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Publication numberUS20050192203 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/059,078
Publication dateSep 1, 2005
Filing dateFeb 16, 2005
Priority dateFeb 27, 2004
Publication number059078, 11059078, US 2005/0192203 A1, US 2005/192203 A1, US 20050192203 A1, US 20050192203A1, US 2005192203 A1, US 2005192203A1, US-A1-20050192203, US-A1-2005192203, US2005/0192203A1, US2005/192203A1, US20050192203 A1, US20050192203A1, US2005192203 A1, US2005192203A1
InventorsToan Trinh
Original AssigneeToan Trinh
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Concave composition carrier for multiple use fabric conditioning article
US 20050192203 A1
Abstract
Concave composition carrier for multiple use fabric conditioning article.
Images(3)
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Claims(28)
1. A fabric conditioning article comprising
a composition carrier comprising a first side and a second side, wherein said first side is capable of releasing a fabric conditioning composition;
wherein said fabric conditioning composition is capable of being operatively attached to said composition carrier from said first side;
wherein the second side of said composition carrier is concave at least before a fabric conditioning composition is operatively attached.
2. The article of claim 1, wherein the second side of said composition carrier is concave before a fabric conditioning composition is operatively attached.
3. The article of claim 1, wherein said fabric conditioning composition comprises a fabric conditioning component, a carrier component, and optionally a perfume component.
4. The article of claim 1, wherein said fabric conditioning composition comprises a smaller volume in the solid state than in the molten liquid state.
5. The article of claim 4, wherein the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the solid state is less than about 98% the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the molten liquid state.
6. The article of claim 5, wherein the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the solid state is less than about 95% the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the molten liquid state.
7. The article of claim 6, wherein the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the solid state is less than about 92% the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the molten liquid state.
8. The article of claim 7, wherein the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the solid state is less than about 89% the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the molten liquid state.
9. The article of claim 8, wherein the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the solid state is less than about 86% the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the molten liquid state.
10. The article of claim 1, wherein the second side of said composition carrier has a concavity index of from about 0.001 to about 0.1.
11. The article of claim 1, wherein the second side of said composition carrier has a concavity index of from about 0.002 to about 0.06.
12. The article of claim 1, wherein the second side of said composition carrier has a concavity index of from about 0.003 to about 0.04.
13. The article of claim 1, wherein the second side of said composition carrier has a concavity index of from about 0.004 to about 0.03.
14. The article of claim 10, wherein the concavity of said composition carrier has a curvature that is selected from an arc of a circle, a symmetrical arc of a parabola, a symmetrical arc of a catenary, an inverted V-shape, or combinations thereof.
15. The article of claim 1, wherein said composition carrier is made of high melting plastic.
16. The article of claim 1, wherein the first side of said composition carrier comprises an indicium.
17. The article of claim 16, wherein said indicium is chosen from a word, phrase, letter, character, brand name, company name, company logo or symbol, description, logo, icon, perfume name, design, designer name, symbol, motif, insignia, figure, mark, signal, color, texture, shape, token, advertisement, and combinations thereof.
18. The article of claim 17, wherein said indicium is chosen from a word, phrase, brand name, company name, description, perfume name, designer name, advertisement, and combinations thereof, and wherein said indicium is in one or more than one language.
19. The article of claim 2, wherein said article comprises at least one of adhesive, glue, double sided tape, hook and loop or reclosable fastener type device, screws, bolts, magnets, and combinations thereof, for operably connecting to an inside surface of a clothes dryer.
20. The article of claim 1, further comprising a docking member comprising a first side and a second side, wherein said composition carrier is operatively attached to said first side of said docking member, and wherein said second side of said docking member is releasably attached to an inner surface of a clothes dryer.
21. The article of claim 20, wherein said composition carrier comprises a mating member to operably connect to said docking member.
22. The article of claim 20, wherein said first side of said docking member comprises a connecting member to operably connect to said second side of the composition carrier, wherein said connecting member comprises at least one of: lip, hole plug, segment, securing tap, or combinations thereof.
23. The article of claim 20, wherein said docking member comprises two securing tabs at both ends of the docking member.
24. The composition of claim 1, wherein the fabric conditioning composition comprises at least one of methyl bis(tallowamidoethyl)-2-hydroxyethyl ammonium methyl sulfate, and methyl bis(hydrogenated tallowamidoethyl)-2-hydroxyethyl ammonium methyl sulfate, methyl bis (stearyloyloxyethyl)-2-hydroxyethyl ammonium methyl sulfate, dimethyl bis (stearyloyloxyethyl) ammonium methyl sulfate, and/or methyl bis (hydrogenated tallowoyloxyethyl)-2-hydroxyethyl ammonium methyl sulfate.
25. The composition of claim 1, wherein said composition carrier comprises at least one of ethylene bisamides, primary alkylamides, alkanolamides, polyamides, alcohols containing at least 12 carbon atoms, alkoxylated alcohols containing at least 12 carbon atoms, carboxylic acids containing at least about 12 carbon atoms, derivatives thereof, and mixtures thereof.
26. The composition of claim 1, further comprising at least one of: soil release agent, chelant, dye transfer inhibitor, dye fixative agent, chlorine scavenging agent, optical brightener, odor control agent, antimicrobial agent, fungicide, wrinkle control agent, anti-oxidant, preservative, insect repellent, moth repellent, processing aid, plasticizer, mold release agent, and mixtures thereof.
27. A process of making the fabric conditioning article of claim 1 comprising the steps of (a) providing a composition carrier comprising a second side comprising a concave configuration; and (b) casting or extruding the multiple use fabric conditioning composition onto said composition carrier.
28. A fabric conditioning article comprising a fabric conditioning block comprising a solid fabric conditioning composition and a composition carrier; wherein said composition carrier comprises a first side and a second side; wherein said fabric conditioning composition is operatively attached to said composition carrier from said first side; wherein said fabric conditioning composition comprises a smaller volume in the solid state than in the molten liquid state, and wherein the second side of said composition carrier comprises a concave configuration before said composition carrier is attached to said fabric conditioning composition.
Description
    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims benefit to the following U.S. Provisional Patent Applications: 60/548,374, filed Feb. 27, 2004; 60/550,555, filed Mar. 5, 2004; 60/550,669, filed Mar. 5, 2004; 60/550,557, filed Mar. 5, 2004; 60/555,950, filed Mar. 24, 2004; 60/560,121, filed Apr. 7, 2004; and 60/591,032, filed Jul. 26, 2004, the disclosures of which are all hereby incorporated by reference.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The invention relates to an improved fabric conditioning article and to methods using and manufacturing the same.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    Dryer-added fabric conditioning products provide a better convenience to the consumer as compared to the rinse-added fabric conditioning products because they spare the consumer the requirement of having to be present at the beginning of the rinse cycle.
  • [0004]
    There are two main types of dryer-added fabric conditioning products, namely, single use products and multiple-use products. Single use products, most commonly in the sheet form coated with a fabric conditioning composition, calls for adding a single sheet into an automatic clothes dryer containing a wet laundry load at the beginning of the drying cycle. Examples of this type of product are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,442,692 to Gaiser and U.S. Pat. No. 3,686,025 to Morton et al.
  • [0005]
    Multiple use fabric conditioning products are placed in the interior of the dryer to release the fabric conditioning active to successive laundry loads. Each multiple-use product lasts many drying cycles, from a few cycles to about 50 or more cycles. Said product can either be an unattached article that is added to an automatic clothes dryer and is tumbled along with a wet laundry load, or an article that is releasably attached to the interior of an automatic dryer drum. An example of an unattached multiple use fabric conditioning article is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,676,199 issued Jul. 11, 1972 to Hewitt et al.
  • [0006]
    The products can be attached to the interior of the dryer, as disclosed in U.S. patent application Publ. No. 2003/0192197 A1 published Oct. 16, 2003 to Griese et al., and U.S. patent application Publ. No. 2003/0195130 A1 published Oct. 16, 2003 to Lentsch et al. The softener active, which is preferably solid at room temperature, can soften or melt under the clothes dryer operating temperature, such as those disclosed in U.S. Pat No. 3,696,034, or only softens at a temperature above the clothes dryer operating temperature, such as those disclosed in U.S. patent application Publ. Nos. 2003/0192197 and 2003/0195130 A1. In use, this type of article is attached to the inside wall of a dryer, such as on a dryer fin, and a wet laundry load is tumbled in the presence of said article while being dried in order to receive the conditioning benefits. After drying, the laundry is removed but the article is left in place and is ready for the next load of wet laundry for drying. This article provides increased convenience to the consumer as its use requires less effort to use than single use products while eliminating searching for unattached multiple use products after each drying cycle.
  • [0007]
    It is surprising that the multiple use solid fabric conditioning compositions, such as those disclosed in U.S. patent application Publ. No. 2003/0195130 A1, reduce their volume as they cool to transition from the molten state to the solid state. Due to the shrinkage, it is found that when the fabric conditioning composition is fixedly cast or extruded onto the first side of the composition carrier, the second side of the composition carrier, which is originally flat, becomes warped in a manner that the second side of the composition carrier is bent in a concave fashion. This warping not only conveys a poor quality impression of the product, but also can make the connecting elements such as lips of the composition carrier and mating members of the docking member to either fit too tightly and can make the placement and/or replacement more difficult, or the end of the composition carrier raised too high such that the fabric composition dispenser unit can easily slip out of the docking member.
  • [0008]
    The present invention relates to improvements to solve this unexpected problem.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0009]
    The invention may take form in various components and arrangements of components, and in various steps and arrangement of steps. The drawings are only for purposes of illustrating the preferred embodiments and are not to be construed as limiting the invention.
  • [0010]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a multiple use fabric conditioning block, a composition carrier, and a docking member;
  • [0011]
    FIG. 2 a is a cross sectional view of one embodiment of a free composition carrier;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 2 b shows the concavity of the second side of the free composition carrier of FIG. 2 a;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 3 a is a cross sectional view of another embodiment of a free composition carrier; and
  • [0014]
    FIG. 3 b shows the concavity of the second side of the free composition carrier of FIG. 3 a.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0015]
    A first aspect of the present invention relates to a fabric conditioning article comprising a composition carrier comprising a first side and a second side capable of releasing a fabric conditioning composition; wherein said fabric conditioning composition is capable of being operatively attached to said composition carrier from said first side; wherein the second side of said composition carrier is concave at least before a fabric conditioning composition is operatively attached. In one embodiment, the second side of said composition carrier is concave before a fabric conditioning composition is operatively attached. In one embodiment, the fabric conditioning composition comprises a fabric conditioning component, a carrier component, and optionally a perfume component. In another embodiment, the fabric conditioning composition comprises a smaller volume in the solid state than in the molten liquid state.
  • [0016]
    In one embodiment, volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the solid state is less than about 98% the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the molten liquid state. In another embodiment, the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the solid state is less than about 95% the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the molten liquid state. In yet another embodiment, the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the solid state is less than about 92% the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the molten liquid state. In still another embodiment, the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the solid state is less than about 89% the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the molten liquid state. In yet another embodiment, the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the solid state is less than about 86% the volume of said fabric conditioning composition in the molten liquid state.
  • [0017]
    In one embodiment the second side of said composition carrier has a concavity index of from about 0.001 to about 0.1. In another embodiment, the second side of said composition carrier has a concavity index of from about 0.002 to about 0.06. In yet another embodiment, the second side of said composition carrier has a concavity index of from about 0.003 to about 0.04. In still another embodiment, the second side of said composition carrier has a concavity index of from about 0.004 to about 0.03.
  • [0018]
    In one embodiment, the concavity of said composition carrier has a curvature that is selected from an arc of a circle, a symmetrical arc of a parabola, a symmetrical arc of a catenary, an inverted V-shape, or combinations thereof.
  • [0019]
    In one embodiment, the composition carrier is made of high melting plastic. In another embodiment, the first side of said composition carrier comprises an indicium. In yet another embodiment, the indicium is chosen from a word, phrase, letter, character, brand name, company name, company logo or symbol, description, logo, icon, perfume name, design, designer name, symbol, motif, insignia, figure, mark, signal, color, texture, shape, token, advertisement, and combinations thereof. In still another embodiment, the indicium is chosen from a word, phrase, brand name, company name, description, perfume name, designer name, advertisement, and combinations thereof, and wherein said indicium is in one or more than one language.
  • [0020]
    In one embodiment, the article comprises at least one of adhesive, glue, double sided tape, hook and loop or reclosable fastener type device, screws, bolts, magnets, and combinations thereof, for operably connecting to an inside surface of a clothes dryer.
  • [0021]
    In one embodiment, the article further comprises a docking member comprising a first side and a second side, wherein said composition carrier is operatively attached to said first side of said docking member, and wherein said second side of said docking member is releasably attached to an inner surface of a clothes dryer.
  • [0022]
    In one embodiment, the composition carrier comprises a mating member to operably connect to said docking member. In another embodiment, the first side of said docking member comprises a connecting member to operably connect to said second side of the composition carrier, wherein said connecting member comprises at least one of: lip, hole plug, segment, securing tap, or combinations thereof In yet another embodiment, the docking member comprises two securing taps at both ends of the docking member.
  • [0023]
    In one embodiment, the fabric conditioning component comprises at least one of methyl bis(tallowamidoethyl)-2-hydroxyethyl ammonium methyl sulfate, and methyl bis(hydrogenated tallowamidoethyl)-2-hydroxyethyl ammonium methyl sulfate, methyl bis(stearyloyloxyethyl)-2-hydroxyethyl ammonium methyl sulfate, dimethyl bis(stearyloyloxyethyl) ammonium methyl sulfate, and/or methyl bis(hydrogenated tallowoyloxyethyl)-2-hydroxyethyl ammonium methyl sulfate. In another embodiment, the carrier component comprises at least one of ethylene bisamides, primary alkylamides, alkanolamides, polyamides, alcohols containing at least 12 carbon atoms, alkoxylated alcohols containing at least 12 carbon atoms, carboxylic acids containing at least about 12 carbon atoms, derivatives thereof, and mixtures thereof. In yet another embodiment, the composition further comprises at least one of soil release agent, chelant, dye transfer inhibitor, dye fixative agent, chlorine scavenging agent, optical brightener, odor control agent, antimicrobial agent, fungicide, wrinkle control agent, anti-oxidant, preservative, insect repellent, moth repellent, processing aid, plasticizer, mold release agent, and mixtures thereof.
  • [0024]
    In one embodiment, the process of making the fabric conditioning article comprises the steps of (a) providing a composition carrier comprising a second side comprising a concave configuration; and (b) casting or extruding the multiple use fabric conditioning composition onto said composition carrier.
  • [0025]
    A second aspect of the present invention relates to a fabric conditioning article comprising a fabric conditioning block comprising a solid fabric conditioning composition and a composition carrier; wherein said composition carrier comprises a first side and a second side; wherein said fabric conditioning composition is operatively attached to said composition carrier from said first side; wherein said fabric conditioning composition comprises a smaller volume in the solid state than in the molten liquid state, and wherein the second side of said composition carrier comprises a concave configuration before said composition carrier is attached to said fabric conditioning composition.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0026]
    While the specification concludes with the claims particularly pointing and distinctly claiming the invention, it is believed that the present invention will be better understood from the following description.
  • [0027]
    The compositions of the present invention can include, consist essentially of, or consist of, the components of the present invention as well as other ingredients described herein. As used herein, “consisting essentially of” means that the composition or component may include additional ingredients, but only if the additional ingredients do not materially alter the basic and novel characteristics of the claimed compositions or methods.
  • [0028]
    All percentages and ratios used herein are by weight of the total composition and all measurements made are at 25° C., unless otherwise designated. An angular degree is a planar unit of angular measure equal in magnitude to 1/360 of a complete revolution.
  • [0029]
    All measurements used herein are in metric units unless otherwise specified.
  • [0030]
    As used herein, “Multiple use” describes the ability of the fabric conditioning block to be used to deliver a desired amount of fabric conditioning composition to the laundry during at least two cycles for drying laundry. In one embodiment, multiple use includes at least about 10 cycles, in another embodiment, multiple use includes at least about 20 cycles, in another embodiment, multiple use includes at least about 30 cycles, in another embodiment, multiple use includes at least about 40 cycles, in another embodiment, multiple use includes at least about 50 cycles, and in another embodiment, multiple use includes at least about 60 cycles, before the fabric conditioning composition needs to be replaced.
  • [0031]
    As used herein, a “Dryer” describes any type of laundry dryer that uses heat and agitation to remove water from the laundry. An exemplary dryer includes a tumble-type dryer where the laundry is provided within a rotating drum that causes the laundry to tumble during the operation of the dryer.
  • [0032]
    As used herein, “Laundry” refers to any textile or fabric material, e.g., garment, that is laundered.
  • [0033]
    It has now surprisingly been discovered that a composition carrier having a first side and a second side wherein the composition carrier is concave at least before a fabric conditioning composition is operatively attached provides the benefit of producing a substantially planar or flat composition carrier after the addition of a fabric conditioning composition. Such a composition carrier may be utilized to form a fabric conditioning article having a fabric conditioning block having a fabric conditioning composition and a composition carrier.
  • [0034]
    The composition carrier is an object that is capable of being operably connected to a solid multiple use fabric conditioning composition. The composition carrier includes a first side and a second side. In one embodiment, the fabric conditioning composition is operably connected to the composition carrier by fixedly casting or fixedly extruding the composition onto the carrier, or in another embodiment, fixedly casting or fixedly extruding in such a way that the portion of the composition coming into contact with laundry is located on the first side of the composition carrier. In the unattached state, viz., before the fabric conditioning composition is attached to the composition carrier, the second side of the composition carrier of the present invention includes a concave configuration with a curvature selected from an arc of a circle, a symmetrical arc of a parabola, a symmetrical arc of a catenary (a hyperbolic cosine curve), a V-shape curve, a curve containing one or more cusps, or combinations thereof. Without wishing to be bound by theory, it is believed that after the molten fabric conditioning composition is cast onto the first side of the composition carrier and let cool, the solidifying composition pulls the ends of the composition carrier toward the side of the composition. It is believed that the intentionally designed concavity on the second side of the composition carrier of the present invention will compensate for the warping of the composition carrier, and make the second side substantially planar and/or flat, and thus improving the ease of placing and/or replacing the fabric conditioning block on the docking member, and/or preventing the block from accidental slipping out of the docking member.
  • [0035]
    The composition carrier can be constructed from a variety of materials. Materials of construction include metals, ceramics, woods, laminates, plastics, and combinations. In one embodiment, the composition carrier is made of one or more plastics. In yet another embodiment, the composition carrier is made from of a high melting plastic, including, but not limited to nylon, polypropylene, polyethylene, and combinations thereof. One of ordinary skill in the art would readily know how to select a material suitable for use in a dryer. The composition carrier, if made of plastic, may be molded, extruded, or blow molded. In one embodiment, the first side of the composition carrier is flat or arced. In another embodiment, the first side of said composition carrier is neither flat nor arced.
  • [0036]
    In a preferred embodiment, the composition carrier additionally includes an indicium. Suitable indicia that can be used in the present invention are disclosed in the co-filed U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/548,374, filed Feb. 27, 2004, entitled “IMPROVED MULTIPLE USE FABRIC CONDITIONING ARTICLE WITH REPLACEMENT INDICIUM” to Trinh et al., and references cited therein. The indicium is preferably chosen from a word, phrase, letter, character, brand name, company name, company logo or symbol, description, logo, icon, perfume name, design, designer name, symbol, motif, insignia, figure, mark, signal, color, texture, shape, token, advertisement, and combinations thereof, more preferably said indicium is chosen from a word, phrase, brand name, company name, description, perfume name, designer name, advertisement, and combinations thereof, and wherein said indicium is in one or more than one language.
  • [0000]
    Fabric Conditioning Composition
  • [0037]
    The fabric conditioning composition of the present invention includes a fabric conditioning component, a carrier component, and optionally a perfume component, that is preferably substantially solid at the operating temperature of household and/or commercial clothes dryers (e.g., at about 90° C. or higher). Exemplary fabric conditioning components, carrier components, and perfume components are described in U.S. patent application US 2003/0195130 and references cited therein, co-filed U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/550,555 filed Mar. 5, 2004, entitled “MULTIPLE USE FABRIC CONDITIONING COMPOSITION WITH IMPROVED PERFUME”, to Trinh et al., and references cited therein; and co-filed U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/550,557 filed Mar. 5, 2004, entitled “MULTIPLE USE FABRIC CONDITIONING COMPOSITION WITH BLOOMING PERFUME”, to Morgan et al, and references cited therein. The fabric conditioning component provides fabric conditioning properties to laundry such as fabric softening or antistatic benefit. Non-limiting examples of the fabric conditioning component include methyl bis(tallowamidoethyl)-2-hydroxyethyl ammonium methyl sulfate, and methyl bis(hydrogenated tallowamidoethyl)-2-hydroxyethyl ammonium methyl sulfate, methyl bis (stearyloyloxyethyl)-2-hydroxyethyl ammonium methyl sulfate, dimethyl bis (stearyloyloxyethyl) ammonium methyl sulfate, methyl bis (hydrogenated tallowoyloxyethyl)-2-hydroxyethyl ammonium methyl sulfate, and mixtures thereof. Other fabric conditioning components and other optional ingredients may include one or more of sanitizer, deodorizer, odor control agent, soil repellant, soil release agent, dye-transfer inhibitor, dye fixative agent, chlorine scavenging agent, chelant, fiber protecting polymer, fiber smoother, antimicrobial agent, fungicide, antioxidant, preservative, insect repellent, moth repellent, Uv light absorber, optical brightener, wrinkle control agent, processing agent, and/or mold release agent.
  • [0038]
    The fabric conditioning composition of the present invention shrinks in volume as it solidifies from the molten liquid state. Thus said fabric conditioning composition has a smaller volume in the solid state than in the molten liquid state, with the volume in the solid state typically being less than about 98%, less than about 95%, less than about 92%, less than about 89%, or less than about 86% the volume in the molten liquid state.
  • [0039]
    The carrier component mixes with the fabric conditioning component and helps the fabric conditioning component resist transfer to laundry by melting during the drying operation. The carrier component is chosen so that the fabric conditioning composition exhibits a melting point or softening point that is above the operating temperature of the dryer. In most dryer operations, this means that the melting temperature of the fabric conditioning composition is above about 90° C. The melting temperature or the softening temperature of the fabric conditioning composition can be above about 95° C., above about 100° C., above about 110° C., or above about 120° C. The melting temperature of the fabric conditioning composition can be below 200° C. Non-limiting examples of the carrier component include ethylene bisamides, primary alkylamides, alkanolamides, polyamides, alcohols containing at least 12 carbon atoms, alkoxylated alcohols containing at least 12 carbon atoms, carboxylic acids containing at least about 12 carbon atoms, derivatives thereof, and mixtures thereof.
  • [0040]
    The melting temperature of the fabric conditioning composition refers to the temperature at which the composition begins to flow under its own weight. As the fabric conditioning composition reaches its melting point, one will observe the composition undergoing a transfer from a solid discreet mass to a flowable liquid. Although a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) measurement of the composition may reveal that certain portions or phases of the composition may exhibit melting at temperatures that are within the operating temperatures of a dryer, it should be understood that what is meant by the melting temperature of the composition is not the melting temperature of certain portions or phases within the composition, but the melting temperature of the composition as demonstrated by the composition being visibly observed as a flowable liquid. It is expected that the fabric conditioning composition may be provided as a solid mixture including multiple phases or as a solid solution including a single phase.
  • [0041]
    The softening temperature of the composition refers to the temperature at which the solid mass becomes easily deformable. For many exemplary compositions according to the invention, it is expected that the softening temperature will be a few degrees below the melting temperature.
  • [0042]
    Non-limiting examples of suitable fabric conditioning composition are described in U.S. 2003/0195130 A1 published Oct. 16, 2003 to Lentsch et al., and any continuation-in-part applications thereof.
  • [0043]
    The fabric conditioning composition is preferably operably connected to the composition carrier by fixedly casting or fixedly extruding the composition onto the carrier, more preferably fixedly casting or fixedly extruding in such a way that the portion of the composition coming into contact with laundry is located on the first side of the composition carrier. To facilitate this casting or extrusion, the composition carrier may include a plurality of apertures to allow molten fabric conditioning composition to better adhere to the composition carrier. In one embodiment, the apertures of the composition carrier have hexagonal shapes and are arranged in a nonlinear, honeycomb fashion. In this embodiment, this arrangement of apertures, without wishing to be bound by theory, strengthens the casting or extruding of the fabric conditioning compositions onto the composition carrier thereby preventing the composition from breaking and shearing from the composition carrier. In a preferred embodiment, the plurality of apertures are countersunk on a second side of the composition carrier to allow the solid fabric conditioning composition to be fixedly cast or extruded onto said composition carrier.
  • [0000]
    Docking Member
  • [0044]
    The fabric conditioning article is operably connectable to an inside surface of a dryer. In a preferred embodiment, the article further includes a docking member to operably connect to the inside of a dryer. Other non-limiting ways of operably connecting the article to the inside surface of the dryer includes the use of adhesive, glue, double sided tape (e.g., 3M, part number 4084), VELCROŽ or any other suitable hook and loop or reclosable fastener type device, screws, bolts, magnets, or other connecting means known in the art.
  • [0045]
    In turn, a “docking member” may have a first side and/or a second side. The composition and/or composition carrier may be releasably affixed to the first side of the docking member and/or the inside surface of the dryer. In one embodiment, the docking member, preferably the first side of the docking member, includes a connecting member to affix, preferably releasably affix, the composition carrier, preferably the second side of the composition carrier, to the first side of the docking member. In another embodiment, the docking member, preferably the second side of the docking member, includes a connecting member to affix, preferably releasably affix, the docking member to the inside surface of a dryer. Non-limiting examples of a connecting member include: lips to secure mating members or mating member to secure lips; hole plug and segment, wherein the segments releasably engage the holes; a securing tap (e.g., “snap tap”); or combinations thereof. An example of a docking member is described in U.S. patent application Publication 2003/0192197 A1.
  • [0046]
    The fabric conditioning article may be operably connected on a fin, door, or barrel of the dryer. Docking member(s) may be angled, relative to the surface of attachment to decrease or increase efficacy.
  • [0047]
    In one embodiment, the docking member can have the same color as the composition carrier, or, optionally have a different color than the composition carrier, and optionally have an off-white color.
  • [0048]
    The docking member can be made from a variety of materials. Materials of construction include metals, ceramics, woods, laminates, plastics, and combinations. In one embodiment, the docking member is made of one or more plastics. In yet another embodiment, the docking member is made from a high melting plastic, including, but not limited to nylon, polypropylene, polyethylene, and combinations thereof. One of ordinary skill in the art would readily know how to select a material suitable for use in a dryer. The docking member, if made of plastic, may be molded, extruded, or blow molded.
  • EXAMPLES
  • [0049]
    The following are intended to be non-limiting examples further exemplifying various aspects of the present invention.
  • [0050]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a multiple use fabric conditioning block 10 and a docking member 20. The fabric conditioning block 10 is made of a composition carrier 30 and a solid fabric conditioning composition 40. The composition carrier has a first side 31, a second side 32, and a circumferential third edge 33. The fabric conditioning composition 40 is operably connected to the composition carrier 30 by being fixedly cast or fixedly extruded to the composition carrier 30 such that the portion of the composition 40 coming into contact with laundry is located on the first side 31 of the composition carrier. The circumferential third edge 33 includes a connecting member in the form of mating members 35 that protrude laterally out. When the solid fabric conditioning composition 40 is connected to the composition carrier 30, the second side 32 of the composition carrier is flat and planar.
  • [0051]
    In this embodiment, the composition carrier 30 is operably connectable to a docking member 20. The docking member 20 has a first side 21, a second side 22, and a perimeter 23. The second side 22 of the docking member 20 provides a surface onto which an adhesive or another docking member (not shown) or other means of operably connecting the docking member 20 to an inside surface of a dryer. The perimeter 23 of the docking member 20 includes a rail portion 24 bordering the docking member 20 along two sides, which may protect the corresponding edges of the fabric conditioning block 10, when the fabric conditioning block 10 is operably connected the docking member 20. The docking member 20 also includes lips 25 and one or two securing tabs 26 as connecting members. The lips 25 extend from the rail portion 24 along two sides. The securing tab(s) 26 is at the end(s) of the docking member 20. When the fabric conditioning block 10 is slid into the docking member 20 from either end, the securing tab 16 is pushed downward and then snaps into place to border the corresponding edge of the composition carrier 30 when operably connected to the first side 21 of the docking member 20. The mating members 35 are arranged similarly as the lips 25 on the docking member 20. Therefore, the block 10 does not have to be slid into the docking member 20 all the way from an end of the block 10. Rather, the mating member 35 and the corresponding lips 25 are simply placed in the spaces between the lips 25 thereby depressing the securing tab 26 concurrently. As the block 10 is slid in the docking member 20 so the lips 25 align with the mating members 35, the securing tab 26 engages the end of the block 10 thereby snap locking it into place. This provides a shorter distance to connect the block 10 to the docking member 20 should; for example, the walls of the dryer prevent the block 10 from being slid into place from the end of the docking member 20. To disengage the block 10 from the docking member 20, the securing tab 26 is pushed downward and then the block 10 is slid away from the lips 25 of the docking member 20. When the mating members 35 of the composition carrier 30 no longer align with the lips 25 of the docking member 20, the block 10 may be removed from the docking member 20. In one embodiment, the docking includes one securing tap 26 at one end of the docking member, while the rail portion 24 is extended to the other end to protect one end of the composition carrier 30. In the preferred embodiment depicted in FIG. 1, the docking member 20 includes two securing taps 26 situated at both ends of the docking member. This arrangement allows block 10 to be attached from both ends of the docking member 20.
  • [0052]
    FIG. 2 a is a cross sectional view of one embodiment of a free composition carrier 30, taken along line 1-1 of FIG. 1, including a first side 31 and a second side 32, showing the concavity of the second side 32. In this embodiment the concavity of the second side 32 has a curvature that is chosen from, e.g., an arc of a circle, a symmetrical arc of a parabola, a symmetrical arc of a catenary (hyperbolic cosine curve), or combinations thereof. FIG. 2 b shows the concavity of the second side 32 of the free composition carrier 30 of FIG. 2 a, said concavity is characterized by a concavity index, defined as the ratio h/2R wherein h is the deviation from planarity of the each end of the second side 32, and 2R is the length of the composition carrier 30. The concavity index of the composition carrier of the present invention is typically from about 0.001 to about 0.1, preferably from about 0.002 to about 0.06, more preferably from about 0.003 to about 0.04, and even more preferably from about 0.004 to about 0.03.
  • [0053]
    FIG. 3 a is a cross sectional view of another embodiment of a free composition carrier 30, taken along line 1-1 of FIG. 1, including a first side 31 and a second side 32, showing the concavity of the second side 32. In this embodiment the concavity the second side has an inverted V-shape configuration. FIG. 3 b shows the concavity of the second side 32 of the free composition carrier 30 of FIG. 3 a, said concavity is characterized by a concavity index, defined as the ratio h/2R wherein h is the deviation from planarity of the each end of the second side 32, and 2R is the length of the composition carrier 30. The concavity index of the composition carrier of the present invention is typically from about 0.001 to about 0.1, preferably from about 0.002 to about 0.06, more preferably from about 0.003 to about 0.04, and even more preferably from about 0.004 to about 0.03.
  • [0054]
    The disclosure of all patents, patent applications (and any patents which issue thereon, as well as any corresponding published foreign patent applications), and publications mentioned throughout this description are hereby incorporated by reference herein. It is expressly not admitted, however, that any of the documents incorporated by reference herein teach or disclose the present invention.
  • [0055]
    Except as otherwise noted, the articles “a”, “an”, and “the” mean “one or more”.
  • [0056]
    All percentages stated herein are by weight unless otherwise specified. It should be understood that every maximum numerical limitation given throughout this specification will include every lower numerical limitation, as if such lower numerical limitations were expressly written herein. Every minimum numerical limitation given throughout this specification will include every higher numerical limitation, as if such higher numerical limitations were expressly written herein. Every numerical range given throughout this specification will include every narrower numerical range that falls within such broader numerical range, as if such narrower numerical ranges were all expressly written herein.
  • [0057]
    While particular embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated and described, it would be obvious to those skilled in the art that various other changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. It is therefore intended to cover in the appended claims all such changes and modifications that are within the scope of this invention.
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Referenced by
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US7456145Jun 19, 2007Nov 25, 2008Ecolab Inc.Fabric treatment compositions comprising ester quats and fatty amides and methods for treating fabric in a dryer
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Classifications
U.S. Classification510/515
International ClassificationD06L1/00, D06F58/20, D06F39/02, D06M23/02, D06M13/46
Cooperative ClassificationD06M23/02, D06F58/203, D06M13/46, C11D17/047, D06F39/02
European ClassificationC11D17/04B6, D06M13/46, D06M23/02, D06F58/20B, D06F39/02
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 26, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY, THE, OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:TRINH, TOAN;REEL/FRAME:016278/0180
Effective date: 20050317