public_html/header.php on line 113
IN DER QUERRICHTUNG DEHNBARER, NICHTGEWEBTER SCHICHTSTOFF - Dokument EP0802857
 
PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP0802857 16.05.2002
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0802857
Titel IN DER QUERRICHTUNG DEHNBARER, NICHTGEWEBTER SCHICHTSTOFF
Anmelder Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc., Neenah, Wis., US
Erfinder SHAWVER, Elaine, Susan, Roswell, US;
COLLIER, Warren, Leslie, Roswell, US;
ESTEY, Windsor, Paul, Cumming, US
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 69620576
Vertragsstaaten BE, DE, ES, FR, GB, IT, NL, SE
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 11.01.1996
EP-Aktenzeichen 969021328
WO-Anmeldetag 11.01.1996
PCT-Aktenzeichen PCT/US96/00428
WO-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0009621562
WO-Veröffentlichungsdatum 18.07.1996
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 29.10.1997
EP date of grant 10.04.2002
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 16.05.2002
IPC-Hauptklasse B32B 5/04
IPC-Nebenklasse B32B 5/24   D04H 13/00   

Beschreibung[en]

This invention relates to the field of nonwoven fabrics for use in medical products, personal care products, garments and outdoor fabrics.

The manufacture of many products from nonwoven fabrics can be a very complicated affair involving many different cutting and joining steps. For example, the process of making a surgical gown from nonwoven fabrics involves cutting holes for the sleeves and the head in a large piece of material, cutting material for the sleeves, and then joining the sleeves, generally composed of two pieces, together with each other and the main body of the gown. Certain gowns have reinforced areas (e.g. the elbows) for which additional pieces must be cut, placed and joined. There may be button holes or other manner of attachment or closure required on the arms, back or front of the gown. This manufacturing process requires pieces of fabric to be rotated, turned upside down, folded, etc., many times.

One of the characteristics of certain types of nonwoven fabrics which is useful in a variety of applications is elasticity, i.e. the ability to be stretched and then return to approximately its original size. Such a characteristic is useful in, for example, medical gowns, diapers, training pants, and adult incontinence products.

Stretchable nonwoven fabrics have been produced but have generally been limited to stretch in the machine direction (MD), i.e. the direction of production of the fabric. This is useful, but it has been found that many manufacturing processes would greatly benefit from nonwoven fabrics which could stretch in the cross-machine direction (CD). While a seemingly trivial issue, the requirement of repeatedly turning the nonwoven fabric during the manufacturing process, of for example, a gown, can result in damaged fabric, increased maintenance costs and, of course, increased capital costs for the initial purchase of the manufacturing line equipment. Cross-machine stretchable nonwovens would simplify the manufacturing process by eliminating a large number of rotating steps where the MD stretchable material must be turned in order to give stretch in the desired direction.

Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide a nonwoven fabric laminate which is stretchable in at least the cross-machine direction.

The present invention provides a laminate having cross-directional stretch comprising at least one inner layer being an elastomeric polymer layer which is sandwiched between outer layers being crimped or crimpable spunbond polymer webs or fabrics,

   wherein said layers are bonded together by a method excluding hydroentanglement to form a laminate and wherein said layers are maintained in an unstretched condition throughout their production and bonding into said laminate.

The layers are maintained in an unstetched condition throughout their production and bonding into the laminate.

Preferred embodiments of the present invention are set forth in the claims.

As used herein the term "nonwoven fabric or web" means a web having a structure of individual fibers or threads which are interlaid, but not in an identifiable or regularly repeating manner as in a knitted fabric. Nonwoven fabrics or webs have been formed from many processes such as for example, meltblowing processes, spunbonding processes, and bonded carded web processes. The basis weight of nonwoven fabrics is usually expressed in ounces of material per square yard (osy) or grams per square meter (g/m2) and the fiber diameters useful are usually expressed in µm (microns). (Note that to convert from osy to g/m2, multiply osy by 33.91).

As used herein the term "microfibers" means small diameter fibers having an average diameter not greater than 50 µm (microns), for example, having an average diameter of from 0.5 to 50 µm (microns), or more particularly, microfibers may have an average diameter of from 2 to 40 µm (microns). The diameter of, for example, a polypropylene fiber given in µm (microns), may be converted to denier by squaring, and multiplying the result by 0.00629, thus, a 15 µm (micron) polypropylene fiber has a denier of about 1.42 (152 x 0.00629 = 1.415).

As used herein the term "spunbonded fibers" refers to small diameter fibers which are formed by extruding molten thermoplastic material as filaments from a plurality of fine, usually circular capillaries of a spinnerette with the diameter of the extruded filaments then being rapidly reduced as by, for example, in U.S. Patent no. 4,340,563 to Appel et al., and U.S. Patent no. 3,692,618 to Dorschner et al., U.S. Patent no. 3,802,817 to Matsuki et al., U.S. Patent nos. 3,338.992 and 3,341,394 to Kinney, U.S. Patent no. 3,502,763 to Hartman, U.S. Patent 3,502,538 to Levy, and U.S. Patent no. 3,542,615 to Dobo et al. Spunbond fibers are generally continuous and larger than 7 µm (microns), more particularly, often between 10 and 30 µm (microns).

As used herein the term "meltblown fibers" means fibers formed by extruding a molten thermoplastic material through a plurality of fine, usually circular, die capillaries as molten threads or filaments into a high velocity gas (e.g. air) stream which attenuates the filaments of molten thermoplastic material to reduce their diameter, which may be to microfiber diameter. Thereafter, the meltblown fibers are carried by the high velocity gas stream and are deposited on a collecting surface to form a web of randomly disbursed meltblown fibers. Such a process is disclosed, for example, in U.S. Patent no. 3,849,241 to Butin. Meltblown fibers are usually microfibers which are generally smaller than 10 µm (microns) in diameter.

As used herein the term "polymer" generally includes but is not limited to, homopolymers, copolymers, such as for example, block, graft, random and alternating copolymers, terpolymers, and blends and modifications thereof. Furthermore, unless otherwise specifically limited, the term "polymer" shall include all possible geometrical configuration of the material. These configurations include, but are not limited to isotactic, syndiotactic, atactic and random symmetries.

As used herein, the term "machine direction" or "MD" means the length of a fabric as it is produced. The term "cross machine direction", "cross-direction" or "CD" means across the width of fabric, i.e. a direction generally perpendicular to the MD.

As used herein the term "bicomponent fibers" refers to fibers which have been formed from at least two polymers extruded from separate extruders but spun together to form one fiber. The polymers are arranged in substantially constantly positioned distinct zones across the cross-section of the bicomponent fibers and extend continuously along the length of the bicomponent fibers. The configuration of such a bicomponent fiber may be, for example, a sheath/core arrangement wherein one polymer is surrounded by another or may be a side by side arrangement or an "islands-in-the-sea" arrangement Bicomponent fibers are taught in U.S. Patent 5,108,820 to Kaneko et al., U.S. Patent 5,336,552 to Strack et al., and European Patent 0586924. For two component fibers, the polymers may be present in ratios of 75/25, 50/50, 25/75 or any other desired ratios.

As used herein the term "biconstituent fibers" refers to fibers which have been formed from at least two polymers extruded from the same extruder as a blend. The term "blend" is defined below. Biconstituent fibers do not have the various polymer components arranged in relatively constantly positioned distinct zones across the cross-sectional area of the fiber and the various polymers are usually not continuous along the entire length of the fiber, instead usually forming fibrils which start and end at random. Biconstituent fibers are sometimes also referred to as multiconstituent fibers. Fibers of this general type are discussed in, for example, U.S. Patent 5,108,827 to Gessner. Bicomponent and biconstituent fibers are also discussed in the textbook Polymer Blends and Composites by John A. Manson and Leslie H. Sperling, copyright 1976 by Plenum Press, a division of Plenum Publishing Corporation of New York, IBSN 0-306-30831-2, at pages 273 through 277.

As used herein the term "blend" means a mixture of two or more polymers while the term "alloy" means a sub-class of blends wherein the components are immiscible but have been compatibilized. "Miscibility" and "immiscibility" are defined as blends having negative and positive values, respectively, for the free energy of mixing. Further, "compatibilization" is defined as the process of modifying the interfacial properties of an immiscible polymer blend in order to make an alloy.

As used herein, the terms "necking" or "neck stretching" interchangeably refer to a method of elongating a nonwoven fabric, generally in the machine direction, to reduce its width in a controlled manner to a desired amount The controlled stretching may take place under cool, room temperature or greater temperatures and is limited to an increase in overall dimension in the direction being stretched up to the elongation required to break the fabric, which in most cases is 1.2 to 1.4 times. When relaxed, the web retracts toward its original dimensions. Such a process is disclosed, for example, in U.S. Patent no. 4,443,513 to Meitner and Notheis and another in U.S. Patent no. 4,965,122 to Morman.

As used herein the term "neck softening" means neck stretching carried out without the addition of heat to the material as it is stretched.

As used herein, the term "neckable material" means any material which can be necked.

As used herein, the term "necked material" refers to any material which has been constricted in at least one dimension by processes such as, for example, drawing or gathering.

As used herein the term "recover" refers to a contraction of a stretched material upon termination of a biasing force following stretching of the material by application of the biasing force. For example, if a material having a relaxed, unbiased length of 2.54 cm (one (1) inch) was elongated 50 percent by stretching to a length of 3.81 cm (one and one half (1.5) inches) the material would have been elongated 50 percent and would have a stretched length that is 150 percent of its relaxed length. If this exemplary stretched material contracted, that is recovered to a length of 2.79 cm (one and one tenth (1.1) inches) after release of the biasing and stretching force, the material would have recovered 80 percent (1.02 cm) (0.4 inch) of its elongation.

As used herein the term "un-necking" means a process applied to a reversibly necked material to extend it to at least its original, pre-necked dimensions by the application of a stretching force in a longitudinal or cross-machine direction which causes it to recover to within at least 50 percent of its reversibly necked dimensions upon release of the stretching force.

As used herein, the term "stitchbonded" means, for example, the stitching of a material such as in accordance with U.S. Patent 4,891,957 to Strack et al. or U.S. Patent 4,631,933 to Carey, Jr.

As used herein, the term "medical product" means surgical gowns and drapes, face masks, head coverings, shoe coverings, wound dressings, bandages and sterilization wraps.

As used herein, the term "personal care product" means diapers, baby bibs, training pants, absorbent underpants, adult incontinence products, wipers and feminine hygiene products.

As used herein, the term "protective cover" means a cover for vehicles such as cars, trucks, boats, airplanes, motorcycles, bicycles or golf carts, covers for equipment often left outdoors like grills, yard and garden equipment (lawnmowers, roto-tillers) and lawn furniture, as well as floor coverings, table cloths and picnic area covers.

As used herein, the term "outdoor fabric" means a fabric which is primarily, though not exclusively, used outdoors. Outdoor fabric includes fabric used in protective covers, camper/trailer fabric, tarpaulins, awnings, canopies, tents, agricultural fabrics (e.g. row covers) and outdoor apparel such as head coverings, industrial work wear and coveralls, pants, shirts, jackets, gloves, socks and shoe coverings.

Melt Flow Rate: The melt flow rate (MFR) is a measure of the viscosity of polymers. The MFR is expressed as the weight of material which flows from a capillary of known dimensions under a specified load or shear rate for a measured period of time and is measured in grams/10 minutes at 230°C according to, for example, ASTM test 1238, condition E.

Grab Tensile test: The grab tensile test is a measure of breaking strength and elongation or strain of a fabric when subjected to unidirectional stress between two damps. Values for grab tensile strength and grab elongation are obtained using a specified width of fabric, damp width and a constant rate of extension. The sample is as wide as the clamps and longer than the distance between the clamps to give results representative of effective strength of fibers in the clamped width combined with additional strength contributed by adjacent fibers in the fabric. This closely simulates fabric stress conditions in actual use. Results are expressed as pounds to break and percent stretch to break. Total energy can also be expressed as well as energy to break. Higher numbers indicate stronger or more stretchable fabric.

Cyclic testing; In cyclic testing a material is taken to a fixed extension or fixed load to develop a graphical representation of the results, with load on the y axis and elongation on the x axis. This graph yields a curve with an area thereunder called the Total Energy Absorbed or "TEA". The ratio of the TEA curves for a sample for various cycles is a value independent of material, basis weight and sample width that can be compared to other samples.

The laminate fabric of this invention comprises a layered construction of at least one layer of an elastomeric thermoplastic polymer layer sandwiched between layers of crimped or crimpable fiber or filament spunbond nonwoven fabric. The spunbond fibers may be bicomponent.

The elastomeric thermoplastic polymer layer useful in the practice of this invention may be those made from styrenic block copolymers, polyurethanes, polyamides, copolyesters or ethylene vinyl acetates (EVA) and may be a meltblown web, a spunbond web, a film or a foam layer and may itself be composed of one or more thinner layers of elastomeric thermoplastic polymer. Generally, any suitable elastomeric fiber, film or foam forming resins or blends containing the same may be utilized to form the nonwoven webs of elastomeric fibers, elastomeric film or elastomeric foam.

Styrenic block copolymers include styrene/butadiene/styrene (SBS) block copolymers, styrene/isoprene/styrene (SIS) block copolymers, styrene/ethylene-propylene/styrene (SEPS) block copolymers, styrene/ethylene-butadiene/styrene (SEBS) block copolymers. For example, useful elastomeric fiber forming resins include block copolymers having the general formula A-B-A' or A-B, where A and A' are each a thermoplastic polymer endblock which contains a styrenic moiety such as a poly (vinyl arene) and where B is an elastomeric polymer midblock such as a conjugated diene or a lower alkene polymer. Block copolymers of the A-B-A' type can have different or the same thermoplastic block polymers for the A and A' blocks, and the present block copolymers are intended to embrace linear, branched and radial block copolymers. In this regard, the radial block copolymers may be designated (A-B)m-X, wherein X is a polyfunctional atom or molecule and in which each (A-B)m- radiates from X in a way that A is an endblock. In the radial block copolymer, X may be an organic or inorganic polyfunctional atom or molecule and m is an integer having the same value as the functional group originally present in X. It is usually at least 3, and is frequently 4 or 5, but not limited thereto. Thus, in the present invention, the expression "block copolymer", and particularly "A-B-A'" and "A-B" block copolymer, is intended to embrace all block copolymers having such rubbery blocks and thermoplastic blocks as discussed above, which can be extruded (e.g., by meltblowing), and without limitation as to the number of blocks.

U.S. Patent 4,663,220 to Wisneski et al. discloses a web including microfibers comprising at least 10 weight percent of an A-B-A' block copolymer where "A" and "A'" are each a thermoplastic endblock which comprises a styrenic moiety and where "B" is an elastomeric poly(ethylene-butylene) midblock, and from greater than 0 weight percent up to 90 weight percent of a polyolefin which when blended with the A-B-A' block copolymer and subjected to an effective combination of elevated temperature and elevated pressure conditions, is adapted to be extruded, in blended form with the A-B-A' block copolymer. Polyolefins useful in Wisneski et al. may be polyethylene, polypropylene, polybutene, ethylene copolymers, propylene copolymers, butene copolymers, and mixtures thereof.

Commercial examples of such elastomeric copolymers are, for example, those known as KRATON® materials which are available from Shell Chemical Company of Houston, Texas. KRATON® block copolymers are available in several different formulations, a number of which are identified in U.S. Patent 4,663,220.

A particularly suitable elastomeric layer may be formed from, for example, elastomeric poly(styrene/ethylene-butylene/styrene) block copolymer available from the Shell Chemical Company of Houston, Texas under the trade designation KRATON® G-1657.

Other exemplary elastomeric materials which may be used to form an elastomeric layer include polyurethane elastomeric materials such as, for example, those available under the trademark ESTANE® from B. F. Goodrich & Co., polyamide elastomeric materials such as, for example, those available under the trademark PEBAX® from the Rilsan Company, and polyester elastomeric materials such as, for example, those available under the trade designation HYTREL® from E. I. DuPont De Nemours & Company.

Formation of an elastomeric nonwoven web from polyester elastomeric materials is disclosed in, for example, U.S. Patent No. 4,741,949 to Morman et al..

Elastomeric layers may also be formed from elastomeric copolymers of ethylene and at least one vinyl monomer such as, for example, vinyl acetates, unsaturated aliphatic monocarboxylic acids, and esters of such monocarboxylic acids. The elastomeric copolymers and formation of elastomeric nonwoven webs from those elastomeric copolymers are disclosed in, for example, U.S. Patent No. 4,803,117. Particularly useful elastomeric meltblown thermoplastic webs are composed of fibers of a material such as disclosed in U.S. Patent 4,707,398 to Boggs, U.S. Patent 4,741,949 to Morman et al., and U.S. Patent 4,663,220 to Wisneski et al. In addition, the elastomeric meltblown thermoplastic polymer layer may itself be composed of one or more thinner layers of elastomeric meltblown thermoplastic polymer which have been sequentially deposited one atop the other or laminated together by methods known to those skilled in the art

The thermoplastic copolyester elastomers include copolyetheresters having the general formula:

where "G" is selected from the group consisting of poly(oxyethylene)-alpha,omega-diol, poly(oxypropylene)-alpha,omega-diol, poly(oxytetramethylene)-alpha,omega-diol and "a" and "b" are positive integers including 2, 4 and 6, "x", "y", and "z" are positive integers including 1-20. Such materials generally have an elongation at break of from 600 percent to 750 percent when measured in accordance with ASTM D-638 and a melt point of from 176 to 205°C (350°F to 400°F) when measured in accordance with ASTM D-2117. Commercial examples of such copolyester materials are, for example, those known as ARNITEL®, formerly available from Akzo Plastics of Amhem, Holland and now available from DSM of Sittard, Holland, or those known as HYTREL® which are available from E.I. duPont de Nemours of Wilmington, Delaware.

Examples of suitable foams include those produced by the General Foam Corporation of Paramus, New Jersey. Such foams are polyurethane foams under the trade designation "4000 Series". Such foams are described in U.S. Patent 4,761,324 to Rautenberg et al. at column 6, lines 53-68.

An elastomeric meltblown layer may be stitchbonded in accordance with U.S. Patent no. 4,891,957 to Strack et al. Stitchbonding imparts strength and durability to the stitchbonded product and stitchbonding in the present invention is believed to impart increased abrasion resistance to the laminate. While stitchbonding generally is used to join two or more materials together, in this embodiment of the present invention the elastomeric meltblown layer is stitchbonded alone and then used in the fabrication of the laminate.

The spunbond nonwoven fabric is produced by a method known in the art and described in a number of the references cited above. Briefly, the spunbond process generally uses a hopper which supplies polymer to a heated extruder. The extruder supplies melted polymer to a spinnerette where the polymer is fiberized as it passes through fine openings usually arranged in one or more rows in the spinnerette, forming a curtain of filaments. The filaments are usually quenched with air at a low pressure, drawn, usually pneumatically, and deposited on a moving foraminous mat, belt or "forming wire" to form the nonwoven fabric.

The fibers produced in the spunbond process are usually in the range of from 10 to 30 µm (microns) in diameter, depending on process conditions and the desired end use for the fabrics to be produced from such fibers. For example, increasing the polymer molecular weight or decreasing the processing temperature result in larger diameter fibers. Changes in the quench fluid temperature and pneumatic draw pressure can also affect fiber diameter.

Polymers useful in the spunbond process generally have a process melt temperature of from 175°C to 320°C (350 to 610°F) and a melt flow rate, as defined above, in the range of 10 to 150 g/10 minutes at 230°C more particularty between 10 and 50 g/10 minutes at 230°C. Examples of suitable polymers include polypropylenes, polyethylenes and polyamides.

Bicomponent fibers may also be used in the practice of this invention. Bicomponent fibers are commonly polypropylene and polyethylene arranged in a sheath/core, "islands in the sea" or side by side configuration. Suitable commercially available materials include polypropylene designated PP-3445 from the Exxon Chemical Company of Baytown, Texas, ASPUN® 6811A and 2553 linear low density polyethylene from the Dow Chemical Company of Midland, Michigan, 25355 and 12350 high density polyethylene from the Dow Chemical Company, DURAFLEX® DP 8510 polybutylene available from the Shell Chemical Company of Houston, Texas, and ENATHENE® 720-009 ethylene n-butyl acrytate from the Quantum Chemical Corporation of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Certain biconstituent fibers may also be used in the practice of this invention. Blends of a polypropylene copolymer and polybutylene copolymer in a 90/10 mixture have been found effective. Any other blend would be effective as well provided they may be spun and provide crimped or crimpable fibers.

The fibers of the spunbond layer used in the practice of this invention must be crimped or crimpable since the inventors have found that crimped fiber webs, when laminated to an elastomeric meltblown layer, have enough "give" to stretch to a larger dimension without breaking.

The crimping of a spunbond fiber may be accomplished through a number of methods. One method is to produce a spunbond web onto a forming wire and then pass the web between two drums or rollers with differing surfaces. The rollers bend the fibers of the web as it passes therebetween and produces the desired crimp. Another method of creating fiber crimp is to mechanically stretch each fiber.

When bicomponent spunbond fibers are used in the practice of this invention, crimping may be accomplished by heating the fibers. The two polymers making up the bicomponent fibers may be selected to have different coefficients of expansion and so upon heating create crimps in the fibers. This heating may be done after the formation of the web on the forming wire at a temperature of from 43°C (110°F) up to a temperature less than the melting point of the lower melting component of the fibers. This heating may alternatively be done as the fibers drop from the spinnerette to the forming wire as taught in European patent application 586,924 to Pike et al., which was published on March 16, 1994. In the Pike process, heated air in the range of from 43°C (110°F) up to a temperature less than the melting point of the lower melting component of the fibers is directed at the fibers as they fall, causing the two polymers to expand differentially to one another and the fiber to crimp.

The laminated fabric of this invention may be made by first depositing onto a forming wire a layer of crimped spunbond fibers. A layer of elastomeric meltblown fibers is deposited on top of the crimped spunbond fibers. Lastly, another layer of crimped spunbond fibers is deposited atop the meltblown layer and this layer is usually preformed. There may be more than one layer of elastomeric meltblown fibers. None of the layers are stretched in any direction during the production process of the laminate, including the bonding step.

Alternatively, all of the layers may be produced independently and brought together in a separate lamination step. If this method of manufacture is chosen, it remains important that the layers not be stretched during the making of the laminate.

The requirement of the fabric being unstretched during fabrication into a laminate means that the fabric is not subjected to any additional or excessive stretching force beyond that normally provided by the type of mechanism that is usually used to produce the laminate, i.e. rollers and winders which move the fabric along the path of the process from pre- to post- lamination. The fabric of this invention does not need to be neck-stretched, neck softened or un-necked to provide the desired stretch properties.

After the addition of the last layer of crimped or crimpable spunbond fibers, the layers are bonded to produce the laminate. The bonding may be done thermally such as by through-air bonding or by point bonding using patterned calender rolls.

Through-air bonding or "TAB" is discussed in European patent application 586,924 to Pike et al. and is a process of bonding a nonwoven bicomponent fiber web which is wound at least partially around a perforated roller which is enclosed in a hood. Air which is sufficiently hot to melt one of the polymers of which the fibers of the web are made is forced from the hood, through the web and into the perforated roller. The air velocity is between 30.48 and 152.40 meter per minute (100 and 500 feet per minute) and the dwell time may be as long as 6 seconds. The melting and resolidification of the polymer provides the bonding. Since TAB requires the melting of at least one component to accomplish bonding, it is restricted to bicomponent fiber webs.

Thermal point bonding using calender rolls with various patterns have been developed. One example is the expanded Hansen Pennings pattern with about a 15% bond area with about 15.5 bonds/cm2 (100 bonds/square inch) as taught in U.S. Patent 3,855,048 to Hansen and Pennings. Another common pattern is a diamond pattern with repeating and slightly offset diamonds.

The bonding of the laminate may alternatively be done ultrasonically, by print adhesive bonding by any other method known in the art to be effective except the method of hydroentanglement.

The fabric of this invention may be treated, either the individual layers prior to lamination or the entire fabric after lamination, with various chemicals in accordance with known techniques to give properties for specialized uses. Such treatments include water repellant chemicals, softening chemicals, fire retardant chemicals, oil repellant chemicals, antistatic agents and mixtures thereof. Pigments may also be added to the fabric as a post-bonding treatment or alternatively added to the polymer of the desired layer prior to fiberization.

It has been found that the fabric of this invention stretches in the cross-machine direction by at least 100 percent.

The fabric of this invention may be used in personal care products, medical products, and outdoor fabrics. It is also believed this fabric would be useful in automotive applications such as car headliners.

The properties of various laminates were compared. These laminates are described below where the Samples are laminates made in accordance with this invention and the Control is not.

Control

Spunbond polypropylene fibers in both outer facing layers with an elastomeric meltblown layer in between.

The elastomeric meltblown was made from Shell's KRATON® G-2740 and had a basis weight of approximately 61 g/m2 (1.8 osy).

The spunbond fiber was Exxon PD-3445 polypropylene extruded through 0.6mm holes at a rate of 0.7 grams/hole/minute (ghm) having a basis weight of 22 g/m2 of (0.7 osy) for each facing layer. The fabric was bonded at a temperature of 144°C (291°F) using thermal calender bonding with a 5% spiral pattern. None of the layers was stretched during production or bonding.

Sample 1

Spunbond fibers in both outer facing layers with an elastomeric meltblown layer in between.

The elastomeric meltblown was made from Shell's KRATON® G-2740 and had a basis weight of approximately 61 g/m2 (1.8 osy).

The spunbond fabric was produced from a spin pack having alternate rows of fibers to produce a mixture of different types of fibers in one layer of fabric or web resulting in a crimpable web. One row of fibers was Exxon PD-3445 polypropylene and the next row was a blend of 90 weight percent of a Shell polypropylene copolymer and 10 weight percent Shell Duraflex® polybutylene copolymer. The polypropylene copolymer had an ethylene content of 3.2 weight percent and the polybutylene copolymer had an ethylene content of 6 weight percent All polymers were extruded through 0.6mm holes at a rate of 0.5 grams/hole/minute (ghm) and having a basis weight of 34 g/m2 (1.0 osy) for each facing layer. The fabric was bonded at a temperature of 144°C (291°F) using thermal calender bonding with a 5% spiral pattern. None of the layers was stretched during production or bonding.

Sample 2

Biconstituent spunbond fibers in both outer facing layers with an elastomeric meltblown layer in between.

The elastomeric meltblown was made from Shell's KRATON® G-2740 and had a basis weight of approximately 61 g/m2 (1.8 osy).

The spunbond was a biconstituent blend of 90 weight percent polypropylene copolymer and 10 weight percent polybutylene copolymer as described in Sample 1 extruded through 0.6mm holes at a rate of 0.7 grams/hole/minute (ghm) and having a basis weight of 34 g/m2 (1.0 osy) for each facing layer to provide a crimpable web. The fabric was bonded at a temperature of 132°C (270°F) using thermal calender bonding with a 5% bonding area square pattern. None of the layers was stretched during production or bonding.

Sample 3

Biconstituent spunbond fibers in both outer facing layers with an elastomeric meltblown layer in between.

The elastomeric meltblown was made from Shell's KRATON® G-2740 and had a basis weight of approximately 61 g/m2 (1.8 osy).

The spunbond was a biconstituent blend of 90 weight percent polypropylene copolymer and 10 weight percent polybutylene copolymer as described in Sample 1 extruded through 0.6mm holes at a rate of 0.53 grams/hole/minute (ghm) and having a basis weight of 24 g/m2 (0.7 osy) for each facing layer to provide a crimpable fiber. The fabric was bonded at a temperature of 144°C (291°F) using thermal calender bonding with a 5% bonding area square pattern. None of the layers was stretched during production or bonding.

Sample 4

Crimped bicomponent spunbond fibers in both outer facing layers with an elastomeric meltblown layer in between.

The elastomeric meltblown was made from Shell's KRATON® G-2740 and had a basis weight of approximately 61 g/m2 (1.8 osy).

The crimped spunbond was a side-by-side fiber of Exxon PD-3445 polypropylene and Dow Aspun® 6811A polyethylene extruded through 0.6mm holes at a rate of 0.65 grams/hole/minute (ghm) and having a basis weight of 27 g/m2 (0.8 osy) for each facing layer. The fabric was bonded at a temperature of 126°C (258°F) using through-air bonding. None of the layers was stretched during production or bonding.

Sample 5

Crimped bicomponent spunbond fibers in both outer facing layers with an elastomeric meltblown layer in between.

The elastomeric meltblown was made from Shell's KRATON® G-2740 and had a basis weight of approximately 61 g/m2 (1.8 osy).

The crimped spunbond was a side-by-side fiber of Exxon PD-3445 polypropylene and Dow Aspun® 6811A polyethylene extruded through 0.6mm holes at a rate of 0.65 grams/hole/minute (ghm) having a basis weight of 13 g/m2 of (0.4 osy) for each facing layer. The fabric was bonded at a temperature of 126°C (258°F) using through-air bonding. None of the layers was stretched during production or bonding.

The above described laminates were subjected to tests for cross-machine direction stretch and recovery preformed on a Instron Sintech machine. A 7.62 cm (three inch) wide sample was used and the stretching speed was 300 mm/min for peak load and peak strain. Peak elongation or strain is expressed in percent. Peak load is expressed in grams. Cycle testing elongation is expressed in percent. First cycle load at cycle elongation (A) is expressed in grams. The properties of the Samples are shown below in Table 1. Peak Strain Peak Load Cycle Elong. A Control 79 3690 50 2690 Sample 1 130 3682 80 3720 Sample 2 190 1420 125 1210 Sample 3 125 2980 75 2230 Sample 4 101 2970 55 2290 Sample 5 25 1060 50 1420

The inventors believe that the data for crimped bicomponent fibers (Samples 4 and 5) would be improved with a different bond method though the cyclic testing data is favorable. The method used, through-air bonding, provides many bond spots and probably results in loss of stretchability, therefore, through-air bonding is not preferred. The other Samples and the Control did not use through-air bonding.

The data indicates that the fabric of this invention provides excellent cross-machine direction stretch at lower loads than for uncrimpable polypropylene spunbond. This is a very useful property which simplifies the manufacture of many products such as diapers and surgical gowns, from which this fabric is made.


Anspruch[de]
  1. Laminat mit einem Stretch (Dehnung) in Querrichtung, das mindestens eine innere Schicht aufweist, bei der es sich um eine elastomere Polymerschicht handelt, die sandwichartig zwischen äußeren Schichten angeordnet ist, bei denen es sich um gekräuselte oder kräuselbare Spunbond-Polymer-Bahnen- oder Gewebe handelt,

    worin die genannten Schichten unter Anwendung eines Verfahrens zu einem Laminat miteinander verbunden worden sind, das eine Hydroverfilzung ausschließt und in dem die genannten Schichten während ihrer Herstellung und ihrem Verbinden zu dem genannten Laminat in einem nicht-gestreckten Zustand gehalten wurden.
  2. Laminat nach Anspruch 1, worin jede Spunbond-Schicht unabhängig ausgewählt sein kann aus der Gruppe, die besteht aus kräuselbaren Bikomponenten-Fasern, kräuselbaren Bikonstituenten-Fasern und kräuselbaren Mischungen von Fasern unterschiedlicher Typen.
  3. Laminat nach Anspruch 1, worin die genannten Schichten in einem nicht-gestreckten Zustand unter Anwendung eines Verfahrens miteinander verbunden worden sind, das ausgewählt wurde aus der Gruppe, die besteht aus dem thermischen Binden, dem Ultraschallbinden, dem Print-Binden und dem Klebstoffbinden.
  4. Laminat nach Anspruch 1, worin die genannte elastomere Polymerschicht ausgewählt ist aus der Gruppe, die besteht aus elastomeren Meltblown-Bahnen, elastomeren Spunbond-Bahnen, elastomeren Filmen und elastomeren Schäumen.
  5. Laminat nach Anspruch 4, worin die genannte elastomere Polymerschicht aus einer oder mehr dünneren Schichten besteht.
  6. Laminat nach Anspruch 4, worin die genannte elastomere Schicht vor der Einarbeitung in das genannte Laminat einem Stitch-Bonding unterworfen worden ist.
  7. Laminat nach Anspruch 4, worin die genannte elastomere Schicht umfasst

    mindestens 10 Gew.-% eines A-B-A'-Block-Copolymers, worin A und A' jeweils für einen thermoplastischen Endblock, der einen Styrol-Rest umfasst, und B für einen elastomeren Poly(ethylen-butylen)-Mittelblock stehen, und

    mehr als 0 und bis zu 90 Gew.-% eines Polyolefins, das nach dem Mischen mit dem A-B-A'-Block-Copolymer und dem Einwirkenlassen einer wirksamen Kombination aus erhöhten Temperatur- und erhöhten Druck-Bedingungen in einer mit dem A-B-A'-Block-Copolymer gemischten Form extrudiert werden kann.
  8. Laminat nach Anspruch 4, worin das Polymer der genannten elastomeren Polymerschicht ausgewählt ist aus der Gruppe, die besteht aus Styrol-Block-Copolymeren, Polyurethanen, Polyamiden, Copolyestern, Copolyetherestern und Ethylen-vinylacetaten.
  9. Laminat nach Anspruch 5, worin das genannte Polymer eine Mischung aus einem A-B-A'-Block-Copolymer und Polypropylen ist.
  10. Laminat nach Anspruch 5, worin die genannte elastomere Polymerschicht elastische Fasern aus einem Block-Copolymer umfasst.
  11. Laminat nach Anspruch 8, worin der genannte Polyetherester die allgemeine Formel hat
    worin G ausgewählt ist aus der Gruppe, die besteht aus Poly(oxyethylen)-α,ω-diol, Poly(oxypropylen)-α,ω-diol, Poly(oxytetramethylen)-α,ω-diol, und a und b für positive ganze Zahlen stehen, ausgewählt aus der Gruppe, die besteht aus 2, 4 und 6, und x, y und z für positive ganze Zahlen stehen, ausgewählt aus der Gruppe, die besteht aus den Zahlen zwischen 1 und 20.
  12. Laminat nach Anspruch 1, worin mindestens eine Schicht mit einer Chemikalie behandelt worden ist, ausgewählt aus der Gruppe, die besteht aus wasserabstoßend machenden Chemikalien, einer weichmachenden Chemikalie, flammhemmend machenden Chemikalien, ölabstoßend machenden Chemikalien und Mischungen davon.
  13. Laminat nach Anspruch 1, worin die genannten kräuselbaren Spunbond-Faser-Bahnen bestehen aus Bikomponenten-Fasern in einer Hüllen/Kern-Anordnung mit Polypropylen als Kern und Polyethylen als Hülle.
  14. Laminat nach Anspruch 1, worin die genannten Schichten Basisgewichte zwischen 8,48 und 101,73 g/m2 (0,25 - 3 osy) aufweisen.
  15. Verwendung des Laminats nach Anspruch 1 zur Herstellung von Produkten, ausgewählt aus der Gruppe, die besteht aus medizinischen Produkten, Körperpflegeprodukten und Outdoor-Geweben.
  16. Verwendung nach Anspruch 15, worin das genannte Produkt ein Körperpflegeprodukt ist und das genannte Körperpflegeprodukt eine Windel ist.
  17. Verwendung nach Anspruch 15, worin das genannte Produkt ein Körperpflegeprodukt ist und das genannte Körperpflegeprodukt ein Frauenhygieneprodukt ist.
  18. Verwendung nach Anspruch 15, worin das genannte Produkt ein medizinisches Produkt ist und das genannte medizinische Produkt ein chirurgischer Umhang ist.
  19. Verwendung nach Anspruch 15, worin das genannte Produkt ein medizinisches Produkt ist und das genannte medizinische Produkt eine Gesichtsmaske ist.
  20. Verwendung nach Anspruch 15, worin das genannte Produkt ein medizinisches Produkt ist und das genannte medizinische Produkt ein Wischtuch ist.
Anspruch[en]
  1. A laminate having cross-directional stretch comprising at least one inner layer being an elastomeric polymer layer which is sandwiched between outer layers being crimped or crimpable spunbond polymer webs or fabrics,

       wherein said layers are bonded together by a method excluding hydroentanglement to form a laminate and wherein said layers are maintained in an unstretched condition throughout their production and bonding into said laminate.
  2. The laminate of claim 1 wherein each spunbond layer may independently be selected from the group consisting of crimpable bicomponent fibers, crimpable biconstituent fibers and crimpable mixtures of different types of fibers.
  3. The laminate of claim 1 wherein said layers are bonded to each other in an unstretched condition by the method selected from the group consisting of thermal bonding, ultrasonic bonding, print bonding and adhesive bonding.
  4. The laminate of claim 1 wherein said elastomeric polymer layer is selected from the group consisting of elastomeric meltblown webs, elastomeric spunbond webs, elastomeric films and elastomeric foams.
  5. The laminate of claim 4 wherein said elastomeric polymer layer is comprised of one or more thinner layers.
  6. The laminate of claim 4 wherein said elastomeric layer is stitchbonded prior to incorporation into said laminate.
  7. The laminate of claim 4 wherein said elastomeric layer comprises at least 10 weight percent of an A-B-A' block copolymer where "A" and "A'" are each a thermoplastic endblock which comprises a styrenic moiety and where "B" is an elastomeric poly(ethylene-butylene) midblock, and from greater than 0 weight percent up to 90 weight percent of a polyolefin which when blended with the A-B-A' block copolymer and subjected to an effective combination of elevated temperature and elevated pressure conditions, is adapted to be extruded, in blended form with the A-B-A' block copolymer.
  8. The laminate of claim 4 wherein said elastomeric polymer layer polymer is selected from the group consisting of styrenic block copolymers, polyurethanes, polyamides, copolyesters, copolyetheresters and ethylene vinyl acetates.
  9. The laminate of claim 5 wherein said polymer is a mixture of an A-B-A' block copolymer and polypropylene.
  10. The laminate of claim 5 wherein said elastomeric polymer layer comprises elastic fibers of a block copolymer.
  11. The laminate of claim 8 wherein said polyetherester has the general formula:
    where "G" is selected from the group consisting of poly(oxyethylene)-alpha,omega-diol,poly(oxypropylene)-alpha, omega-diol, poly(oxytetramethylene)-alpha, omega-diol and "a" and "b" are positive integers selected from the group consisting of 2, 4 and 6 and "x", "y" and "z" are positive integers selected from the group consisting of numbers between 1 and 20.
  12. The laminate of claim 1 wherein at least one layer has been treated with a chemical selected from the group consisting of water repellant chemicals, softening chemical, fire retardant chemicals, oil repellant chemicals and mixtures thereof.
  13. The laminate of claim 1 wherein said crimpable spunbond fibers webs are comprised of bicomponent fibers in a sheath/core arrangement with polypropylene as the core and polyethylene as the sheath.
  14. The laminate of claim 1 wherein said layers have basis weights between 8.48 and 101.73 g/m2 (0.25 and 3 osy).
  15. Use of the laminate according to claim 1 for manufacturing products selected from the group consisting of medical products, personal care products and outdoor fabrics.
  16. The use of claim 15 wherein said product is a personal care product and said personal care product is a diaper.
  17. The use of claim 15 wherein said product is a personal care product and said personal care product is a feminine hygiene product
  18. The use of claim 15 wherein said product is a medical product and said medical product is a surgical gown.
  19. The use of claim 15 wherein said product is a medical product and said medical product is a face mask.
  20. The use of claim 15 wherein said product is a medical product and said medical product is a wiper.
Anspruch[fr]
  1. Stratifié étirable en direction transversale comprenant au moins une couche interne étant une couche polymère élastomère qui est en sandwich entre des couches externes étant des voiles ou des tissus de polymère filés-liés crêpés ou pouvant être crêpés, dans lequel lesdites couches sont liées ensemble par un procédé excluant l'enchevêtrement hydraulique pour former un stratifié et dans lequel lesdites couches sont maintenues dans une condition non étirée pendant toute leur fabrication et leur liaison en ledit stratifié.
  2. Stratifié selon la revendication 1, dans lequel chaque couche filée-liée peut être choisie indépendamment dans le groupe constitué par les fibres à deux composants pouvant être crêpées, les fibres à deux constituants pouvant être crêpées et les mélanges pouvant être crêpés de types différents de fibres.
  3. Stratifié selon la revendication 1, dans lequel lesdites couches sont liées l'une à l'autre dans une condition non étirée par le procédé choisi dans le groupe constitué par la liaison thermique, la liaison ultrasonique, la liaison par compression ("print bonding") et la liaison par adhésion.
  4. Stratifié selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ladite couche polymère élastomère est choisie dans le groupe constitué par les voiles soufflées à l'état fondu élastomères, les voiles filées-liées élastomères, les films élastomères et les mousses élastomères.
  5. Stratifié selon la revendication 4, dans lequel ladite couche polymère élastomère est constituée d'une ou de plusieurs couches plus fines.
  6. Stratifié selon la revendication 4, dans lequel ladite couche élastomère est liée par piqûre avant l'incorporation dans ledit stratifié.
  7. Stratifié selon la revendication 4, dans lequel ladite couche élastomère comprend au moins 10 pour-cent en poids d'un copolymère séquencé A-B-A' où "A" et "A'" sont chacun une séquence terminale thermoplastique qui comprend un groupement styrénique et où "B" est une séquence intermédiaire poly(éthylène-butylène) élastomère, et de plus de 0 pour-cent en poids jusqu'à 90 pour-cent en poids d'une polyoléfine qui quand elle est mélangée avec le copolymère séquencé A-B-A' et soumise à une combinaison efficace de conditions de température élevée et de pression élevée, est adaptée pour être extrudée, sous forme mélangée avec le copolymère séquencé A-B-A'.
  8. Stratifié selon la revendication 4, dans lequel ledit polymère de la couche polymère élastomère est choisi dans le groupe constitué par les copolymères séquencés styréniques, les polyuréthanes, les polyamides, les copolyesters, les copolyétheresters et les éthylène-acétate de vinyle.
  9. Stratifié selon la revendication 5, dans lequel ledit polymère est un mélange d'un copolymère séquencé A-B-A' et de polypropylène.
  10. Stratifié selon la revendication 5, dans lequel ladite couche de polymère élastomère comprend des fibres élastiques d'un copolymère séquencé.
  11. Stratifié selon la revendication 8 dans lequel ledit polyétherester a la formule générale :
       où "G" est choisi dans le groupe constitué par le poly(oxyéthyléne) alpha.oméga-diol, le poly(oxypropyléne) alpha.oméga-diol, le poly(oxytétraméthyléne) alpha.oméga-diol et "a" et "b" sont des nombres entiers positifs choisis dans le groupe constitué par 2, 4 et 6 et "x", "y" et "z" sont des nombres entiers positifs choisis dans le groupe constitué par les nombres entre 1 et 20.
  12. Stratifié selon la revendication 1, dans lequel au moins une couche a été traitée par un produit chimique choisi dans le groupe constitué par les produits chimiques hydrofuges, les produits chimiques adoucissants, les produits chimiques retardateurs de flamme, les produits chimiques oléfuges et leurs mélanges.
  13. Stratifié selon la revendication 1, dans lequel lesdites voiles de fibres filées-liées pouvant être crêpées sont constituées de fibres à deux composants dans une disposition enveloppe/noyau avec le polypropylène comme noyau et le polyéthylène comme enveloppe.
  14. Stratifié selon la revendication 1, dans lequel lesdites couches ont des grammages entre 8,48 et 101,73 g/m2 (0,25 et 3 osy).
  15. Utilisation d'un stratifié selon la revendication 1 pour la fabrication de produits choisis dans le groupe constitué par les produits médicaux, les produits de soins corporels et les tissus pour l'extérieurs.
  16. Utilisation selon la revendication 15, dans laquelle ledit produit est un produit de soin corporel et ledit produit de soin corporel est une couche.
  17. Utilisation selon la revendication 15, dans laquelle ledit produit est un produit de soin corporel et ledit produit de soin corporel est un produit d'hygiène féminine.
  18. Utilisation selon la revendication 15, dans laquelle ledit produit est un produit médical et ledit produit médical est une blouse chirurgicale.
  19. Utilisation selon la revendication 15, dans laquelle ledit produit est un produit médical et ledit produit médical est un masque facial.
  20. Utilisation selon la revendication 15, dans laquelle ledit produit est un produit médical et ledit produit médical est un torchon.






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

Anmelder
Datum

Patentrecherche

Patent Zeichnungen (PDF)

Copyright © 2008 Patent-De Alle Rechte vorbehalten. eMail: info@patent-de.com