US 3068547 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
P. D. LHOMMEDIEU REINFORCED NONWOVEN FABRICS Original Filed Sept. 19, 1958 Dec. 18, 1962 7 Sheets-Sheet 1 .1MMIvy sur g, M MTTCRNEYJ` Dec. 1s, 1962 Original Filed Sept.
P. D. LHOMMEDIEU REINFORCED NONWOVEN FABRICS 7 Sheets-Sheet 3 7 BY l u ATTORNEYS Dec. 18, 1962 P. D. L'HOMMEDIEU REINFORCED NoNwovEN FABRICS Original Filed Sept. 19, 1958 '7 Sheets-Sheet 4' INVENTOR ATTORNEYS Dec. 18, 1962 P. D. L'HoMMEDlEu REINFoRcED NoNwovEN FABRICS Original Filed Sept. 19. 1958 '7 Sheets-Sheet 5 NVENTOR I QL @md5 ATTORNEYS Dec. 18, 1962 P. D. uHoMMEDlEu 3,068,547
REINFoRcEn NoNwovEN FABRICS original Filed sept. 1s, 195s '7 Sheets-Sheet 6 lulyllge,
ATTORNEYS Dec. 18, 1962 P. D. L'HoMMEDlE-u 3,068,547
REINFORCED NONWOVEN FABRICS Original Filed Sept. 19, 1958 7 Sheel',s.'$hee1'l '7 ATTORNEY The present invention relates to reinforced nonwoven fabrics and, particularly, to nonwoven fabrics comprising a nonwoven fibrous material having the general appearance of a woven material, reinforced with a fabricated material containing textile strands or yarns embedded in the no-nwoven fibrous material.
In the fabric of the invention the fibers of the nonwoven material surround the reinforcing fabricated material and are intertwined and intermeshed with each other and with the reinforcing fabricated material so as to form a coherent, reinforced nonwoven fabric. This novel reinforced nonwoven fabric satisfactorily combines the desirable properties of the strength, resistance to tear, launderability, etc., of woven and knitted fabrics with the desirable soft and gentle hand of a nonwoven fabric.
The reinforced nonwoven fabric of the invention may be made by positioning a nonwoven fibrous web, for example a card web or an air-laid web or a web of fibers of papermaking length, on one or both sides of a reinforcing fabricated material containing textile strands or yarns, and in contacting relationship therewith, and then passing a fiuid through the fibrous web and the reinforcing fabricated material under the rearranging fluid conditions more fully described in United States Patent No. 2,862,251, granted December 2, 1958, to Frank Kalwaites. Under such conditions, the individual fibers of the starting fibrous web, which are capable of movement under the influence of applied fluid forces, are rearranged into a plurality of fabric openings defined by groups of fiber segments interconnected at fiber junctures and are simultaneously intertwined and intermeshed with and about the textile strands or yarns of the reinforcing fabricated material to form a coherent, reinforced nonwoven fabric having the abovedescribed desired properties and characteristics.
The starting nonwoven fibrous web or Vlayer may contain, for example, fibers of various average lengths ranging from as loW as about l mm. (about 0.040 inch) in the case of wood fibers of poplar, to as high as about 8 mm. (about 0.320 inch) or more in the case of western redwood. Within the more commercial aspects o-f the present invention, however, wood fibers having average lengths greater than about 3 mm. (about 0.120 inch) up to about 7 mm. (about 0.280 inch) (spruce, fir, pine, hemlock and larch) are preferred.
Other short length fibers may also be used in the starting web or layer in the application of the present invention. Such other fibers include vegetable fibers such as cotton linters which have an average fiber length of about 4-5 mm., cotton hull shavings fibers which have an average ber length of about 2-3 mm., mineral fibers such as asbestos, glass, rock wool, etc., or any of the hereinafter mentioned natural or synthetic fibers, preferably in lengths of less than about l2 mm. (about 1/z inch) and down to about l mm.
It is preferred that when short papermaking fibers are used they be unbeaten or substantially unhydrated, especially if a textile-like fabric is desired as the end product. In this connection, shorter hydrated fibers of woodpulp in a papermaking length, for instance, may be mixed with longer fibers in such a way that the longer fibers will contribute part of the strength desired in the ire resulting reinforced nonwoven fabric while the shorter wood fibers will decrease its cost. Good results can also lce obtained with a layer of hydrated woodpulp fibers which would introduce elements of a plastic mass into the fibrous sheet.
The term woodpulp, when used herein in a generic sense, is intended to cover any and all woodpulps, such as mechanical pulp, rag pulp, sulfate (Kraft) pulp, semichemical pulp, soda pulp, sulfite pulp, straw pulp, pulp from combined processes, and the like.
The starting nonwoven fibrous material may also contain various types of particulate solids, including materials including fibers having potentially adhesive character or capable of providing visual or other sensory interest. If desired, the starting nonwoven fibrous material may also include special fibers, as for example fibers which are capable of curling, bending, stretching, shrink-r ing, or otherwise deforming, after the reinforced nonwoven fabric has been produced. The main requirement for these added individual elements of the starting nonwoven fibrous material is that they also must be capable of movement under the influence of the applied rearranging fluid force. Thus, this invention is not limited to the use of any particular fiber but can take advantage of many properties of different fibers, as well as mixtures of fibers.
The layer of starting nonwoven fibrous material may, if desired, also comprise or consist of, natural vegetable and animal fibers such as cotton, silk, wool, vicuna, mohair', alpaca, flax, ramie, jute, abaca, etc.; synthetic or man-made fibers such as the .cellulosic fibers, notably cuprarnmonium, viscose or regenerated cellulose fibers; cross-linked cellulosic fibers such as Corval and T0pel; cellulose ester fibers such as cellulose acetate (Celanese) and cellulose tri-acetate (Arnel); the saponified cellulose ester fibers such as Fortisan and Fortisan-36; the polyamide fibers such as nylon 6 (polycaprolactam), nylon 66 (hexamethylene diamine-adipic acid), nylon 61-0 (hexamethylene diamine-sebacic acid), nylon l1 (llamino undecanoic acid-Rilsan); protein fibers such as V icara, halogenated hydrocarbon fibers such as Teflon (polytetrailuoroethylene)g hydrocarbon fibers such as polyethylene, polypropylene and polyisobutylene; polyester fibers such as Dacron; vinyl fibers such as Vinyon and saran; dinitrile fibers such as Darvan; nitrile fibers such as Zefran; acrylic fibers such as DyneL Verel, Orlon, Acrilan, Creslan, etc.; mineral fibers such as glass, metal; etc.
When the length of such fibers is less than about l mm. (about 1/2 inch), they are preferably formed into fibrous webs by fluid (liquid or air) deposition techniques and processes. However, when the fibers have lengths greater than about 1/2 inch and up to about 21/2 inches or more, or are in other forms such as rags or waste, other web formation methods such as carding, garnetting, shredding, thrashing, or the like may be used.
The denier of the individual synthetic -bers referred to above is preferably in the range of the approximate thickness ofthe natural fibers mentioned and consequently deniers in the range of from about l to about 3 are pre-- ferred. However, where greater opacity or greater covering power is desired, deniers of down to about 3A, or even about 1/z may be employed. Where desired, deniers of up to about 5.5, 6, 8, 10, l5, or higher, may be used. The minimum and maximum denier are, of course, dictated by the desires or requirements for producing-a particular nonwoven fabric, and by- `the machines and methods for producing the same.
The weight of the fibrous web or layer of starting material may be varied within relatively wide limits depending upon the requirements of the finished product. A single,
preferred as .the reinforcing materials.
l12x12, 10x10, 10x8,8x8,etc.
thin web of bers such as produced by a card, may have a weight of from about 30 to about 150 grains per square yard. Such a thin fibrous web, however, is so fragile that its handling and manipulation is diicult. In the usual case, therefore, from about 3 to about 12 or more of these Webs are combined and processed in the combined form. In instances where products having a greater weight are desired, total web weights of as Y' high as about 2600 or 2800 grains or more per square yard may be processed. Within the more commercial aspects of the present invention, however, web weights of from about 150 grains per square yard to about 1750 grains per square yard are contemplated.
Mixtures of short textile bers and long textile bers may be employed in the preparation of such brous webs -and the particular percentages of each type of ber will vary from to 100% of each liber, depending upon the method of formation selected for preparing the fibrous web, ythe nature of the fabricated material used as reinforcing, the ultimate use of the reinforced nonwoven fabric, and so forth.
The fabricated material used as reinforcing may be selected from a large group of textile materials containing textile strands or yarns including woven fabrics, notably gauze, crinoline, cheesecloth, marquisette, voile, and other relatively open-mesh fabrics, -of a plain, leno, or other weave. Knitted, crochetted, or lace fabrics may be satisfactorily employed. A warp sheet of spaced, substantially parallel threads or yarns may be used. Laminated materials, such as scrim wherein the warp and filling are not interwoven but are merely adheringly laid on one another, usually at right angles to each other but not necessarily so, may also be used.
Open-mesh or loosely-fabricataed textile materials are The degree of openness will depend upon many factors such as the pattern of the apertured element (drum or belt) of the ber rearranging means, the porosity desired in the resulting reinforced nonwoven fabric, lthe required strength and resistance to tear, the -launderability, etc. In the case of gauze fabric, fork example, various degrees of openness of Weave are possible such-as 24 x 20, 22 x 18, 20 x 16,
20 x 12, 18 x 18, 18 x 14, 15 x 15, 14 x 14, 14 x 10, Similar openings are also of use in the case of scrim wherein the warp and filling are not interwoven and in which lower counts such as 6 x 6, 5 x 5, 4 x 4, 3 x 3, etc., are 4readily possible.
The type of ber used in fabricating such materials may be selected from a large group of presently known bers and substantially any one of the previously referred to bers may be employed.
Although the present invention will be described with greater reference to reinforcing fabricated material made from textile strands and yarns spun from staple fibers, the inventive concept is not to be construed as limited thereto. Other forms of textile strands and yarns including monolaments and multiiilaments may be used. The extreme length of such laments, as compared lto staple bers, permits their being used without twist or with very low twist and they may be fabricated into yarn without the spinning operations required for bers.
'I'he liquid which is used to rearrange the bers in `the starting nonwoven material may contain materials for incorporation in the reinforced nonwoven product.
For example, the treating liquid may be an aqueous liquor containing a dye or pigment or an adhesive material, a flame-retardant agent, a mothor mildew-proofing material, a wet-strength agent, an insecticide or germicide, a disinfectant, etc.
'I'he invention will be more fully understood from the following drawings taken in conjunction with the accompanying description:
FIGURES 1 and 2 are diagrammatic showings in elevation,'respectively, of drum-type and belt-type apparatus suitable for making the fabric of the invention;
FIGURE 3 is a fragmentary showing on an enlarged scale of the apertures in the surface of the drum of FIGURE l, which arrangement is similar to the pattern of the apertures inthe surface of the belt of FIGURE 2;
FIGURES 4, 5 and 6 are fragmentary cross-sectional views on an enlarged scale taken, respectively, on the lines 4 4, 5 5 and 6 6 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURES 7, 9 and 11 are fragmentary diagrammatic Ishowings in plan views on an enlarged scale of nonwoven fabrics incorporating, respectively, a woven fabric, a warp sheet of parallel yarns, and a scrim fabric, as reinforcements;
FIGURES 8, l0 and l2 are fragmentary cross-sectional views on the same scale of the fabrics of FIGURES 7, 9 and 11, respectively, taken on the lines 8 8, 10 10 and 12-I2, respectively, and
FIGURE 13 is a photomicrograph on an enlarged scale, approximately 20 X, of a nonwoven fabric incorporating a woven fabric as a reinforcement, made by the apparatus disclosed herein. Y
In the embodiment of the invention shown in the drawings, a typical coherent, reinforced nonwoven fabric 20 is illustrated in FIGURES 7 and 8. It comprises elongated interconnected yarn-like bundles or groups 2l of closely associated and substantially parallelized or aligned Aber segments. The bundles or groups 2l of ber segments are arranged in a definite predetermined pattern forming a nonwoven gauze-like reticular structure wherein interconnected bundles of ber segments extend at angles of about 90 and 180 to one another.
The individual bers are quite closely associated in the -bundles so that the bundles appear tight and substantially strand-like and cross each other at clearly defined junctures 26 to form relatively discrete and square holes or fabric openings 22 between them, somewhat similar to the interstices in an open-mesh or closely woven fabric.
There are a number of occasional random bers 23 which lie outside the main ber bundles 21 and extend in various directions between them. Some of these random bers 23 may combine to form irregularly-located small bundles 24 which extend between the main bundles 21. The ber bundles 21 which come together at a given juncture 26 are interconnected by bers which are common to each of the bundles. These interconnecting fibers are oriented in a plurality of diverse directions generally in the plane of the fabric, bending and crossing one another at each juncture to form diamond-shaped ber areas which resemble highway intersections.
A woven gauze fabric 27 comprising warp threads 28 and filling threads 29 is located within the coherent reinforced nonwoven fabric 20 to strengthen the same. It is to be noted (see FIGURE 8) that the bers of the nonwoven, gauze-like reticular structure in addition to having the configuration of openings, ber segments and junctures previously described, also are intertwined and intermeshed with the textile threads 28 and 29 of the reinforcing gauze fabric 27 and surround the same. The bers of the nonwoven brous material are outermost on both sides of the gauze fabric 27 and thus give to the reinforced nonwoven fabric a soft and gentle hand along with enhanced absorbency. At the same time, the gauze fabric 27, being innermost, contributes strength, resistance to tear, launderability and other properties of a woven fabric without creating any of the undesirable surface characteristics of a woven fabric.
In FIGURE 1, there is diagrammatically disclosed a preferred embodiment of apparatus suitable for rearranging the bers of the starting nonwoven fibrous material and simultaneously intertwining and intermeshing the bers thereof with the textile strands or yarns of a reinforcing fabricated material. A nonwoven fibrous web 30 is Vcarried by a movable conveyor belt 32 from a conventional webforming machine such as a textile card (not shown) and is positioned on a reinforcing fabrias a woven gauze fabric comprising warp threads 33 and filling threads (see FIGURES 4-6).
Fibrous web 3i) and fabricated material 34 are deposited on a surface of a movable, endless, foraminous, ilexible supporting rrember 38 such as a carrier made of an open-mesh plastic, for example a woven nylon or a woven wire belt or screen. Member 3S is trained around a r0- tatable guide roller rotating on a shaft 42 and carries the fibrous web 3u into contact with the periphery of.
a rotatable, apertured fiber-rearranging and fiber-intermeshing drum 44 rotating on main shaft 46. The openings in member 38 are substantially smaller than the apertures in drum 44 so that the fibers of the nonwoven web are confined in the rearranging space or zone defined by member 38 and drum 44, during the rearrangement thereof about the reinforcing strands of the fabricated material 34.
Drum 44 is generally similar to the rotatable, apertured drum disclosed in the above-mentioned Kalwaites patent.
Adjacent conveyor belts 32 and 36, is a third conveyor 4belt 48 which may be used to carry additional materials, such as a second nonwoven lfibrous web into con- -tact with fabricated material 34. Such an arrangement will position a nonwoven fibrous web on both sides of the fabricated material whereby the subsequent rearranging and interrneshing process creates excellent coherence of all layers. The use of this second nonwoven fibrous Web is not necessary since in the ber rearranging process using a single nonwoven fibrous web such as web 30, the fibers are completely rearranged and intcrmeshed with each other and with the strands or yarns of the reinforcing material 34, all about the strands or yarns, as shown in FIGS. 5-8.
The initial contact between drum 44 and fibrous web 30 and fabricated material 34 is approximately at the 10 oclock position on drum 44, as viewed in FIGURE 1. It is noted that such a contact forms a four-layer sandwich in which drum 44 is innermost, brous web 30 is next, fabricated material 34 is next, and foraminous supporting member 38 is outermost. This four-layer sandwich is similar to the sandwich illustrated in FIGURE 4 and moves around the periphery of drum 44 and it iS during selected portions or zones of this peripheral movement that liber rearrangement and intermeshing takes place substantially simultaneously.
Within drum 44 there is positioned a manifold 5) to which a fluid, preferably water, is supplied through conduit 52, under pressure. Nozzles or jets 54 are provided on one face of header and the fluid is projected therethrough under pressure at and through the four-layer sandwich as it is moved in a path corresponding to the periphery of drum 44. As seen in FIGURE ll, the fluid being sprayed through the nozzles 54 is projected forcibly at and through the sandwich in a zone extending from about l0 oclock to about 8 oclock. This zone will be referred to as the fiber rearranging and intermeshing zone and the fluid rearranging principles and operations described in the above-mentioned Kalwaites patent are applicable thereto.
In FIGURE 3, there is illustrated a fragmentary showing of a preferred arrangement of apertures S6 which may be formed in the periphery of drum 44. Such a showing would be obtained by viewing the drum vertically at approximately the l2 oclock position in FIGURE 1. When iiuid is projected through the apertures in the drurn against the above-mentioned four-layer sandwich, the fibers in web 30 are rearranged about the reinforcing strands 33 and 35, and the reinforced nonwoven fabric of the general type illustrated in FIGURE 7 is obtained. Gauze fabric 34 which is in direct contact with fibrous web 3@ is not materially changed by the fiber rearranging process. However, as noted in FIG- URE 8, the fibers of web 3() are rearranged and move about so that they intertwine and intermesh with the threads of gauze fabric 34 and surround the same. Consequently, the finished fabric possesses fibers which are interlocked with the threads of the gauze fabric, whereby smooth and soft faces are presented on both outer surfaces of the gauze. By the time the four-layer sandwich has proceeded past the 8 oclock position of drum 44, iiuid rearrangement and intermeshing of the fibers is completed and the reinforced nonwoven fabric is carried onwardly.
A suction or vacuum box 6l) is provided immediately adjacent the lower periphery of drum 44 in order to facilitate and expedite the removal of the rearranging fluid from the reinforced nonwoven fabric to a desired reduced iiuid content. A conduit 62 is provided leading from the vacuum box 6@ to a conventional suction device (uct shown). As shown in FIGURE l, vacuum box 6b extends from about 7 oclock to about 5 oclock on drum 44. If desired, the vacuum box could be positioned so as to cover a greater or smaller portion of the periphery of the drum. Furthermore, a plurality of vacuum boxes may be positioned outside the drum extending from 8 oclo-ck all the way around to approximately 1 oclock. v
The de-watered, reinforced nonwoven' fabric F proceeds around the periphery of the drum to guide roll 64 rotating on shaft 66 and is then carried by member 38 around guide roll 64 to be positioned on movable conveyor belt 63 which carries reinforced nonwoven fabric F onwardly for further processing as desired.
Supporting member 38 separates from reinforced nonwoven fabric F at the periphery of guide roll 64 and is led downwardly around guide roll 7@ rotating on shaft 72, rearwardly over a vertically adjustable tensioning and tracking guide roll 74- rotating on a shaft 76, and then around a guide roll '78 rotating on a shaft Sti to be returned to guide roll 46 to complete its circuit and to carry additional nonwoven fibrous web starting materials and reinforcing fabricated materials into contact with drum 44. Guide rolls 4t?, 64, l and 78 may be positioned in slidable brackets which are adjustable to assist in the maintenance of the proper tension on supporting member 3S. rl`his is, of course, in addition to the control and the adjustability exercised by the tensioning and tracking guide roll 74.
Flanged guide wheels 82 and 34 are mounted on rotatable shafts 86 and 8S, respectively, and are in rolling, frictional, guiding contact with drum 44 to insure its proper rotation. The drum may be driven by either of the flanged guide wheels 82 or 84, or it may be driven by frictional contact with supporting member 33. In the latter case, any one of the guide rolls, such as guide roll 64, for example, is positively driven by conventional power means (not shown) to bring about the desired movement of supporting member 38 and drum 44.
In FIGURE 2, there is diagrammatically disclosed another preferred embodiment of apparatus suitable for the rearranging and intermeshing of the fibers of the fibrous web with the threads of the reinforcing fabricated material. In this figure, a fibrous web 13d is carried by conveyor belt 132 from a fibrous web formation means such as a conventional textile card (not shown) and is deposited on the surface of movable, endless, foraminous supporting member 13S, similar to member 33. Supporting member 138 is trained around rotatable guide roller 14@ rotating on shaft 142 and brings fibrous web into contact with movable, apertured, fiber rearranging belt 144 which is trained around a guide roll 178 rotating on a shaft 130. Guide rolls 140 and 178 are so `adjustably positioned that the fibrous web 13) enters the nip between these rolls and substantially simultaneously contacts supporting member 133 and belt 144. The apertures in belt 144 may have a size comparable to the apertures in drum 44, but in any event are substantially larger than the openings in member 133.
A supply roll 128 of fabricated material 134 contain- 7 Y ing textile threads, similar to gauze 34, is positioned adjacent conveyor 132 and supplies the reinforcing fabricated material to the nip of guide rolls 140 and 178, whereat contact is made with web 136.
It is again noted that such m arrangement forms a four-layer sandwich in which belt 144 is uppermost, fibrous web 130 is neXt, reinforcing material 134 is next and foraminous supporting member 138 is lowerrnost. This four-layer sandwich moves forwardly or to the right, as viewed in FEGURE 2, and it is during a selected portion of this movement that fiber rearrangement and intermeshing takes place substantially simultaneously.
Within the belt 1,14, there is positioned a manifold 150 to which a iiuid, preferably water, is supplied through a conduit 152 under pressure. Nozzles or jets 154 are provided on the lower face of the header 1S@ and the uid is projected therethrough under pressure at and through the four-layer sandwich as it is moved in a path corresponding to the surface of member 133. This space below the header 151i will be referred to as the fiber rearranging and intermeshing zone and the fiuid rearranging principles and operations are applicable there- The apertures in belt 144 are very similar in arrangement, configuration and size to the apertures formed in the peripheral surface of drum 44 previously described. FIGURE 3 shows a preferred embodiment of apertures similar to those in belt 144 As in the case of the machine of FIG. l, when iiuid yis projected through the apertures in belt 144, with the above-mentioned four-layer sandwich in the fiber rearranging zone, a reinforced nonwoven fabric of the general type illustrated in FIGURE 7 will be obtained.
A suction or vacuum assist in the form of a vacuum box 160 is positioned directly below the upper reach of member 138 and in alignment with the fluid manifold in order to expedite and facilitate the passage of the rearranging uid through the sandwich. A conduit 162 is provided and leads to a conventional suction means (not shown) in order to withdraw air and fluid collected in the suction box 161i.
A rearranged, reinforced nonwoven fabric F' is thus formed and continues on the surface of member 138 to guide roll 164 rotating on shaft 166. As fabric F leaves the periphery of guide roll 164, it is transferred to a conveyor belt 168 which carries it onwardly for further processing, as desired.
Belt 144 is trained around guide roll 170 rotating on shaft 172 and is directed rearwardly, or to the left, as shown in FIGURE 2, and passes tensioning or tracking guide roll 173 rotating on shaft 175 and is returned to contact guide roll 178 to complete its circuit.
Supporting member 138 is trained downwardly and rearwardly around guide roll 16d and moves to the left, as viewed in FIGURE 2, and passes over a vertically adjustable tensioning and tracking guide roll 174 rotating on shaft 176 to be returned to guide roll 146 to complete its circuit. Supporting rolls 182 and 1S4 are provided in order to assist in maintaining the upper reach of supporting member 138 and the sandwich in a level, horizontal configuration.
Belt 144 and supporting member 138 may be driven at the same speed in any desired fashion. One means to accomplish this driving action is shown in FEGURE 2 and comprises a driving belt 171 which is trained around a pulley 1 69 mounted on shaft 172 whereby the guide roll 170 is positively driven. The driving belt 171 is driven from a conventional source of power (not shown).
FIGURE 4 illustrates in cross section the fonr-layer sandwich immediately prior to fiber rearrangement and intermeshing, the reinforcing fabricated material 34 being a gauze fabric containing warp threads 33 and filling threads 35.
Y FIGURES 5 and 6 illustrate the four-rayer Sandwich immediately subsequent to the rearranging and intermesh- Vrearranged nonwoven fabric.
` weave of 30s warp and 40s filling yarns.
web 30 have been rearranged and now are intertwined and intermeshed with the strands 33, 35 of the gauze fabric 34, and surround the same.
FIGURE 7 illustrates a typical reinforced non-woven fabric in which the original nonwoven fibrous web, in rearranged nonwoven form simulating a woven material, is reinforced by a woven gauze fabric. In this reinforced nonwoven fabric, the openings in the gauze and the openings in the rearranged fibrous web are in registry. This, of course, is possible only when the spacing of the gauze openings is identical to a geometric multiple of the spacing of the apertures in the rearranging drum or belt. As seen in FIGURE 8, the rearranged fibers of the starting nonwoven fibrous web are on both sides of the reinforcing gauze fabric and about the individual strands thereof,
FIGURE 9 illustrates a reinforced nonwoven fabric 20 of rearranged fibers simulating a woven fabric, comprising yarn-like bundles of fiber segments 21, fabric openings 22', fiber junctures 26', occasional random fibers 23', etc., wherein the fibrous web is reinforced by a warp sheet 27', the spacing of which is such that the warp threads 28 lie in registry with the fibrous portions of the This reinforced nonwoven fabric possesses far greater strength in the long or machine direction due to the presence of the warp threads. Should the opposite effect be desired, namely, greater strength in the cross direction, such is accomplished by feeding into the rearranging zone a sandwich consisting of a web of nonwoven fibers and filling threads which extend across the width of the nonwoven web. As seen in FiGURE 10, the fibrous web is intermeshed and intertwined with, and surrounds, the warp threads into a coherent reinforced nonwoven fabric. i
FIGURE 11 illustrates a `reinforced nonwoven fabric 20 of rearranged fibers simulating a woven fabric, coniprising yarn-like bundles 21", fabric openings 22", fiber junctures 26, occasional random fibers 23, etc., wherein the fibrous web is reinforced by a fabricated scrim material. As shown, the scrim comprises warp threads 28" which are laid adheringly upon the weft or filling threads 29" at 90 to each other. Novel effects may be obtained by positioning the warp and filling threads of the scrim at other angles than to each other or by positioning the warp and filling threads thereof at angles other than 0 and 90 to the machine direction. One such novel effect Vmay be obtained by positioning the warp and filling threads at angles of 90 to each other but at angles of 45 to the machine direction whereby an unusual criss-cross effect is obtained in the fibrous web openings. FIGURE 12 shows the positioning of the nonwoven fibrous material on both sides of the scrim, with the rearranged fibers surrounding the threads in intermeshing and interengaging relation with each other and with the threads. i
FIGURE 13 is a photomicrograph on an enlarged scale, approximately 20X, clearly showing the rearranged fibers surrounding the threads in intermeshing and interengaging relation with each otherV and with the threads.
The invention will be illustrated in greater detail by the following specific examples. Although these examples may describe in detail some of the more specific features of the invention, they are given primarily for purposes of illustration and the invention in its broader aspects is not to be construed as limited thereto. i
Example I A coherent reinforced nonwoven fabric is formed as follows:
The fibrous web is a loosely assembled 20-pound basis weight paper sheet made from unbeaten, suliite pulp of spruce fibers (4-5 mm.). The supporting fabricated material is 14 X 10 unbleached cotton gauze of a plain The loosely assembled fibrous web and the gauze are brought together as illustrated in the apparatus in FIGURE 1, with the gauze next to the endless foraminous supporting belt and the fibrous web next to the rearranging drum. The lowermost conveyor is rendered inoperative and only one fibrous web is used. The pattern of apertures on the rotatable rearranging drum is 15 x 15 square pattern, 225 apertures per square inch, each aperture being circular and 0.045 inch in diameter. The fiuid used for rearranging the fibers is water.
A reinforced nonwoven fabric is prepared in which there is no registry between the fabric openings in the rearranged fibrous web and the fabric openings in the gauze. 'There is, however, a very definite intertwining and intermeshing of the fibers around the yarns of the gauze, thu-s creating a very clear sheath effect. This reforming of the short fibers around the matrix of the gauze creates a soft hand and feel in the gauze whereby the usual harshness associated with gauze is not present. The resulting fabric is soft and absorbent and is useful for catamenial purposes.
In the following Examples II-XII, the procedures are in Example I with the exceptions indicated.
n Example 1I Fibers of Douglas fir (Coast type, -6 mm. length) are used instead of the spruce bers. The increased fiber length provides for a more desirable reinforced nonwoven fabric in which the wood fibers are more firmly intertwined and intermeshed with each other about and with the yarns of the gauze reinforcing material.
Example III The apparatus illustrated in FIGURE 2 is employed. The resulting reinforced nonwoven fabric made by this apparatus is very similar to that -resulting from the use of the apparatus in FIGURE 1. The apertures in the rearranging belt are also a 15 x 15 square pattern and the principles involved are similar.
Example V The fibrous web is a carded web weighing 200 grains per square yard and comprises viscose rayon fibers having a length of 1% inches and a denier of 11/2 and the supporting fabricated material is a warp sheet of 30s cotton yarns. The warp sheet is approximately 36" wide and contains 540 threads. The resulting reinforced nonwoven fabric shows excellent strength in the long or machine direction. It is illustrated in FIGURES 9 and 10.
.Example VI The procedures set forth in Example V are followed except that the fibrous web comprises a blend of 50% by weight of the viscose rayon fibers used in Example V and 50% by weight of cotton having a staple length of about 1 inch (average). The resulting reinforced nonwoven fabric is soft and absorbent and has excellent hand and drape.
Example VII The fibrous webl comprises 100% by weight of cotton linters (average length about 4-5 mm.). The resulting reinforced nonwoven fabric is soft and absorbent and has excellent hand and drape.
Example VIII A 15 x 15 cotton scrim (30s warp and 40s filling) is used as the supporting fabricated material. The resulting reinforced'nonwoven fabric is soft and absorbent and is illustrated in FIGURES 11 and 12.
Example 1X Both conveyor belts are used and two fibrous webs of,
viscose rayon, 1% inch length, 11/2 denier, each web Weighing 150 grains per square yard, are applied to the gauze. The fibers of each web intertwine and intermesh with each other about and with the yarns of the gauze and a coherent rearranged reinforced nonwoven fabric is obtained. itis soft and absorbent and has a good hand and drape.
Example X The fibrous starting material comprises a wet-formed web of 3%; inch, 1%. denier viscose rayon fibers made on a conventional papermaking machine. The resulting reformed nonwoven fabric is similar to the product of Example I except that it is softer and more lint-free.
Example Xl The fibers used in making the fibrous web are nylon 6, 1A inch in length and 3 denier. rThe resulting product is similar to the product of Example I.
Example XII The starting material is a fibrous web formed by conventional air deposition techniques and comprises 11/8 inches, 11/2 denier viscose rayon fibers. The resulting product is similar to the product of Example I.
Although several specific examples of the inventive concept have been described, the same should not be construed as limited thereby. It is understood that suitable changes, modifications and variations may be made without departing from the spirit `and scope of the invention set forth in the appended claims.
This application is a division of my copending application Serial No. 762,070, led September 19, 1958.
What is claimed is:
1. A reinforced nonwoven fabric having holes therein comprising: a fibrous nonwoven web comprising fibers arranged in interconnected groups of fiber segments, said groups defining holes between them and being interconnected at junctures wherein fibers are oriented in a plurality of diverse directions generally in the plane of the fabric, and a reinforcing fabricated material comprising textile threads positioned interiorly of said fibrous nonwoven web and in the plane thereof, the fibers of said nonwoven web being intertwined and intermeshed with the textile threads, substantially all about the same.
2. A reinforced nonwoven fabric having holes therein comprising: a fibrous nonwoven web comprising fibers arranged in interconnected groups of substantially aligned fiber segments, said groups extending at angles of about and 180 to one another and defining holes between them and being interconnected at junctures wherein fibers vare oriented in a plurality of diverse directions generally in the plane of the fabric, and a reinforcing fabricated material comprising textile threads positioned interiorly of said fibrous nonwoven web and in the plane thereof, the fibers of said nonwoven web being intertwined and intermeshed with the textile threads, substantially all about the same.
3. A reinforced nonwoven fabric having holes therein comprising: a fibrous nonwoven web comprising fibers arranged in interconnected groups of fiber segments, said groups defining holes between them and being interconnected at junctures wherein fibers are oriented in a plurality of diverse directions generally in the plane of the fabric, and a reinforcing open-woven material comprising textile threads defining openings positioned interiorly of said fibrous nonwoven web and in the plane thereof, the fibers of said nonwoven web being intertwined and intermeshed with the textile threads, substantially all about the same, and said holes in the fibrous 1 1 nonwoven web coinciding substantially with the openings of said open-woven material.
4. A reinforced nonwoven fabric having holes therein comprising: a fibrous nonwoven web comprising fibers arranged in interconnected groups of fiber segments, said groups defining holes between them and being interconnected at junctures wherein fibers are oriented in a plurality of diverse directions generally in the plane of the fabric, and a reinforcing woven gauze material comprising textile threads positioned interiorly of said fibrous nonwoven web and n the plane thereof, the fibers of said nonwoven web being intertwined and intermeshed with the textile threads, substantially all about the same.
5. A reinforced nonwoven fabric having holes therein comprising: a brous nonwoven web comprising fibers arranged in interconnected groups of fiber segments, said groups defining holes between them and being interconnected at junctures wherein bers are oriented in a plurality of diverse directions generally in the plane of the fabric, and a reinforcing warp sheet comprising textile threads positioned interiorly of said fibrous nonwoven web and in the plane thereof, the fibers of said nonwoven web being intertwined and intermeshed with the textile threads, substantially all about the same.
12 6. A reinforced nonwoven fabric having holes therein comprising: a fibrous nonwoven web comprising fibers arranged in interconnected groups-of fiber segments, said groups defining holes between them and being interconnected at junctures wherein fibers are oriented in a plurality of diverse directions generally in the plane of the fabric, and a reinforcing scrirn material comprising textile threads positioned interiorly of said fibrous nonwoven web and in the plane thereof, the bers of said nonwoven web being intertwined and intermeshed with the textile threads, substantially all about the same.
References Cited in the le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS