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Publication numberUS3419456 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 31, 1968
Filing dateMar 25, 1964
Priority dateMar 25, 1964
Publication numberUS 3419456 A, US 3419456A, US-A-3419456, US3419456 A, US3419456A
InventorsAlvan H Tenney
Original AssigneeUnion Carbide Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Molded fabric
US 3419456 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

A. H. TENNEY MOLDED FABRIC Dec. 31, 1968 Sheet Filed March 25, 1964 INVENTOR. ALVAN H. TENNEY A TTORNEV A. H. TENNEY MOLDED FABRIC Dec. 31, 1968 Sheet 2 of 5.

Filed March 25, 1964 INVENTOR. ALVAN H.TENNEY A T TORNEV Dec. 31, 1968 A. H. TENNEY 3,419,456

MOLDED FABRIC Filed March 25, 1964 INVENTOR. ALVAN H. TENNEY WWI/4M A 7 TORNE V United States Patent Cflfice Patented Dec. 31, 1968 ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A molded flexible fabric including interlaced strands interlocked by pivotal columns at overlapping cross points.

This application is a continuation-in-part of US. application Ser. No. 43,085, filed July 15, 1960, now abandoned.

This invention relates to fabric articles having, for example, woven or knit structural characteristics and to processes and apparatus for their preparation. More particularly, this invention relates to an article whose resistance to deformation closely resembles that of woven or knit fabrics, the configuration of which is preferably formed, at least in part, of plastic material.

One of the major expenses in the production of fabrics as produced today resides in the manufacture of the fiber, spinning of the fiber into yarns and weaving or knitting of the yarn into fabrics. Heretofore, it has been proposed to eliminate such costs in the production of fabrics by molding, or by other means of shaping, of plastic materials into a fabric structure, but such techniques have not proven successful since the products have failed to exhibit the properties of fabrics. Such products typically are devoid of the property to deform in the bias direction with a minimum amount of force necessary to restore the original shape. Moreover, the molded products typically possess undesirable rigidity and stiffness which, heretofore, was eliminated by the utilization of elastomeric plastic material. However, the use of elastomeric materials result in a product which is stretchable in every direction whereas present day textiles, exhibit limited stretchability and typically in only one direction unless crimping and curling of the textile fibers is effected.

The previous techniques utilized to form fabrics by molding plastics have resulted in products which are typically devoid of the flexibility and hand of fabrics obtained from woven or knitted fibers. Indeed because the strands which make up the molded fabric are rigidly bonded to each other, the resulting product can only be exceedingly stiff and devoid of the desired flexibility.

There is provided herein a molded textile or fabric which possesses the hand, flexibility, porosity, appearance, etc. of fabrics such as obtained from the weaving or knitting of fibers or yarn. Indeed, the fabric of this invention possesses maximum resistance to and restoring force after deformation in the general direction of the fabrics strand orientation, and minimum resistance to a restoring force after deformation in the bias direction of the fabrics strand orientation. In addition, there are described herein processes and apparatus for producing moldedfabrics which possess woven or knitted fabric configuration without the need of first forming a fiber and Weaving the fiber to that configuration.

The molded fabric of this invention comprises a plurality of overlapping strands which are interlocked by a plurality of columns thereby fusing at least two of said strands to each other by a column. The column serves also the function of separating the strands from direct contact with each other at the point at which the column contacts each of the strands. A substantial portion of the strands which make up the fabric structure are interjoined through columns at points at which they overlap, yet are separated from each other by columns to prevent total contact.

The columns represent spacers between the strands which make up the body of the fabric and which otherwise represent the yarn or fibers of the usual fabric material presently employed. In the usual case, the column does not have a cross-sectional area, determined normal to the axis of the column extending from strand to strand, greater than the cross-sectional area of the strand, determined normal to the longest actual axis of said strand.,

The column serves the function of providing limited extensibility or deformation to the fabric, substantially in the bias direction, though not exclusively in the bias direction. In this respect, the molded fabrics of this invention differ from the fabrics as made by weaving or knitting of fibers. Thus the column acts as a tortional pivot for the strands attached to it. Each column allows for movement of the strands in the direction of an applied force yet limits the degree of movement, by its length and by the degree of its elasticity and usually to substantially the same extent as the usual fabrics are limited by the woven or knitted structure. In addition to this, by use of columns for separation of the strands from each other, it is possible to mold from a plastic structure which possesses not only the appearance of a fabric, but also most of the desirable physical properties of the conventional woven or knitted fabrics.

For the purposes of this invention, the configuration of the article of this invention will be generally discussed in terms of warp and weft fibers, it being understood that such terminology also envisions the intertwined arrangement of knit fabrics.

For the purposes of this invention also, the terms formable or formed as used herein indicate molded, extruded and the like.

In the configuration of this invention, the columns can wobble, twist and bend. As a consequence, unlike other bonded molded fabrics, the warp and Weft strands will not be rigidly joined or fused at their intersections. Hence, even without the re-entrant condition required to separate the strands of Woven or knit fabrics, the synthetic fabric of this invention will possess flexibility and deformation characteristics approaching that of woven materials. That is to say, the configuration of this invention will exhibit maximum resistance to and maximum restoring force after deformation in the general direction of strand orientation and minimum resistance or minimum restoring force in the bias direction. Resistance to deformation in the bias direction will be exerted only because of the stress applied to the columns when the interstitial spaces of the fabric are changed from square to rhomboid shaped.

The lengths of the columns are not narrowly critical. Naturally the longer the lengths the greater the flexibility but for practicality, the length of the columns should preferably range from one to several times their transverse dimensions. In general, the cross-section of the columns should be the same as the projection of the crossing area of the warp and weft fibers on the principal plane of the fabric. However, it is to be understood that the crosssection of the columns may be larger than the cross-section of the weft and warp fibers, as circumstances warrant.

The formed articles of this invention may be prepared by a variety of means, the use of embossing or molding in situ being preferred. Most textile configurations produced on a loom can be simulated employing the molding in situ processes. For the purposes of this invention, the only condition necessary for moldability is that the stranded fabric configuration be one in which the yarns can be separated at their crossings by columns, in the manner described above.

The configuration of this invention contains no reentrant portions when approached from either side in a direction perpendicular to the principal plane of the configuration. As a consequence, mating open cavity molds can be employed, which will completely enclose the structure form of this invention. The process then consists simply of introducing the plastic material into the interlaced cavities, allowing the plastic to solidify and then removing the mold. The latter may be accomplished simply by opposite motion in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the configuration. In this regard, simultaneous separation can be effected either between an upper and lower half of the mold or between the mold content and either half of the mold.

Generally speaking, the material capable of forming the configuration of this invention may comprise any material which can be converted into a plastic state. Exemplary of such moldable materials are condensation and addition (e.g., vinyl and polyolefinic) thermoplastic resins, thermosetting resins and plastically deformable metals. After the solidification r coalescence of the mold content and the removal of the mold, the anisotropic modular configuration of this invention is formed.

If the columnar cavities are only partially filled while the weft and warp cavities are completely filled no harm results since a structure will then result more nearly identical to that of woven or knit goods since at many crossings there will be no columns between the warp and weft strands.

In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is an isometric view of a configuration in accordance with the present invention;

FIGURE 2 is a diagrammatic top plan view of the configuration of FIGURE 1;

FIGURE 3 is a vertical mold section indicating the configuration of the present invention substantially as shown on the line AA, BB, CC and DD respectively of FIG- URES 1 and 2;

FIGURE 4 is a vertical mold section indicating the configuration of the present invention substantially as shown on the line FF of FIGURE 2.

FIGURE 5 is a mold section indicating the configuration of the present invention substantially as shown on the line GG and HH of FIGURE 3; and

FIGURE 6 is a vertical mold section indicating the configuration of the present invention substantially as shown on the line KK and LL of FIGURE 2.

In FIGURE 1, there is shown an isometric view of the article or fabric of this invention resembling or simulating a conventional woven fabric. Thus, if the simulated Warp filaments are shown at 1, then the simulated weft filaments will be those shown at 2. These strands cross at zones 3.

In the practice of this invention, a column 3a will be disposed between the strands 1 and 2 at the zones 3. Hence, the crossing strands are not rigidly joined to each other as is generally the case with prior art bonded nonwoven molded fabrics.

FIGURE 2 shows a plan top view of the fabric of FIG- URE 1.

In FIGURE 3, a vertical mold section is depicted through the lines AA, BB, CC, and DD of FIGURES 1 and 2. As shown in these figures the cavity disposed within the mold comprises sections 7 for the warp strands, sections 8 for the transverse weft strands and sections 9 for the columns. The designations Warp and weft are for convenience only and hence can be reversed. Moreover, the designations warp and weft are, as aforementioned, here applicable to any textile configuration, i.e. woven or knit. The mold section of this figure also indicates the lines GG and HH' which are further represented in FIGURE 5.

The mold section, as represented in FIGURE 3 and FIGURE 4, is divisible along the line 6 into top and lower half sections 4 and 5. Hence, the preformed cavity in each of sections 4 and 5 will represent half of the finished configuration, i.e. they are mating halves to each other. As a consequence, after removing the mold sections, a solidified plastic such as polyvinyl chloride will possess the configuration of this invention.

FIGURE 4 represents the vertical mold section seen through the line FF of FIGURE 2, defining the cavities 10. As explained previously, the top and bottom mold sections 4 and 5 are so designed that either or both can be separated from the finished solidified configuration.

FIGURE 5 represents a mold section seen through the lines GG and HH' of FIGURES 1 and 2. These figures also indicate the cavity 11 at the lines GG and HH.

FIGURE 6 represents another vertical mold section seen through the lines KK and LL of FIGURE 2. The cavities '8 and columns 9 are also represented in this figure. Again the mold section is revealed as being divided in top and lower half sections 4 and 5.

FIGURE 1 through FIGURE 6 represent the preparation of the configuration of this invention using a cavity mold. This method of preparation has the advantage of enabling the skilled worker to go directly i.e. in one step, from a liquid melt or a fluid plastic to a structure which resembles woven fabrics. In other words, this process is preferred because it enables one to go directly from a typically amorphous plastic to a formed non-woven structure having woven characteristics.

However, it is to be understood that the textile-fabric like article of this invention can be prepared by means other than by the use of cavity molds. Similarly, while the configuration of the article of this invention has employed the term crossings as it relates to warp and weft," i.e. interlaced strands, it is also within the scope of this invention to form the article by separating parallel or nontransverse strands by the columns. In this case the columns may not be then disposed at the crossing areas since such may not be present, but would instead be disposed at spaced intervals.

What is claimed is:

1. A molded flexible plastic fabric comprising a plurality of interlaced strands Which are spaced apart and interlocked by pivotal columns interconnecting said strands to each other.

2. The fabric of claim 1 having a woven configuration.

3. The fabric of claim 1 having a knit configuration.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,537,323 2/1951 Wurzburger 161-57 2,434,532 1/ 1948 Wurzburger 16l-57 2,415,961 2/1947 Nast.

2,426,651 9/ 1947 Stacy.

1,550,636 8/1925 Robinson 16135 X 2,811,029 10/ 1957 Conner 287 X 2,148,380 2/ 1939 Schueler.

2,556,590 6/ 1951 Long.

2,919,467 1/ 1960 Mercer.

3,069,796 12/ 1962 Ruter.

ROBERT F. BURNETT, Primary Examiner.

W. A. POWELL, Assistant Examiner.

U.S. Cl. X.R.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1550636 *Nov 2, 1922Aug 18, 1925Robinson George HunterMethod of forming rubber mats
US2148380 *Apr 2, 1937Feb 21, 1939Continental Steel CorpWoven wire fencing
US2415961 *Sep 22, 1944Feb 18, 1947Nast LeoMold for producing shapes of plastic material
US2426651 *Mar 4, 1946Sep 2, 1947French Oil Mill MachineryInjection molding
US2434532 *Sep 27, 1944Jan 13, 1948Paul D WurzburgerImitation fabric
US2537323 *Dec 4, 1947Jan 9, 1951Paul D WurzburgerUnwoven fabric
US2556590 *Mar 28, 1949Jun 12, 1951Long Harry GMolded plastic basket
US2811029 *Sep 10, 1954Oct 29, 1957Patrick E ConnerNon-run barrier for hosiery
US2919467 *Oct 19, 1956Jan 5, 1960Plastic Textile Access LtdProduction of net-like structures
US3069796 *Nov 13, 1958Dec 25, 1962Rudolf G RuterCamouflage material
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3867242 *Dec 26, 1973Feb 18, 1975Quick Service TextilesSimulated woven fabrics
US8070903Mar 23, 2007Dec 6, 2011John E MeschterMolded fabric and methods of manufacture
U.S. Classification442/205, 425/233, 264/325, 425/441, 156/242, 156/500, 442/313
International ClassificationB29C33/00, D04H13/00, B29D28/00
Cooperative ClassificationB29D28/00, D04H13/00, B29C33/00
European ClassificationB29C33/00, B29D28/00, D04H13/00