US 3008214 A
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Nov. 14, 1961 B. H. FOSTER ETAL FLEXIBLE INFLATABLE FABRIC AND METHOD OF MAKING THE SAME 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Jan. 22, 1957 r I I INVENTORS BOUT/V514 A. F0672??? A A J'J/fi HA 00A 0 BY Wm ATTORNEY It? In -ll,
Nov. 14, 1961 B. H. FOSTER ETAL 3,008,214
FLEXIBLE INFLATABLE FABRIC AND METHOD OF MAKING THE SAME Filed Jan. 22, 1957 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTORS BOUTWELL 1'74 FOSTER IVA 58/5 HADOAD ATTORNEY United States Patent ()fiice 3,008,214 Patented Nov. 14, 1961 3,008,214 FLEXIBLE INFLATABLE FABRIC AND METHOD OF MAKING THE SAME Boutwell H. Foster, Maplewood, and Nassib' Haddad,
Iselin, N.J., assignors to United States Rubber Company, New York, N.Y., a corporation of New Jersey Filed Jan. 22, 1957, Ser. No. 635,199 3 Claims. (Cl. 28-80) This invention relates generally to the art of fabrics and, in one of its more specific aspects, to a double face or two-ply fabric for use in making flexible inflatable articles, and to the method of making the same.
The fabric of this invention has wide application. It is particularly useful in manufacturing inflatable articles requiring a relatively high degree of flexibility in more than one direction, whether in deflated or inflated condition. Such articles include items of clothing, life jackets, insulating coverings and liners, tops for convertible automobiles, moisture-proof pads for baby cribs, and the like.
It has generally been the practice in the past to make many inflatable articles from coated plush loom fabrics and from coated plies of ordinary fabrics. Articles heretofore made from these fabrics are objectionable for several reasons. In the first place, the articles frequently do not possess the desired degree of flexibility when inflated. Also due to manufacturing complexities, procedural difficulties and the considerable amount of hand work involved, the cost of producing the articles has been necessarily high.
A plush loom weaves two fabrics simultaneously and maintains them a predetermined distance apart at the point of weaving. When a plush loom is used, a number of warp yarns from one of the fabrics are transferred to the second fabric at regular intervals and are interwoven with the filling yarns of the second fabric for a specified distance. These warp yarns are then transferred back to the first fabric. This procedure is repeated so that the final product has regular rows of uniformly spaced freefloating warp yarns which are perpendicular to the face fabrics when extended to their full length.
Plush loom fabrics of the type described above have been used in the manufacture of inflatable objects. For example, in making an air mattress that will measure two inches in thickness when inflated, a plush loom fabric with two inch floating warp or spacer yarns is employed. The fabric is coated with rubber or other flexible and air-impervious material and cut to the desired size. The edges are then sealed with the coating material or a sealing strip, and a valve is inserted in a selected location. Upon admitting air into the article through the valve, the fabric expands until the spacer yarns are extended to their full length. The principal disadvantages of inflatable articles made from plush loom fabrics are (a) high cost, for the reason that plush looms are more complex and expensive than ordinary looms; and (b) inflexibility of the articles due to their being rigid when fully inflated.
In the manufacture of inflatable articles from ordinary coated fabrics, a large amount of hand work must be performed to space 'and/ or hold the fabrics in position, thereby resulting in high labor costs. Moreover, it is usually diflicult to make relatively thin multi-seotion inflatable articles with ordinary fabrics and employing conventional techniques. Additionally, the articles are more rigid in a direction parallel to the lines of contact between the two faces than perpendicular to such lines. Here we have reference to conventional inflatable fabrics.
This invention eliminates the objections and disadvan- 2 tages referred to above and provides an inflatable fabric having improved properties and characteristics as will be evident from the detailed description that appears further along herein.
The primary object of this invention is to provide an improved fabric for use in making an inflatable article which is adapted to be readily flexed, by bending or twisting, in a plurality of directions whether in inflated or collapsed condition.
Another object of the invention is to provide a lightweight, compact, strong, durable and air-impervious fabric for inflatable articles.
The invention has for a further object the provision of a fabric of the character indicated which is reasonable in manufacturing cost and which is capable of performing its intended functions in an entirely satisfactory manner.
A preferred and recommended fabric according to this invention comprises a pair of woven fabric plies which are positioned one against the other and which are directly connected by weaving along intersecting first and second pluralities of spaced parallel rows or lines. Such rows or lines are formed by yarns which are common to both plies. Portions of pairs of intersecting and successive parallel lines define inflatable pockets in the fabric. Such pockets may be square, oblong or any other parallelogram configuration. The plies are disconnected along a part of each line which constitutes a side of each of the pockets to allow free passage of air between any pocket and immediately adjacent pockets.
Each ply is provided with a substantially coextensive, flexible and air-impervious coating to retain air admitted into the pockets. The finished fabric when inflated is adapted to be readily flexed along any of the referred-to rows or lines.
The plies may be disconnected along the end parts or an intermediate part of each line which constitutes a side of each pocket, as desired. This allows passage of air between the pockets and still permits ready flexing of the fabric when inflated.
The enumerated objects and other objects, together with the advantages of this invention, will be readily understood by persons versed in the art from the following detailed description and the accompanying drawings which respectively describe and illustrate several fabrics constructed in accordance with the invention.
In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an inflatable article having a fabric of this invention incorporated therein, the article being shown in uninfla-ted condition;
FIG. 2 corresponds to and illustrates the article of FIG. 1 in inflated condition;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of a portion of the fabric of the article shown in FIG. 1 prior to its being coated with a flexible, air-impervious material;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged view taken along line 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 corresponds to FIG. 4 and illustrates the fabric with the coatings applied thereto;
FIGS. 6 and 7 correspond to FIGS. 4 and 5, respectively, and illustrate a modification of this invention; and
FIG. 8 is similar to FIG. 3 and illustrates another modification of this invention.
Referring now to the drawings wherein like reference numerals denote corresponding parts throughout the several views, we have illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 an uncoated fabric 10 which is woven by an ordinary loom, as distinguished from a plush loom or other special loom. Fabric 10 consists of a pair of fabric plies 11 and 12 which are made of suitable relatively non-shrinkable yarns, such as cotton, nylon and the like. Ply 11 includes warp yarns 13 and filler yarns 14. Ply 12 includes corresponding warp yarns 15 and filler yarns 16. The plies are simultaneously woven and connected in the warp direction along a first plurality of spaced parallel lines or rows 17, and in the filling direction along a second plurality of spaced parallel lines or rows 18 which intersect line 17 as shown in FIG. 3. Each line 17 and 18 may consist of one or more Warp or filler yarns which are common to both plies. The fabric construction shown in FIG. 4 utilizes three common warp yarns in each line or row 17.
Pairs of intersecting and successive lines 17 and 18 define pockets or cells 21 which are formed by and between the fabric plies. The pattern of lines 17 and 18 shown in FIG. 3 results in squarepockets of equal size. It is to be borne in mind that the p'ocket defining lines may be arranged in other patterns so as to define pockets having a configuration other than square. The pockets may, for example, be oblong or diamond shaped and may be of a plurality of sizes in a particular fabric. It is suilicient for the purposes of this invention to utilize pockets defined by corresponding lines arranged in the form of a parallelogram.
I The plies are disconnected in the regions of intersections of lines 17 and 18 as indicated at 22 in FIG. 3, thereby establishing direct communication between any selected pocket and the pockets immediately adjacent thereto. This allows free passage of air from any pocket to adjacent pockets in the finished article.
Each ply 11 and 12 is provided with an outer coating 23 (FIG. of rubber or other suitable flexible, airimpervious material. The fabric of FIGS. 3 and 4 with coatings 23 applied thereto is designated by numeral 24 in FIG. 5.
Reference is next had to FIGS. 1 and 2 which illustrate an inflatable article in the nature of a simple pad 25 which is' made from a piece of fabric 24. The pad is shown in uninflated condition in FIG. 1 and in inflated condition in FIG. 2. The pad includes sealing strips 26 which are made of an appropriate material, such as rubberized fabric, and which are applied to and seal the edges of coated fabric 24 to prevent escape of air from its interior. A flexible inflating tube 27 is secured to the fabric with the aid of a sealing ring 28 and communicates directly with one of the pockets.
It will be apparent that the pad may be readily inflated by admitting air under pressure thereinto by way of tube 27. The air admitted into the pocket communicating directly with the tube flows into the other pockets by way of the passages 22 in regions where the plies are disconnected along lines 17 and 18. These regions do not materially aifect the flexibility of the article, whether uninflated or inflated, along lines 17 and 18 as will be appreciated from a consideration of the drawings.
' The following tables set forth data in respect to typical uncoated and coated fabrics embodying the form of construction shown in FIGS. 3 and 4:
(11) Thickness, inches,at .1 p.s.i-- .0617.
4 TABLE 2 All cotton fabric having oblong pockets approximately .725" by .625"
(1) Width, inches 37.625. (2) Weight, oz./sq. yd 9.22. (3) Ends/inch 93.84 of 30/2 cotton. (4) Picks/inch 89.6 of 30/2 cotton. (5) Patterns/inch warp 1.38. (6) Patterns/inch fill 1.60. (7) Warp strength, lbs 128. (8) Filling strength, lbs 132. (9) Percent Warp crimp 11.9. (10) Percent filling crimp 6.25. (11) Thickness, inches, at .1 p.s.i- .0440.
TABLE 3 7 All nylon fabric having approximately 1.0 square pockets (1) Width, inches 12.19. (2) Weight, oz./sq. yd 2.83. (3) Ends/pocket 108 of denier nylon. 4) Picks/pocket 106 of 100 denier nylon. (5) Thickness, inches, at .1 p.s.i. .0072.
TABLE 4 All nylon fabric having approximately 2" square pockets (1) Width, inches; 11.875. (2) Weight, oz./sq. yd 2.91. (3) Ends/pocket -e 212 of 100 denier nylon. (4) Picks/pocket 210 of 100 denier nylon. (5) Thickness, in., at 0.1 p.s.i- .0072.
TABLE 5 All nylon fabric having approximately square pockets Before being coated:
FIG. 6 illustrates an uncoated fabric 30 comprising a pair of ordinary fabric plies 31 and 32 which are joined together along lines or rows corresponding to lines 17 and 18 of FIG. 3 by mechanical stitches 33. As shown, each line of juncture between the plies consists of three rows of stitches. It will be appreciated that a lesser or a greater number of rows of stitches may be used, depending on the materials employed and the requisite strength of the finished product. The fabric of FIG. 6 defines intercommunicating pockets 34 corresponding to pockets 21 of FIGS. 4 and 5.
Each ply 31 and 32 is provided with a coating of a flexible air-impervious material 35 (FIG. 7) which may be the same as the material of coatings 23 of FIG. 5. The thus coated fabric is identified by numeral 36 in FIG. 7.
FIG. 8 illustrates an uncoated woven fabric 37 that is very similar to fabric 10 of FIG. 3. Fabric 37 consists of a pair of woven fabric plies that are connected by weaving along intersecting first and second pluralities of spaced parallel lines 38 and 39, which correspond to lines 17 and 18 of FIG. 3. Fabric 37 differs over fabric 10 only in that its plies are disconnected along intermediate portions of the lines which define individual pockets, as indicated at 40. This allows ready passage of air from any selected pocket to immediately adjacent pockets, as in the case of the earlier described forms of the invention. It will be apparent that articles embodying the fabric of FIG. 8 are readily flexible along lines 38 and 39 when in collapsed or inflated condition.
From the foregoing it is believed that the objects and advantages of the herein described inflatable fabric and of the method of making the same, will be apparent to those skilled in the art, without further description. It is to be understood, however, that the invention may be embodied otherwise than as here shown and described and that various changes may be made without depart ing from the spirit, or sacrificing any of the advantages of the invention.
1. In a fabric for use in making inflatable articles, a pair of flexible plies positioned one against the other and directly connected along a first plurality of spaced parallel lines and a second plurality of spaced parallel lines which intersect the first purality of lines, portions of pairs of intersecting and successive parallel lines defining inflatable pockets of generally parallelogram configuration, the plies being disconnected at the corners of each of said pockets to allow passage of air between any pocket and immediately adjacent pockets, the fabric when imperviously coated and inflated being adapted to be readily flexed along any of said lines.
2. In a fabric for use in making inflatable articles, a pair of woven fabric plies positioned one against the other and directly connected by weaving along a first plurality of spaced parallel lines and a second plurality of spaced parallel lines which intersect the first plurality of lines, said lines being formed by yarns which are common to both plies, portions of pairs intersecting and successive parallel lines defining inflatable pockets of generally parallelogram configuration, the plies being disconnected at the corners of each of said pockets to allow passage of air between any pocket and immediately adjacent pockets, each ply being provided with a substantially coextensive, flexible, air-impervious coating, the fabric when inflated being adapted to be readily flexed along any of said lines.
3. In a fabric for use in making inflatable articles, a pair of woven fabric plies positioned one against the other and directly connected by stitching along a first plurality of spaced parallel lines and a second plurality of spaced parallel lines which intersect the first plurality of lines, portions of pairs of intersecting and successive parallel lines defining inflatable pockets of generally parallelogram configuration, the plies being disconnected at the corners of each of said pockets to allow passage of air between any pocket and immediately adjacent pockets,
each ply being provided with a substantially coextensive;
flexible, air-impervious coating, the fabric when inflated being adapted to be readily flexed along any of said lines.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 558,265 Hardenbrook Feb. 22, 1887 1,269,746 Robeson June 18, 1918 1,426,720 Dwight Aug. 22, 1922 2,471,380 Wallwork May 24, 1949 2,498,077 Goldberg Feb. 21, 1950 2,575,764 Morner Nov. 20, 1951 2,743,510 Mauney et a1. May 1, 1956 2,757,434 McCord et al. Aug. 7, 1956 2,757,437 Maris et al. Aug. 7, 1956 2,768,420 Runton Oct.30, 1956 FOREIGN PATENTS 389,848 Great Britain Mar. 14, 1933