US 3211159 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 12, 1965 R w, GOBLE 3,211,159
ULTRASONIC METHOD FOR TREATING NATURAL AND SYNTHETIC FIBERS Filed April 30, 1962 HIHIIHHHIIIHIHIIHIIHIHIIIH/5Z mi fie. 70. n 64 '/||||IIIIHHIHIIIHHHIHHHHIIIH INVENTOR. 20/7 AAL PH 14 60545 j /b. BY 95%? QMM gsw fl/b W A'TTORNEYS United States Patent 3,211,159 ULTRASONIC METHOD FOR TREATING NATURAL AND SYNTHETIC FIBERS Ralph W. Goble, Boulder, Colo., assignor to Engineering & Development Company of Colorado, Boulder,
Colo., a corporation of Colorado Filed Apr. 30, 1962, Ser. No. 190,924 7 Claims. (Cl. 132-7) This invention relates to methods of treating natural and synthetic fibers with ultrasonic energy and apparatus for carrying out such processes. More particularly, this invention is directed to methods producing a predetermined set in natural or synthetic fibers.
Ultrasonics is a general term referring to the generation, detection, and/or utilization of vibratory mechanical energy, usually but not necessarily beyond the audible range.
The treatment of natural and synthetic fibers to produce, alter or remove a set therein has been the subject of much prior art work particularly in the field of treating human hair and other natural fibers. Use has been made of chemical treating agents with and without heat to either produce a set or to remove an existing set, i.e. straightening curly hair. Much of the existing methods are slow,
laborious, not too effective and the reagents used may damage the fibers being treated.
It is therefore, an important object of the present invention to provide a novel method of treating natural and synthetic fibers which avoids one or more of the disadvantages of prior methods and which produces more lasting results selectively.
. It is a further object of the present invention to'provide a novel method of treating natural and synthetic fibers which requires a minimum of time, needs no heat or chemical treating agents and provides positive results.
In accordance with the present invention the method of treating natural and synthetic fibers with ultrasonic energy comprises the steps of arranging and forceably restraining the fibers in a predetermined configuration,
be it curved or straight, applying a coupling media to the fibers and coupling ultrasonic energy to the fibers via the transducer material about which fibers are shown arranged in a circular configuration;
FIGURE 2 is a cross sectional view along line 22 of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a view in elevation of a transducer incorporated in a comb to effect the straightening of fibers;
FIGURE 4 is an elevational view of another trans ducer arrangement wherein hollow tube of transducer material is inserted within a perforated tube about which fibers are wound;
FIGURE 5 is a view in elevation of another transducer arrangement utilizing a horn configuration to direct a longitudinal energy wave in a radial direction;
FIGURE 6 is an elevational view of another transducer arrangement useful in straightening fibers;
FIGURE 7 is an elevational view of still another transducer arrangement useful in straightening fibers;
FIGURE 8 is a view in elevation of another transducer arrangement according to the invention using an outboard driver;
FIGURE 9 is a view in elevation of another transducer "ice arrangement according to the invention embodying a modulated jet stream;
FIGURE 10 is an elevational view of another transducer arrangement according to the invention utilizing an ultrasonic bath, and,
FIGURE 11 is a view in elevation of a transducer arrangement according to the present invention in the form of a brush useful in straightening fibers.
It has been found that natural and synthetic fibers when arranged and restrained in a particular configuration and while so restrained subjected to ultrasonic energy will remain in the restrained configuration after the restraining force is removed.
More specifically the method and apparatus of this invention has been found to be particularly useful in the curling and decurling of human hair, curling and straightening of other animal fibers as well as vegetable and synthetic fibers.
Referring to the drawings, in FIGURE 1 there is shown a tube 20 of transducer material, such as barium titanate with or without additives and the like, driven by an ultrasonic generator 22. As is known a transducer of this configuration will vibrate in the radial mode as a function of the frequency of the output of the generator. Strands of the fiber 24 to be treated are wound around the transducer and restrained in the wound condition by suitable means, not shown. A coupling medium .is applied to the fibers to provide an efiicient energy transfer from the transducer to the fibers. The coupling medium may be selected from a number of materials; however, water among others has been found to work quite well. The coupling media may also contain dyes, bleaches and/or other fiber treating agents for concurrent action upon the fibers. A high frequency alternating current is fed to transducer 20 from generator 22, where it is converted into mechanical energy and coupled to the fibers 24 through a coupling media. It is found that after the application of energy for a short period of time, the fibers will remain in the configuration in which they were wound on the transducer substantially indefinitely. This configuration will be retained even though the fibers are subsequently washed, bleached or subjected to other similar treatment.
The exact manner in which the process of the present invention functions is not completely understood, although it is believed that when the fibers are subjected to the ultrasonic vibrations it is believed to alter the molecular structure thereof to provide a permanent set to the configuration in which the fibers are found when subjected to the ultrasonic energy. When human hair is wound and restrained about a transducer, as at 20, a coupling media applied thereto and the hair is subjected to ultrasonic energy, a permanent set or Wave is imparted thereto which practically defies removal except when again subjected to ultrasonic energy.
FIGURE 3 illustrates a comb 26 having a bore 28 receiving a transducer 20. When the transducer is driven by an ultrasonic signal and fibers with coupling media are passed through teeth 30 of the comb, the fibers will assume the configuration that had at the time of passing through the teeth 30.
FIGURE 4 shows a spool 32, which may be perforated as at 34, about which fibers may be wound and restrained, which spool is adapted to receive transducer 20. Fibers, such as human hair, are wound about several of these spools, coupling media applied to the fibers and in turn, transducer is introduced into the spools and energized from a generator. The use of spools 32 permits the use of but a single transducer 20) and driver 22 to service a number of separate fiber treating operations as would be found in applying a permanent wave to a ladys hair.
FIGURE 5 shows a different manner of coupling ultrasonic energy from a transducer 20a, through a bar 36 vibrating in a longitudinal mode to fibers 24 wound about the bar. At spaced intervals along bar 36 are provided a series of circumferential exponential horn shaped ribs 38. The horns of ribs 38 operate in a shear mode and serve to eifect a transfer of ultrasonic energy from transducer 20a via a plastic material 40 positioned between ribs 38 to fibers 24.
FIGURE 6 illustrates another arrangement in which a plate 42 is provided with a series of spaced parallel vanes 44. A transducer 20c is attached to the plate to couple ultrasonic energy thereto and to vanes 44. Fibers carrying a coupling media are passed between vanes 44 and assume the configuration held during such passage.
FIGURE 7 illustrates a transducer 20d mounted for rotation on shaft 46 drive from a gear 48. A cylindrical brush 50 is mounted for rotation on shaft 52 spaced from and parallel to shaft 46. Shafts 46 and 52 may rotate in the same direction or different directions, as shown, and shaft 52 may be driven from a gear 54 which may mesh with gear 48. Transducer 2011 is driven from an ultrasonic generator and fibers carrying a coupling media are passed between the transducer 20d and brush 50. The fibers will retain the configuration held when passing over transducer 20d.
FIGURE 8 illustrates fibers 24 carrying a coupling media wound about a solid bar 56 which is driven ultrasonically by transducer 20e.
FIGURE 9 illustrates a similar arrangement but where in the ultrasonic energy is coupled to bar 56 and fiber 24 via a stream of liquid coupling media, such as water, modulated by a transducer 20f, issuing from a nozzle 58.
FIGURE illustrates a bath 60 of coupling media driven by an ultrasonic transducer and through which fibers are passed and subjected to ultrasonic energy.
FIGURE 11 illustrates an ultrasonic transducer 20h in the form of a brush with bristles 62 attached to the surface and an attached handle 64. The arrangement of FIGURE 11 as well as those of FIGURES 3, 6, 7 and 10 are particularly useful in the straightening of fibers.
The frequency of the ultrasonic energy useful in the treatment of fibers according to the present invention does not appear to be critical; however, frequencies above the audible range appear to be most effective. The frequencies most suited to a particular application are determined experimentally and will depend on the size and quality of the fiber treated. The power required will also depend on the size and quality of the fibers and the efficiency of the coupling media.
Naturally straight human hair wound and restrained around a solid bar and dampened with water was subjected to ultrasonic energy of about 20 kilocycles at a power input of about 100 watts. After a short exposure, the power was turned off and the hair removed from the bar. The hair had assumed a permanent set in the configuration as wound and repeated washing, crushing and drying failed to remove or alter the set materially. Other fibers, such as wool, cotton, linen, glass, and polyesters including polyamides, polyethylenes, polypropylenes, polystyrenes, vinyls, some fluorocarbons and polycarbonates, have been similarly treated with satisfactory results. T 0 remove a previously existing set, the fiber is subjected to ultrasonic energy while being restrained in a straightened configuration.
While there have been described what at present are considered to be the preferred embodiments of this invention, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made therein without departing from the invention. It is claimed, therefore, in the appended claims to cover all such changes and modifications which fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. The method of treating natural and synthetic fibers to produce a substantially permanent set therein of predetermined configuration comprising the steps of forming the fibers into a predetermined configuration about an ultrasonic transducer, restraining the fibers in said configuration, applying a coupling media to the fibers and subjecting the fibers to ultrasonic energy from said transducer via the coupling medium while in the restrained configuration.
2. The method of claim 1, including the step of passing the fibers between a plurality of teeth and the like energized by ultrasonic energy.
3. The method according to claim 1, wherein the fibers are wound about a solid core having a plurality of exponential horn shaped ribs spaced longitudially along the surface thereof and which core is driven in a longitudinal direction by means of an ultrasonic energized transducer coupled thereto and to the fibers.
4. The method according to claim 1, wherein the fibers are Wound about a solid core including the step of impinging a water jet on the fibers, which jet is modulated by ultrasonic energy.
5. The method according to claim 4, wherein the water includes a fiber treating agent.
6. The method according to claim 1, wherein the fibers are wound about a spool and includes tightly fitting the ultrasonic transducer within said spool to transmit ultrasonic energy thereto and to the fibers closely wound thereabout.
7. The method of treating natural and synthetic fibers to produce a substantially permanent set therein of predetermined configuration comprising the steps of forming the fibers into a predetermined configuration about an ultrasonic transducer, restraining the fibers in said configuration, applying a coupling medium to the fibers and subjecting the fibers to ultrasonic energy from said transducer via the coupling medium and terminating the application of ultrasonic energy thereto while the fibers are so constrained.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,558,066 6/51 Wedler 26--18.5 2,943,377 7/60 Freiberger 2872 FOREIGN PATENTS 587,214 4/47 Great Britain.
RICHARD A. GAUDET, Primary Examiner.
LOUIS J. DEMBO, Examiner.