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Publication numberUS3538564 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 10, 1970
Filing dateApr 12, 1968
Priority dateApr 12, 1968
Also published asDE1917848A1, DE1917848B2, DE1917848C3
Publication numberUS 3538564 A, US 3538564A, US-A-3538564, US3538564 A, US3538564A
InventorsHillas Kenneth M, Skoler George A
Original AssigneeUnion Carbide Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method of making a nonwoven fabric
US 3538564 A
Abstract  available in
Images(5)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

.S Sheets-Sheet 1 N MMR v 5 N" www Nov. 10, 1970 G. A. SKOLER ET AL METHOD oF MAKING A NoNwovEN FABRIC y Filed April 12,' 1968 NOV. lo, 197@ G, A, SKQLER ETAL. 3,3864

METHOD 0F MAKING A NONWOVEN FABRIC 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed April l2, 1968 AVM.

ATTORNEY Nov. l0?, 197D G. A. sKoLER IEl* AL 3,538,564

METHOD OF MAKING A NONWOVEN FABRIC 5 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed April l2, 1968 mwN/URS GEORGE A. sKoLER e. BY vKl-:NmiTl-a M. H|LLAs ATTORNEY 5 Sheets-Sheet 4.

i N VIjN 'l )IQ S GEORGE A. SKOLER KENNETH M. HILLAS ATTORNEY OV., l, 1970 A SKOLER ETAL METHOD OF MAKING A NONWOVENFABRIC Filed April l2, 1968 U l Il -Y l 2 A G Wl L d YAM? d rfi L NOV. 10, 1970 G, A, SKQLER EVAL 3,538,5@4

METHOD OF MAKING A NONWOVEN FABRIC I5 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed April l2, 1968 FIG. /4

INVENTORS GEORGE A. SKOLER Su 3,538,564 METHOD OF MAKING A NONWOVEN FABRIC George A. Skoler, White Plains, N.Y., and Kenneth M.

Hillas, Boonton, NJ., assignors to Union Carbide Corporation, New York, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed Apr. 12, 1968, Ser. No. 720,799 Int. Cl. D04h 18/00 U.S. Cl. 28-72.2 37 Claims ABSTRACT F THE DISCLOSURE Coherent nonwoven textiles having uniform thickness, appearance, and physical properties, and having an appearance closely resembling woven or knitted textiles of similar material and weight can be made by cross-laying strands of yarn or tow between two parallel rows of restraining means to form a web or sheet, if also warplaying yarn or tow on one or both sides of such web or sheet, and mechanically interlocking, as by needle punching, the fibers of the web or sheet while the cross-laid strands are still restrained on the restraining means. Stripes, plaids, checks, and other effects are obtainable, with smooth or lofted surface.

This invention relates to nonwoven coherent textiles and to improved methods of manufacturing such textiles.

Commercially used methods of making nonwoven textiles comprise, apart from the time-honored felting methods, the laying down on a support of a loose mass of staple fibers, by either mechanical means (for example, carding and garnetting) or air-laying, and then bonding the loose mass by one or more of heat, pressure, adhesive, and needle punching. It 'has also been proposed (Pat. 2,908,064, H. G. Lauterbach et al.) to deposit on a support continuous filaments either by cross laying or randomly, and then needle punching to produce a thick mechanically interlocked material. This method, which apparently does not break many fibers during the needle punching, also does not control or stabilize the continuous filaments during needle punching. It thus tends to produce a material which has non-uniform density and structure; it is not believed to be in commercial use. It has also been known to spread continuous filament tow into thin web-like sheets and then cross-lap and bond the sheets by conventional means. Products of this type are employed as pillow stuing and the like.

The potentials of nonwoven fabrics have heretofore been limited by the methods available to produce them. The conventional methods for making nonwoven fabrics, such as carding, garnetting, and air-laying of staple fibers, are capable of producing fabrics at a lower cost than weaving and knitting but a direct comparison is impossible because of the significant differences which have existed between the nonwoven fabrics and woven or knitted fabrics. Typical differences (and deficiencies of nonwovens when competing with woven or knitted fabrics) have included hand and drape (nonwovens generally being boardy or rubbery) tensile and tear strengths, appearance, dimensional stability and stretchability. Nonwovens have found their own markets and generally do not compete with woven and knitted fabrics. It has been found that United States Patent O Fice the price advantage of the nonwoven methods has readily disappeared when one attempted to eliminate any one of these deficiencies.

Based on fabric structure only, absent elastic yarns, most conventionally woven and finished fabrics can be stretched in the direction bias to the crossing warp and weft (fill) yarns but not in the direction of the warp or weft yarns. Knitted fabrics can be made to stretch in all directions, or in one direction. By the terms stretch and Stretchable it is meant that the fabric can be pulled in a direction to significantly elongate the dimension of the fabric in that direction and when the pulling action is removed, the fabric can recover essentially its original shape, i.e., retract to essentially its original length in the pulled direction. This stretch characteristic is very important in certain use areas. Stretchable fabrics are employed in clothing where bending and twisting of the body requires that the fabric possess the ability to yield in response to such action without permanent deformation.

High loft, low density nonwoven fabrics of the type made by resin bonding air-layed, garnetted, carded or opened tow webs all have limited stretch capabilities. Since these products are formed by bonding the fibers at their points of intersection, they can be stretched only to a point which equals the cumulative distance the individual fibers can be disarranged within the structure without rupturing the bonded intersections. More dense nonwoven materials such as those which have been saturated with binder or which have been needle punched from unrestrained unpatterned strands in the conventional manner will possess very little capacity for stretch due to the closely interspaced points of rfiber intersection and bonding. Short fiber length can also contribute to limited stretch in these materials.

An object of this invention is to provide a new process for making nonwoven textiles which can be operated at high production rates to produce a reliably uniform new product which, in respect to dimensions and such properties as texture, hand, drape, feel, physical strength and appearance at least closely approach those of woven and knitted textiles of the same dimensions and weight. A further object of this invention is to provide a process capable of producing nonwoven fabrics and materials with stretch characteristics ranging from the relatively high degree of stretch in a direction bias to the crossing yarns as found in woven fabrics to a total absence of stretch desired for carpeting and the like, the latter being achieved without the boardiness characteristic of conventional saturated nonwoven materials.

An essentialv feature of the method of the invention is the needle punching of a continuous sheet of cross-laid layers of strands of yarn or tow or the like while this sheet is held under restraint at its edges by restraining devices such as opposed rows of tenterhooks, pins, clamps or the like. This needle punching of the edge restrained yarn or tow bonds it into a coherent textile material. By cross-laid is meant yarn or two laid laterally of the row of restraining means, e.g., tenterhooks, and hence laterally of the machine direction. The machine direction is the direction of movement of the sheet of crosslaid yarn or tow through the needle punching apparatus or machine. The rows of restraining means are parallel to each other and to the machine direction. The angle of the strands or yarn of two or the like with the machine direction may range from through 90. The included angle of the crossing strands, which angle is bisected by a line perpendicular to the machine direction, should be at least about and may range as high as 120, though angles of 90 or less are usually preferred. While only two layers of cross-laid material are necessary, additional cross-laid layers can be added.

Yarn or tow can also be laid in the warp or machine direction on at least one side of the cross-laid material, either prior to any needle punching or between repeated needle punchings. Additionally yarn, tow or the like can be laid in the weft direction, with or without restraint, on at least one side of the cross-laid material, again either prior to any needle punching or between repeated needle punchings. For convenience, the term warp laid is used herein to designate yarn, tow or the like laid in a direction generally parallel to the rows of restraining means such as tenterhooks, that is, in the machine direction, by analogy to the warp in a woven fabric. By similar analogy weft laid as used herein, is used to designate material laid in a direction across the warp direction.

Our invention employs various filamentary structures, including yarns and tow. As used herein the term yarn includes continuous filament yarn and staple-spun yarn. The filament yarn is made from a plurality of continuous synthetic filaments, organic or inorganic, which are arranged in a bundle of strands or filaments, twisted or nntwisted, ranging in total weight from one to about 5,000 denier, each filament in the yarn being up to about 100 denier. Tow is intended to mean a similarly described material in which the bundles of continuous filaments, usually substantially untwisted, are of a weight upwards of 5,000 denier. Tow is thus distinguished from yarn on the basis of total denier, denier being the weight in grams of 9,000 meters of yarn or tow. There is no accepted denier to delineate yarn from tow and it will be appreciated therefore that the distinguishing criteria of 5,000 denier is an arbitrary one, used herein for convenience in describing the invention. Both the continuous filament yarn and the tow can consist of either crimped or uncrimped filaments, however, the crimped filaments are more readily needled and are hence preferred for most purposes.

Staple-spun yarn is a continuous twisted strand of textile .fibers consisting of an assemblage of relatively short, preferably crimped fibers. Such yarns may he made by cutting continuous synthetic filaments to a predetermined length, with or without crimping prior to cutting, and then forming the resulting staple fibers into a continuous length of yarn Via conventional textile yarn-forming operations. Such yarns may also be made from natural fibers spun into continuous strands of yarn. The size of such staple-spun yarns can vary from rather coarse, bulky materials of approximately one cotton count (cc., i.e., the number of 840 yard hanks per pound) or lower, up to a fineness of approximately 40 cotton count or higher.

Synthetic fibers which may be used to make continuous filament yarn, tow or the like include glass and graphite fibers and those made from rayon, cellulose acetate, cellulose triacetate, polyethylene, polypropylene, polybutadiene, isotatic polystyrene, polyvinylchloride, vinyl chloride-vinylidene chloride copolymers, vinyl chloride-vinyl acetate copolymers, vinyl chloride-acrylonitrile copolymers, vinyl chloride-vinyl acetate-acrylonitrile copolymers, polyacrylonitrile, nylon (such as polyhexamethylene-adipamide and poly-epsiloncaprolactam), polyesters (such as polyethyleneterephthalate, poly-1,4-cyclohexy1- eneterephthalate), polyurethanes, polyvinyl alcohol, vinyl acetate-vinyl alcohol-vinyl chloride copolymers, 1,4-butadiene-acrylonitrile copolymers, spandex elastomeric fibers made by the reaction of a dihydroxy-terminated low melting polymer with a diisocyanate fOllOWed by 4 chain extension with a diol or diamino compound, and the like. In the case of spandex fibers, it is preferred that they be employed in admixture with other fibers to make the nonwoven coherent textile.

The above synthetic fiber, when cut to staple length, can be used in staple-spun yarns. Natural fibers which can be employed in staple-spun yarns include fibers of one or a combination of alpaca, asbestos, cotton, hogs hair, jute, sisal, vicuna, wool, zein and the like. In the case of cotton, it is preferred that it is employed in combination with another fiber.

A significant embodiment of this invention involves employing a yarn or tow which is either helically wrapped or twisted with another yarn and/ or tow. The resulting needle punched fabric possesses remarkable hand and drape, regardless of the weight of the fabric. For example, two modacrylic tows, each having a total of 180,000 denier, one having a denier per filament of 3 and the other tow having a denier per filament of 40, were twisted together at about one-half twist per inch. The resulting twisted tow was laid up in a criss-cross strand sheet of one inch strand spacing and highly needle punched. There was obtained a fabric weighing 39 ounces per square yard which possessed remarkably good drape and hand for a fabric of that weight. The fabric also possessed exceptional strength even though the needling conditions were haphazardly selected.

A great advantage of this embodiment resides in the decorative effects obtainable. lf the tows or yarns are each a different color, there can be obtained fabrics which possess designs such as herringbone, houndstooth, chevrons, random modern, stripes, salt and pepper, tweed and the like. In the practice of this embodiment, one can twist or wrap together tWo or more tows, a tow and one or more yarns, two or more yarns, a plurality of tows and one or more yarns, as well as many other obvious combinations.

Moreover, each tow and/0r yarn of the twisted or wrapped combination can be made of a different or the same fiber. This is a very significant feature, for it allows one to select fiber blends which provide the desired physical and aesthetic properties. For example, one can twist or wrap together nylon tow or yarn with acrylic tow or yarn to obtain a tightly needled product which possesses the strength of nylon plus the woolen finish of the acrylic fiber. Certain fibers, such as the modacrylics, which do not exhibit the desired interlocking characteristic upon needling can be blended with small amounts of fibers which do possess desirable interlocking characteristics after needling, such as nylon and polypropylene. Of course, blending for the purpose of obtaining unique physical and aesthetic properties, can be achieved by co-mixture or plying of yarns and tows without twisting or wrapping.

The step of cross laying yarn or tow, of course, can be carried out by hand on a simple tenter or restraining rack. High production rates are achievable by the use of known machines which can readily be adapted to handle yarn and tow of almost any denier. Such machines are described, for example, in U.S. Pat. 2,812,797 to Estee et al., in U.S. Pat. 1,211,851 to Howard and in U.S. Pats. 3,345,231 and 3,345,232 to Gidge et al. Warp laid yarn or tow and weft laid yarn or tow may also be laid by hand, but can be laid by a simple device within the ordinary skill of the textile machine designer. The step of needle punching can also be done by hand, but commercially one would use a machine such as could be made by adapting for use in the invention one of the commercial needle punching machines, several designs of which are available.

Special effects may be obtained by using contrasting colors for some strands of yarn or tow used in either or both the cross-laid sheet or the warp-laid yarn or tow. Other special effects may be obtained by weft laying yarns on the warp-laid tow, by including yarns or tow differing in composition, or which are opened or core-spun or loopbearing, or untwisted or twisted to different hardness, all as more particularly described hereinafter.

In the drawing:

FIG. 1 is a schematic, partially cut-away view of an apparatus for needling cross-laid strands of yarn or tow according to the process of our invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic, partially cut-away view of an apparatus for needling cross-laid strands of yarn or tow with warp-laid strands of yarn or tow according to the process of our invention;

FIG. 3 is a section view of unneedled cross-laid yarn along the line 3 3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a section view of a needled cross-laid yarn product along the line 4-4 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4A is an enlarged partially cut-away view of a portion of the needled cross-laid yarn product at the area indicated on FIG. l;

FIG. 5 is a section View of a needled cross-laid and warp yarn product along the line 5-5 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5A is a partially cut-away bottom view of a needled cross-laid and warp yarn or tow product, with the warp yarn or tow on top of the cross-laid yarn or tow;

FIG. 6 is a partially cut-away top view of a needled cross-laid yarn or tow of large included angle and with a layer of foamed latex on the bottom of the needled product;

FIG. 7 is a partially cut-away top view of a needled cross-laid yarn or tow of small included angle and with a woven fabric backing needled or otherwise adhered to the bottom of the needled product;

FIG. `8 is a top view of a needled cross-laid yarn in different colors giving a plaid effect;

FIG. 9 is a top view of a sheet of needled cross-laid untwisted tow;

FIG. 10 is a partially cut-away top view of a needled cross-laid and warp yarn or tow product, with warp yarn or tow on both top and bottom of the cross-laid yarn or tow;

FIG. 11 is a top view of a needled cross-laid yarn laid in an open-mesh pattern with clearly defined open spaces between the strands;

FIG. 12 is a partially cut-away top view of a conventional nonwoven batting needled to one side of a crosslaid yarn or tow structure of this invention;

FIG. 13 is a partially cut-away top view of nonwoven batting needled to both sides of a cross-laid yarn structure;

FIG. 14 is a view of a cross-laid tow structure wherein differing colors have been used for the crossing strands to give a blended effect in final product.

In the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 1, strands of yarn or tow 11 are cross-laid around restraining pins 12, which pins are mounted on moveable rails 13. A cross-sectional view of the cross-laid yarn 11 on the pins 12 prior to needling is illustrated in FIG. 3. The rails 13 carrying the cross-laid yarn or tow 11 are moved in the direction D indicated by the arrow so that the yarn or tow 11 is passed between a stripper plate 14 and a bed plate 15. A needle board 16 moves up and down in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the cross-laid yarn or tow 11, thereby passing barbed needles 17 through holes 18 in the stripper plate 14 and bed plate 15. The needles 17 are thus forced in and out of the cross-laid yarn or tow 11, resulting in the mechanically interlocked needled product 19. This needled product 19 can be seen in more detail in the cross-sectional view of it illustrated in FIG. 4 and in the enlarged portion shown in a cut-away View of FIG. 4A.

In the embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 2, strands of yarn or tow 11 are cross-laid around retaining pins 12, which are mounted on moveable rails 13, all in the same manner as in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1. On top of the cross-laid strands of yarn or tow 11 are laid warp strands 21, which are positioned by the comb 22 and held against the cross-laid strands 11 by the guide bar 23. The rails 13 carrying cross-laid yarn or tow 11 with the warp yarn or tow 21 on top are moved in the direction D indicated by the arrow so that the yarn or tow strands 11 and 21 are passed between a stripper plate 14 and bed plate 15. A needle board 16 moves up and down in a direction perpendicular to the plane of the cross-laid yarn or tow 11, thereby passing barbed needle 17 through holes 18 in the stripper plate 14 and bed plate 15.

The needles 17 are thus forced in and out of the crosslaid yarn or tow 11 and warp-laid yarn or tow 21, resulting in the mechanically nterlocked needled product 24. This needled product 24 can be seen in more detail in the cross-sectional view of it illustrated in FIG. 5 land in the partially cut-away View in FIG. 5A. In a related embodiment of the invention, a second set ofl warp strands of yarn or tow can be positioned on the bottom side of the cross-laid yarn or tow. This can be done using the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 2 with the addition of a second comb 22 and guide bar 23 on the under side of the cross-laid yarn or tow. The product of this embodiment is shown in FIG. 10. Discernible in the needled product are cross-laid strands 101 and 102 of yarn or tow as well as bottom warp strands 104 and top warp strands 103.

In the process of our invention it is essential that the cross-laid strands making up the sheet be held under restraint at the edges of the sheet while the needling process takes place. This restraint maintains the uniform density of the cross-laid material and preserves the regularity of the cross-laid structure during and after needling. Without such restraint, the barbed needles will tend to engage continuous strands of yarn or tow or intertwisted fibers of staple spun yarn and transmit a pull or tension through a substantial portion of the cross-laid material, thereby distorting the structure of the material and deleteriously affecting the appearance and quality of the product, particularly when the disruption is at or near the surface. The restraint imposed during needling by the process of our invention permits the barbed needles to mechanically interlock the fibers in accordance with a predetermined pattern.

In a principal embodiment of our invention multiple strands of a particular yarn or tow are cross-laid under edge restraint and then needled while still restrained to yield a stable, homogeneous sheet of nonwoven material wherein all strands of yarn or tow are of identical composition and color. It is of course possible to use variegated yarn having different colors along its length, or a yarn or tow wherein the individual filaments differ in color effects in the finished product. Similar special effects of texture and appearance can be obtained 'by using novelty yarns such as the so-called thick-and-thin yarns.

Specific and uniformly continuous color patterns can be achieved by employing different colored strands in the cross-laid material, as illustrated in FIG. 8 of the drawing. Various plaid tartans and the like can thus be made. In the tartan exemplified in FIG. 8, cross-laid strands 81 and 82 are red, strands 83 and 84 are yellow or gold and strands 85 and 86 are gray or silver. Any desired color combination can of course be employed. The various strands of yarn or tow laid down in the crosslaid pattern may differ in composition as well as in color and in this manner various special nonwoven fabrics may be produced. Not only may different types of yarns be combined in the sarne fabric, but yarns and tows may be thus needled together.

The cross-laid yarn or tow strands or the fibers or filaments thereof `may be spaced close together so that the resulting nonwoven cloth or fabric is dense in appearance, with no open spaces apparent upon casual examination, as illustrated in FIG. 4A. In contrast the strands may fbe spaced far enough apart that the resulting product is open-meshed in appearance with distinct openings between the strands, as illustrated in FIG. 11 of the drawings. In either case the needling will produce a dimensionally stable product of substantial strength.

The variations possible in the included angle of crossing strands are illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7. In FIG. 6 the crossing strands 61 and 62 form a. large included angle 64. This figure also illustrates a latex foam layer 63 applied to the cross-laid needled structure. In FIG. 7 the cross-laid strands 71 and 72 form a small included angle 74. In this figure can also be seen a conventional woven fabric backing applied to the cross-laid strands.

When untwisted or lightly twisted tow is cross-laid in contrasting colors and then needled according to the invention, it is possible to achieve unusal nonwoven fabrics with an appearance heretofore possible only in specially woven fabrics. FIG. 14 illustrates a nonwoven tow fabric of this type. This fabric was needled from the side which is hidden in the view of FIG. 14 except for the portion which is curled over. In this curled over portion can be seen the dark 145 and light 146 strands of tow used in the fabric. The needling has produced on the top side in FIG. 14 various effects. Thus where light tow 146 crossed light tow 146 needling produced an all light square 141. Similarly, where a dark tow 145 crossed a dark tow 145 an all dark square 144 was produced. When a dark tow 145 crossed over a light tow 146 the needling produced a mixed square 143 with light fibers needle punched through into the predominant dark fibers. Similarly, where a light tow 146 crossed over a dark tow 145 the needling produced a mixed color square 142 wherein dark fibers were punched through into a predominant white fiber.

In the practice of this invention, one must be cognizant of the relationship between tow or yarn twist and denier per filament (or more broadly speaking, the cross-sectional diameter of the fiber). When an untwisted tow or yarn of either continuous filaments or staple fibers is made into a cross-laid sheet and needle punched in accordance with this invention, the needling action causes the fibers or filaments to be spread out across the area of the sheet. This principle is illustrated in FIG. 9, although the open spaces have been exaggerated to illustrate the untwisted tow structure construction. FIG. 14 illustrates the tow constructions with fibers well-spaced by needling. The degree of spreading is dependent upon the amount of fiber or filament in the sheet, the spacing between adjacent tows and/or yarns laid down in the same or similar direction and the amount and degree of needling employed. For example, one can lay down in a criss-cross pattern untwisted tow having a total denier of 180,000 and a denier per filament of 3 at pin spacings of 11/2 inches such that parallel adjacent tows are spaced apart about 1/2 inch. On aggressive needle punching, filaments are broken and locked together to form a continuous feltlike sheet free of any voids therethrough. Moreover, when the sheet is held up to a strong light it looks completely uniform, lacking the dark and light blotches which are characteristic of a non-uniform product. However, when the tow or yarn is compacted by twisting, the fibers therein are prevented from spreading out, regardless of the fibers denier (or cross-sectional diameter), and an open mesh fabric would be produced unless the tow or yarn were closely packed.

However, denier or cross-sectional diameter can be important in making a close needle punched fabric. In such a fabric, the fibers fill essentially all the area thereof and no gross holes are present in the fabric as is the case with open mesh scrim. Such products can be made at any weight per square yard provided the denier per filament or cross-sectional diameter of the fiber is appropriate. For example, in making a 4 ounces per square yard fabric, continuous filament yarns having denier per filament greater than about 8 typically produces an open mesh fabric whereas those fibers in untwisted form characterized by a denier below about 8, preferably below about 3.5, and most desirably below about 2, such as between about l to about 2, denier per filament, produce a close fabric. The basis for this is the increased surface area created by employing an equal weight of lower denier fiber. Because the yarn is untwisted, the individual fibers 8 or filaments are allowed to be distributed across the open areas of the sheet to form an attractive close sheet. The sheet can be treated with thermoplastic or thermosetting resins, or rubber latex, and calendar cured to produce a smooth surfaced fabric having the appearance of broadcloth.

The process of the invention can be employed to make nonwoven fabrics with stretch characteristics comparable to those of woven fabrics. Thus when two single layers of cross-laid continuous filament or staple-spun yarn are needle punched according to the invention while held under restraint at the edges the result is a nonwoven fabric with considerable stretch in directions bias to the cross-laid strands of yarn. Such stretch is comparable to that found in woven fabrics. An equivalent weight web of garnetted, carded or air-layed staple fibers or unrestrained, unpatterned continuous filaments would not provide equivalent stretch after being needled into a nonwoven fabric.

It is believed that the stretch characteristics which can be achieved by the process of the invention are the result, at least in part, of having in the fabric restrained fibers of greater average length than those present in a garnetted, carded or air-layed web. Our process is characterized by a greater diversity of fibers lengths in the fabric structure after needling resulting from the initial presence of many continuous or long filaments followed by the breaking of a substantial number of the filaments during the needling or interlocking step. There are, however, limitations as to the degree of needle punching which will produce a stretchable fabric. A fabric subjected to excessive needle punching will have so many fibers broken and shortened by the needle punching that the resulting structure will have stretch characteristics approaching those achieved by needle-punching a conventional garnetted, air-layed or carded web. To obtain a stretchable fabric according to the invention the degree of needling should be no more than that necessary to achieve a selfsupporting fabric. The actual quantity of needling necessary to achieve this will depend upon a diversity of factors, including needle gauge, barbing, if any, fiber denier, fiber twist, needle density, needle penetration, etc. It is, however, well within the scope of one skilled in the art to achieve the desired degree of needle punching Without without undue experimentation.

Maximum stretch in a fabric according to the invention is achieved with cross-laid single layers of yarn or tow; adding warp, weft or additional cross-laid yarns with a different included angle will progressively decrease the stretch. The degree of stretch can be controlled as desired by adding such additional layers in the manner described.

In one embodiment of our invention warp strands of yarn or tow are laid on top of the cross-laid structure and needled to it. The cross-laid material may be needled first and the warp threads then laid down and secured to it by a subsequent needling or the warp threads may be added before the initial needling which will then secure the cross-laid strands to one another and to the warp strands in a single operation. The warp strands may be of the same composition and color as the cross-laid strands or may be different from them. The warp strands may be of variegated color or novelty structure as discussed above for the cross-laid strands.

All warp strands may be of the same color and composition or mixtures may be used to achieve desired effects. The warp strands may be of a composition other than conventional yarns and tows, such as slit polypropylene film strips. Warp strands are laid down from a package or Creel and are thus controlled during the needling step by the tension in the strand from the creel to the needling area. This control insures a uniform product.

While a single cross-laid structure will sufiice for most purposes it is possible to superimpose one or more additional cross laid structures on the first, needling all together to form a coherent product. This can be done by simply putting a second set of cross-laid strands on the same tenterhooks and then needling. If desired, a layer of warp strands can be sandwiched between two sets of cross-laid strands. Similarly, warp strands of yarn or tow can be applied to both the top and the bottom of a crosslaid structure. Weft-laid strands can be laid on andl needled to the cross-laid structure in a similar manner.

In still another embodiment of our invention strands of yarn or tow are rst cross-laid in the manner described above and then, either before or after the initial needling, a nonwoven batting of the type readily formed by airlaying or garnetting, is deposited on top of the cross-laid material. If deposited after the initial needling of the cross-laid structure, the batting is secured to it by an additional needling. The resulting composite structure illustrated in FIG. 12 has much greater strength than the unsupported batting. The cross-laid strands 121 and 122 are needled to batting 123. If desired, batting can be thus applied to both sides of a cross-laid structure as in FIG. 13. Batting 133 is on one side of crosslaid strands 131 and 132 and batting 134 is on the other. The batting may be made of any natural or synthetic fiber susceptible to garnetting or airlaying, such as those listed above as suitable for making staple-spun yarns.

The needling required in the process of our invention can be accomplished by one of the commercially available needle looms or felting machines, such as those supplied by the James Hunter Machine Company of North Adams, Mass., or Wrn. Bywater, Limited of Leeds, England. Such machines must, of course, be adapted to process yarn or tow laid up on restraining means such as racks or the like which move through or past the needling machine while holding the yarn or tow. In the needling process various conditions and machinery adjustments are coordinated to give the desired total needle penetration per square inch. In our process between 700- and 4000 penetrations per square inch will ordinarily be employed, although as few as 300 penetrations per square inch might be used on particular materials. While there is no absolute upper limit, more than 4000 penetrations per square inch will not ordinarily provide any additional benet and may lead to excessive breakage of the fibers.

Commercially available needle boards of the barbed felting needles ordinarily have from 34 to 122 needles per lineal inch of width. The lesser number of needles is preferred for heavier weight materials while the greater number of needles is satisfactory for lighter weight ones. Barbed felting needles are available in a number of gauges or sizes. For lighter weight materials below about 12 ounces per square yard needles in 32, 36, 40 and 46 gauge are ordinarily preferred, while for heavier materials 19, 25 and 32 gauge needles are useful. The standard needle length for this type needle is 31/2 inches and the needle is triangular in cross-section with 3 rows of 3 barbs on each apex of the triangle. In some cases, as few as one barb on a needle may be adequate. The barbs are 0.250 inch apart on needles with regular barb spacing and 0.125 inch apart on needles with close barb spacing. The row-to-row barb spacing is 0.083 inch for regular barbing and 0.042 inch for close barbing.

While material is desirably passed through the needle loom only once for most commercial processes, it is of course possible to use multiple passes for particular effects and for such purposes as the incorporation of additional layers of yarn or the like. It is also possible to turn over a piece of needled material and pass it through the needle loom with the back side up, thereby achieving a particular appearance and texture. Commercial needlers are available to punch both Sides of the material in one pass and are quite useful.

For convenience, our invention has been described herein in terms of needle punching and particularly needle punching with conventional felting needles and equipment. While this represents a preferred embodiment of the invention, the invention is in no sense limited to the use of such needles. Needle punching as the term is employed in describing our invention means achieving the necessary mechanical interlocking of restrained cross-laid bers by means of reciprocating felting needles or any equivalent means. Such means include, in addition to perpendicular and slant needling with barbed needles, barbless needles as well as the stitch bonding machines used without thread such as the Arabeva and Malimo machines and the like.

Although the product of the invention is useful for many purposes in the conditionin which it leaves the needling machine, it may, if desired, be processed after needling by one or more of the standard textile treatments commonly applied to Woven or knit materials, such as piece dyeing, napping, shearing, steam pressing and the like. Various types of material, including most thermosetting and thermoplastic polymer latices or combinations thereof. f

Heat fusion is also an effective treatment for needled material made from thermoplastic bers and may also be used to laminate nonwoven webs and other structures, such as conventional woven or knit sheeting, to the needled material.

We have also found it convenient to laminate our needled product to a variety of materials such as conventional =woven or knit fabrics, plastics or rubber films and the like, using conventional adhesive techniques. We can also laminate by additional needling and in this manner attach a backing of foam or the like. We can also foam in place on the needled surface.

The examples which follow are illustrative of the invention but do not limit to less than what is claimed. In all of the examples that follow except Examples XIV and XXXI the needle puncher employed was a Hunter Fiber/Locker Laboratory Felting Machine, manufactured by James Hunter Machine Company, North Adams, Mass., which had been modified in the following significant ways: (l) the dra'w roll and its associated nip roll had been replaced by gears spaced 111/2 inches apart; (2) the bed plate was narrowed to allow a 11/2 inch clearance on each side of the bed plate; (3) a metal channel was fastened in each clearance space; and (4) the width of the needle board was cut down to correspond to the width of the bed plate. The gear teeth were matable to teeth on the underside of parallel, pin-containing bars which rode in the metal channels.

Needling was effected by placing the forward end of the frame through the needle puncher so that each bar thereof was mated with a gear. The gears, which caused the frame to move through the machine, were synchronized with the motion of the needle board to advance the frame between needling strokes. In this manner the complete frame containing the yarn lay-up was drawn through the needle puncher.

EXAMPLE I A nonwoven fabric was made using a 50/50 by weight Wool-nylon staple spun knitting yarn in three shades of green. Each yarn had a total wool run of 0.7 and was four-ply with 8 Z twists per inch in the individual plies and 8 S twists per inch in the plied yarn. There was employed 104 strands of yarn, `26 of each shade of green. A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins each fixed in a 1/2 inch Wide steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were initially 12%; inches apart and the pins were spaced 1A inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long.

The strands of each shade of yarn were laid down on the frame by attaching each end to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row. The arrangement of the yarn was such that each band of color consisted of four strands of yarn laying adjacent to four strands of another shade. A total pattern repeat, therefore, consisted of twelve (l2) strands of yarn with three shades of four strands each. Each yarn so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each strand of yarn was looped about a pin in the other row in the same sequential arrangement. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 45. Each looped yarn was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were similarly looped around pins in the first row which were rearward of pins to `which the strands were originally attached, such that the internal or included angle formed by each yarn strand was 90. This looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame, each time creating, on looping, an internal or included angle of 90.

lNeedling was done with X 18 x 36 gauge X 31/2 inch regular barb needles at a needle density of 96 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 5%; inch below the top surface of the bed plate and 1027 penetrations per square inch were achieved in each of two passes for a total of 2054 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advancing W32 inch per stroke at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. Needling on the first pass was from the top. The material was then transferred to a second frame with the rows of pins 12" apart and was then needled again, this time from the bottom, with all other needling conditions the same. The weight of the final product was 6.0 ounces per square yard.

The stretchable product had a soft hand and the pleasing appearance of a finished fabric. The individual strands of yarn were quite apparent but were close together. Good cover 'was therefore achieved with small openings detected only when the material was held up to the light. The strands adhered to one another well with most of the interlocking being obtained at the crossover points of adjacent layers.

EXAMPLE Il A nonwoven fabric was made using the same yarn and the same three-shade pattern as Example l except that two layers were made with one laid on top of the other and the whole being needled together. All conditions were identical with Example I. The final product had a weight of 13.0 ounces per square yard.

The stretchable product was quite similar to that of Example I but was of course thicker. Fewer openings between strands could be detected when the fabric was held to the light. The strands adhered to one another and adjacent layers well.

EXAMPLE III A nonwoven fabric was made using a 95 percent by weight wool and 5 percent by weight polyvinyl chloride fiber (Vinyon) staple-spun yarn. The yarn had a total worsted count of 1.3. The yarn was three-ply with two individual plies to each of the three plies. The individual two-ply yarn was made with 6 S twists per inch and the final yarn was made with two Z twists per inch. A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins, each fixed in a 1/2 inch steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were 12 apart and the pins were spaced 1/2 apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long. The strands of yarn were laid down in the frame by attaching each end to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were originally attached were the forward pins in the row. Each yarn so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each strand of yarn was looped about a pin on the other row in the same sequential arrangement. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 45. Each looped yarn was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row, each being rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was 90. The looping procedure was repeated theree times across the frame each time creating, on looping, an internal or included angle of 90.

Needling was done with a l5 x 18 X 32 gauge X 31/2 inch close barb needle with a needle density of 96 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 1/2 inch below the surface of the bed plate and 1536 penetrations per square inch were achieved in each of two passes for a total of 3072 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advanced 2%6 inch per stroke at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. Needling on the first pass was from the top while the material was on the frame. The material was then removed from the frame for the second needling which was from the bottom. The weight of the product was 5.8 ounces per square yard.

The stretchable product was a fabric of relatively open mesh with openings between the strands clearly apparent, although some fibers were present between strands. It was soft and pleasing in hand and appearance. The strands adhered to adjacent layers well.

EXAMPLE IV A nonwoven fabric was made using a 10 by weight wool-mohair staple-spun knitting yarn in one shade of wine red. Each yarn had a total wool run of 0.2 and was four-ply with 4 Z twists per inch in the individual plies and 8 S twists per inch in the plied yarn. There was employed eighteen strands of yarn. A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins each fixed in a 1/2 inch wide steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were 12 inches apart and the pins were spaced 1% inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long.

The strands of yarn were laid down on the frame by attaching each end to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row. Each yarn so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each strand of yarn was looped about a pin in the other row in the same sequential arrangement. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 45. Each loop yarn was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row which were rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached, such that the internal or included angle formed by each yarn strand was 90. This looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame, each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 90.

Needling was done with 15 X 18 X 32 gauge X 31/2 inch close barb needles at a needle density of 96 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 1/2 inch below the top surface of the bed plate and 1.536 penetrations per square inch were achieved in each of two passes for a total of 3072 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advanced 1/16 inch per stroke at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. Needling on the first pass was from the top while the material was on the frame. The material was then removed from the frame for the second needling which was from the bottom. The weight of the final product was 8.2 ounces per square yard.

The stretchable product was a fabric of relatively open mesh with openings between the strands clearly apparent, although some fibers were present between strands. It was soft and pleasing in hand and appearance. The strands adhered to one another well.

EXAMPLE V A nonwoven fabric was made using a 50/50 by weight wool-nylon staple-spun knitting yarn in three colorsblack, red and yellow. Each yarn had a total wool run of 0.6 and was four-ply with 4 Z twists per inch in the individual plies and 8 S twists per inch in the plied yarn. There was employed 99 strands of yarn, 48 of black, 48 of red and 3 of yellow. A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins each fixed in a 1A. inch wide steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were 12 inches apart and the pins were spaced 1A inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long.

The strands of each color of yarn were laid down on the frame by attaching each end to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row in the same sequential arrangement. The arrangement of the yarn was such that the strands of yarn formed a Scotch plaid pattern. Each yarn so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each strand of yarn was looped about a pin in the other row. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 45. Each looped yarn was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row which were rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached, such that the internal or included angle formed by each yarn strand was 90. This looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame, each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 90.

Needling was done with 15 X 18 X 32 gauge X 31/2 inch close barb needled at a density of 96 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was %6 inch below the top surface of the bed plate on the first two passes and 1/2 inch on the third, and 1027 penetrations per square inch were achieved in each of three passes for a total of 3081 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advanced %2 inch per stroke at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. Needling on the first two passes was from the top. The material was then needled again, this time from the bottom, with all other needling conditions the same except needle tip penetrations, as noted above. The weight of the final product was 5.9 ounces per square yard.

The stretchable product was of uniform and pleasing appearance, being a typical Scotch plaid. The fabric was soft and flexible with a good hand. The strands were close together with spaces between, observable only when it was held to the light, many fibers being present in such openings. The strands adhered to each other well.

EXAMPLE VI A nonwoven fabric was made using a 100 percent by weight wool yarn, space dyed along its length in shades of pink, red and maroon. The yarn had a total wool run of 0.6. The yarn was four-ply and the individual plies were made with 5 twists per inch (Z) and the final fourply yarn was made with l twists per inch (S). A frame was used which consisting of two parallel rows of pins, each Xed in a 1/2 inch steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were 12 inches apart and the pins were spaced 1/2 inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long. The strands of yarn were laid down in the frame by attaching each end to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were originally attached were the forward pins in the row. Each yarn so attached Was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each strand of yarn was looped about a pin on the other row in the same sequential arrangement. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 45 Each looped yarn was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row, each being rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was 90. The looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 90.

Needling was done with a 15 X 18 X 32 gauge X 31/2 inch regular barb needle with a needle density of 96 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was inch below the surface of the bed plate on the first pass and 1/2 inch on the second. 735 penetrations per square inch were achieved in each of two passes for a total of 1470 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advanced 1/16 inch per stroke at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. Needling on the first pass was from the top while the material was on the frame. The material was then removed from the frame for the second needling which was from the bottom. The weight of the product was 3.9 ounces per square yard.

The stretchable fabric product was pleasing in appearance, the varying shades of red and pink giving an interesting multi-colored effect. The strands were spaced relatively far apart with spaces between clearly visible to give an open-mesh effect. The strands adhered to ad'- jacent layers Well.

EXAMPLE VII A nonwover fabric using a 100 percent wool blue thickthin yarn of 0.2 wool run single yarn and a 93/7 triacetate/Vinyon yellow two-ply yarn of 2.0 worsted count. A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins each fiXed in a `1/2 inch Wide steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were l2 inches apart and the pins were spaced l1/2 inch apart in each rod. Each row was 72 inches long.

The strands of each type of yarn were laid' down on the frame by attaching each end to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row. The arrangement of the yarn was such (one end of blue and one end of yellow) that a yellow striped blue background effect was produced. Each yarn so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and' each strand of yarn was looped about a pin in the other row in the same sequential arrangement. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 45. Each looped yarn was snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row which were rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached, such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was This looping procedure was repeated there times across the frame, each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 90.

Needling was done with 15 X 18 X 32 gauge X 31/2 inch close barb needles at a needle density of 96 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 11/2 inch below the top surface of the bed plate and 1536 penetrations per square inch were achieved in each of two passes for a total of 3072 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advanced lAe inch per stroke at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. Needling on both passes was from the top. The weight of the final product was 5.5 ounces per square yard.

This stretchable product was made with a so-called novelty yarn and the effect is an unusual one. The Variations in thickness of the blue yarn result in a fabric with interesting variations in texture. Openings were present between the criss-crossed strands which adhered well to one another.

EXAMPLE VIII A nonwoven fabric was made using a 68/ 32 by weight Wool-mohair loop-boucle knitting yarn in a single shade of orange-red. Each yarn had a total worsted count of 2.3 and was two-ply overfed to produce loops with 8 Z twists per inch in the plied yarn and 16 S twists per inch in the singles yarn. A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins each fixed in a `1/2 inch wide steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows Were 12 inches apart and the pins were spaced 1A inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long.

The strands of yarn were laid down on the frame 4by attaching each end to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row. Each yarn so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each strand of yarn was looped about a pin in the other row in the same sequential arrangement. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 45. Each looped yarn was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row which were rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached, such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was 90. This looping procedure was repeated three times l across the frame, each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 90.

Needling was done with X 18 X 32 gauge X 3% inch close barb needles at a needle density of 96 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 1/2 inch below the top surface of the bed plate and 1536 penetrations per square inch were achieved in each of two passes for a total of 3072 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advanced V16 inch per stroke at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. Needling on both passes was from the top on the frame. The weight of the final product was 5.0 ounces per square yard.

This attractive stretchable product was relatively openmesh but with some fillers in the spaces between strands. The loops present on the strands of yarn gave an unusual texture to the product. The strands adhered well to one another.

EXAMPLE IX A nonwoven fabric was made using an 85/ 15 by weight mohair/Vinyon French knit two-ply yarn. A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins each fixed in a 1X2 inch wide steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were 12 inches apart and the pins were spaced 1A inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long.

The strands of each shade of yarn were laid down on the frame by attaching each end to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row. Each yarn so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each strand of yarn was looped about a pin in the other row in the same sequential arrangement. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 45. Each looped yarn was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row which were rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached, such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was 90. This looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame, each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 90.

Needling was done from the top with 15 X 18 X 32 gauge X 31/2 inch close barb needles at a needle density of 96 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 1/2 inch below the top surface of the bed plate and 1536 penetrations per square inch were achieved in the single pass. The needler was advanced 1/16 inch per stroke at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. The weight of the final product was 7.2 ounces per square yard.

The stretchable final product was green and had a napped or fuzzy effect 'because the yarn was such that the single needling had spread fibers from the original hairy yarn between the strands, although the individual strands were still clearly identifiable. They were well adhered to one another.

EXAMPLE X A nonwoven fabric was made using a 100 percent wool three-ply knitting yarn. The yarn had a total wool run of 2.0. A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins each fixed in a 1/2 inch wide steel -bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were 12 inches apart and the pins were spaced 1A inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long.

The strands of each shade of yarn were laid down on the frame by attaching each end to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row. Each yarn so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each strand of yarn was looped about a pin in the other row in the same sequential arrangement. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 45. Each looped yarn was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row which were rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached, such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was This looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame, each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 90.

Needling was done with 15 X 18 X 32 gauge X 31/2 inch close barb needles at a needle density of 96 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 1/2 inch below the top surface of the bed plate and 1536 penetrations per square inch were achieved in the single pass with needling from the top. The needler was advanced 1/16 inch per stroke at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. Weight of the final product was 2.4 ounces per square yard.

The stretchable product was light blue in color with observable spaces between the criss-covered strands although numerous fibers Were present in the spaces. The product was soft and attractive with a good hand.

EXAMPLE XI A nonwoven fabric was made using two basic yarns of differing color and composition. One was black and the other blue. The black yarn had a total Wool run of 0.6 and was four-ply with 4 Z twists per inch in the indi vidual plies and 8 S twists per inch in the plied yarn. The composition of this yarn was 50/50 by weight of wool and nylon fibers. The blue yarn had a worsted count of 4/8 (four-ply). The composition of this yarn was 40 percent 3 denier per filament X 41/2 inch Kodel polyester high bulk, 40 percent mohair and 20 percent 3 denier per filament X 41/2 inch bright Kodel. There was employed 104 strands of yarn, 52 strands of each of the black and blue colors. A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins each fixed in a 1/2 inch wide steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were 12 inches apart and the pins were spaced 1A inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long.

The strands of each color of yarn were laid down on the frame by attaching each end to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row. The arrangement of the yarn was such that four strands of each color yarn were adjacent to four strands of the other color to form a plaid pattern. Each yarn so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each strand of yar-n was looped about a pin in the other row. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 45. Each looped yarn was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row which were rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached, such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was 90. This looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame, each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 90.

Needling was done with 15 x 18 X 36 gauge X 31/2 inch regular barb needles at a needle density of 96 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 1%6 inch below the top surface of the bed plate and 768 penetrations per square inch were achieved in the single pass from the top. The needler was advancing 1A; inch per stroke at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. The weight of the nal product was 6.4 ounces per square yard.

The stretchable final product was a soft fabric with good hand and feel. A plaid effect was achieved, with solid blue squares, solid black squares and squares of an ill-between color due to needling through some filaments. The individual strands of yarn were readily apparent and the spaces between were apparent when the fabric was held to the light, although there were numerous filaments in the spaces. The strands were well adhered to one another in the product.

EXAMPLE XII A nonwoven fabric was made using a 100@ percent Orlon acrylic staple-spun yarn. The yarn had a total worsted count of 1.6, and was two-ply with two individual plies to each of the three plies, The individual strands were made with 4 Z twists per inch and the final yarn was made with 6 S twists per inch. A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins, each fixed in a 1/2 inch steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were 12 inches apart and the pins were spaced '1A inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long. The strands of yarn were laid down in the frame by attaching each end to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were originally attached were the forward pins in the row. Each yarn so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each strand of yarn was looped about a pin on the other row. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 45. Each looped yarn was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row, each being rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was 90. The looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame, each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 90.

Needling was done with a 15 X 18 X 32 gauge X 31/2 inch close barb needle with a needle density of 96 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 1/2 inch below the surface of the bed plate and 1536 penentrations per square inch were achieved in each of two passes for a total of 3072 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advanced 1/16 inch per stroke at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. Needling on the first pass was from the top while the material was on the frame. The material was then removed from the frame for the second needling which was from the bottom. The weight of the product was 9.85 ounces per square yard.

The yarn used was white with intermittent portions of red fiber which gave a stretchable final product with discontinuous streaks and patches of red for an unusual and pleasing effect. The product was tightly constructed with the yarn strands tightly adhered to one another but the product had good hand and drape.

'EXAMPLE XIII A nonwoven fabric was made using a bulked continuous filament white nylon yarn. The denier per filament was 19 and the total denier of the yarn was 2600. A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins each fixed in a 1/2 inch wide steel bar containing teeth i-n its underside. The rows were 12 inches apart and the pins were spaced t inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long.

The strands of yarn were laid dow-n on the frame by attaching each end to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row. Each yar-n so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each strand of yarn was looped about a pin on the other row. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was Each looped yarn was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row which were rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached, such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was 90. This looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame, each time creating, on looping, an inter-nal angle of 90.

Needling was done with 15 X 18 X 32 gauge X 31/2 inch regular barb needles at a needle density of 96 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 11/16 inch below the top surface of the bed plate and 768 penetrations per square inch were achieved in the single pass with needling from the top. The needler was advanced 13 inch per stroke at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. The weight of the final product was 6.() ounces per square yard.

The product `was soft with a pleasing hand and appearance. The criss-crossed yarn structure was not apparent upon examination with the surface relatively uniform in appearance. The strands of yarn were well adhered to one another with substantial co-mingling and interlocking of the fibers contributing to the uniform appearance.

EXAMPLE XIV A nonwoven sample was produced using an unmodified Hunter laboratory needler. Several Wooden frames were used with pins being introduced into each of the two parallel frames at a frequency of 1% inches. Spacing between these frames was 12 inches and the frames were advanced intermittently through the needler at a rate of approximately 1A inch per stroke. Each row was approximately 18 inches long.

Alternate ends of 180,000 denier crimped Dynel modacrylic tow in brown and white shades were used. The strands of tow were laid down on the frame by attaching each end to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row of pins. The pin in the row to which the tow ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row. Each tow so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each strand of tow was looped about a pin in the other row. The angle of each strand to the roiw of pins was 45. Each looped tow was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction, and the tows `were looped around pins in the first row which were rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached, such that the internal angle formed by each tow strands was This looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame, each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 90.

Needling was done done with 15x18x32 gaugexSl/z inch regular barb needles at a needle density of 46 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 3A inch below the topy surface of the bed plate on each of two passes from the top side. The second pass was performed off the frame. Approximately 184 penetrations per square inch per pass for a total of 368 penetrations per square inch. The frame was advanced by hand at a rate of 1A inch per stroke at 24() strokes per minute. The weight of the final product was 16 ounces per square yard.

The resultant product illustrates the novel effect that can be achieved through proper color selection. In this example, the alternate ends of brown and white tow crisscrossed at a 90 internal angle yielded a plaid pattern on the bottom side via an interminging of various color combinations through the needling effect. Excellent interlocking between adjacent bundles of tow was achieved.

EXAMPLE XV A nonwoven fabric was made using a 50 percent by weight wool and 50 percent by weight crimpset nylon staple-spun yarn. The yarn had a total wool count of 2.0 and was four-ply. The individual strands were made with 8 Z twists per inch and the final yarn was made with 8 S twists per inch. A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins, each fixed in a 1/2 inch steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were l2 inches apart and the pins were spaced 1/2 inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long. The strands of yarn were laid down in the frame by attaching each end to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were originally attached were the forward pins in the row. Each yarn so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each strand of yarn was looped about a pin one the other row. The angle of each strand of the row of pins was 731/2. Each looped yarn was again snugly draped across the frame inthe other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row, each being rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was 33. The looping procedure was repeated eight times across the frame each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 33.

Warp strands (laying in the machine direction) of the same yarn were laid down side by side and just touching each other on top of the criss-crossed strands prior to needling. Needling was done with a 15xl8x32 gaugex31/2 inch close barb needle with a needle density of 96 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 1/2 inch below the surface of the bed plate and 1536 penetrations per square inch were achieved in each of two passes for a total of 3072 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advanced 1/16 inch per stroke at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. Needling on the first pass was from the top while the material was on the frame. The material was then removed from the frame for the second needling which was from the bottom. 'Ihe weight of the product was 10.9 ounces per square yard.

This final product had the stability and general appearance of a woven fabric although it was apparent from inspection that the warp strands were not interlaced in the manner of a woven fabric. The warp strands were, nevertheless, tightly adhered to each other and to the criss-crossed strands.

EXAMPLE XVI A nonwoven fabric was made using a crimped Dynel modacrylic untwisted tow of approximately 60,000 total denier with a denier per `filament of 2.0. A frame was used which consisted of two paralled rows of pins each fixed in a 1/2 inch wide steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were l2 inches apart and the pins were spaced 1/2 inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long.

The strands of tow were laid down on the frame by attaching each end to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the tow ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row. Each tow so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each strand of tow was looped about a pin in the other row. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 45. Each looped tow was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the tows were looped around pins in the first row which were rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached, such that the internal angle formed by each tow strand was 90. This looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame, each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 90.

Needling was done with l5 x 17 X 25 gauge X 31/2 inch close barb needles at a needle density of 96 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 1%@ inch below the top surface of the bed plate and 768 penetrations per square inch were achieved in each of two passes for a total of 1536 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advanced 1A; inch per stroke at Ia rate of 240 strokes per minute. Needling on the first pass was from the top. The material was then turned over on the frame, needled again, this time from the bottom, with al1 other needling conditions the same. The weight of the final product was 20.5 ounces per square yard.

'I'he product was quite felt-like in `appearance and hand, being thick and heavy and quite strong, and needled to form a thoroughly interlocked structure. The material was relatively stiff and the cross-laid structure was not apparent.

EXAMPLE XVII A nonwoven material was made by needling a conventional air-lay nonwoven web (Le. Ranto web) to a cross-laid nylon yarn under restraint. The yarn was 100 percent 3900 denier bulked continuous filament nylon. The nonwoven web was made on a Rando-Webber (Curlator Corp.) from denier kodel polyester, 11A inch cut, and weighed l0 ounces per square yard. A frame was used which consisted oftwo parallel rows of pins, each fixed in a 1/2 inch steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The 72 inch long rows were 12 inches apart and the pins were spread 1A inch apart in each row. The strands of yarn were laid down in the frame by attaching each end to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were originally attached were the forward pins in the row. Each yarn `so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each strand of yarn was looped about a pin on the other row. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 45. Each looped yarn was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row, each being rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was The looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 90.

The Curlator web or nonwoven mat of fibers was then placed on top of the cross-laid yarn structure and the composite needled twice from the top. Needling was done with a 15 x 18 x 36 gauge x 31/2 inch regular barb needle with a needle density of 96 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 1/2 inch below the surface of the bed plate on the rst pass and 1-1/{16 inch on the second. 413 penetrations per square inch were achieved in each of the two passes for a total of 826 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advanced 1%.; inch per stroke at a rate of 240 strokes per minute.

The final product weighed 15.4 ounces per square yard. It was flexible and stretchable with a napped or fuzzy surface on the top side and the criss-crossed support yarns apparent on the bottom. The product was quite stable with the criss-crossed yarns well adhered to one another and to the nonwoven fibrous batt. Excellent web stability was the major contribution of the cross-laid nylon substrate.

EXAMPLE XVIII A nonwoven material was made by needling a crosslaid and warp-laid bul'ked nylon filament yarn under restraint to a conventional Curlator type of nonwoven web. The yam and web were identical with those described in Example XVII. The procedures were identical with those in Example XVII except for the inclusion of warp strands and other differences as described below. The pin spacing was 1/2 inch and the angle of each strand to the row of pins was 861/2 so that the included angle was 7. The warp strands were spaced 1/2 inch apart and were on the top of the cross-laid strands but beneath the Curlator web. Needling was done from the top under the same conditions as Example XVII except that the needles were 15 x 18 x 32 gauge x 31/2 inch close barb needles and penetration was 11A@ inch on a single pass which gave 413 penetrations per square inch.

The final product weighed 14.6 ounces per square yard and was similar in properties and appearance to that of 'Example XVII, although the warp strands were noticeable from the web side. Stability in the machine direction was provided by `the warp yarns.

EXAMPLE XIX A nonwoven material was made by needling conventional Curlator type nonwoven webs to both sides of a cross-laid and warp-laid nylon yarn under restraint. The yarn and web were identical with those in Example XVII. The `procedures were jdentical with those in Example XVII except =for the inclusion of warp strands and the second web and the other differences described below. The pin spacing was 1/2 inch and the angle of each crosslaid strand to the row of pins was 861/2 so that the included angle was 7. The warp strands were spaced 1/2 inch apart and were on top of the cross-laid strands, with the first Curlator web on top of the warp strands. Needling of the first web on top of the warp and cross-laid strands was done from the top in the manner of Example XVII except that needle penetration was 11/16 inch on a single pass with an advance of 1A inch per stroke which gave 384 penetrations per square inch.

Thisintermediate product was then turned over on the frame and a second Curlator type mat of the type described in Example XVII was placed on the original bottom of the cross-laid material. This second web was then needled into the intermediate product in the same manner as the first needling except that needle penetration was only W16 inch. In the final product the cross-laid and warp structure was completely obscured by the rwebs on each side. The product had a fuzzy or napped appearance on both sides, with good strength and stability imparted by the hidden ycross-laid and warp yarn structure. Excellent loft and resilience were still other obvious characteristics of this novel material.

EXAMPLE XX A nonwoven fabric was made in exactly the same manner as that in Example XIII, using the same yarn and needling conditions, except that prior tot he single needling pass there was placed on top of the cross-laid strands a conventional Curlator-type nonwoven web. This web was made of 15 denier viscose rayon, 1%@ inches cut and weighed 2.5 ounces per square yard.

This final product, which weighed 6.5 ounces per square yard, was similar to that of Example XII but had a raised fuzz or nap on the web side. The surface on the bottom or back sides was not as uniform as that of the product of Example XLII and the individual strands were discernible.

EXAMPLE XXI A nonwoven fabric was made using 1300' total denier bulked continuous filament nylon yarn with 68 individual filaments laid down in a criss-crossed pattern and needled between two carded nonwoven webs. Both webs were of 6 denier, 2 inch cut polypropylene fiber. The top web weighed 4 ounces per square yard while the bottom web weighed 3 ounces per square yard. A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins, each fixed in a 1/2 inch steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were 12 inches apart and the pins were spaced 1/2 inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long. The strands of yarn were laid down in the frame by attaching each end to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were originally attached were the forward pins in the row. Each yarn so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each strand of yarn was looped about a pin on the other row. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 45. Each looped yarn was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row, each being rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was 90. The looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 45. The top and bottom webs described above were then positioned on the top and on the bottom respectively of the cross-laid yarn prior to passing the whole into the needling machine.

Needling was done from the top with a 15 x 18 x 25 gauge x 31/2 inch close barb needle with a needle density of 96 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 3A inch below the surface of the bed plate and 384 penetrations per square inch were achieved in the single pass. The needler was advanced 1A inch per stroke at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. After needling the material was unitary with the yarn strands well adhered to one another and to the webs. The material was then passed at a speed of 18 feet per minute between two metal rolls maintained at a temperature of 300 F. with a space of 0.010 inch between the rolls. This heat treatment caused some fusion of the polypropylene filatments and gave as a final product a relatively thin flexible sheet. This final product weighed 10.1 ounces per square yard.

EXAMPLE XXII A sample of the nonwoven material described in Example VI was foam-back with an acrylic latex foam to provide additional insulating characteristics and fabric body to the otherwise open-mesh relatively lightweght structure. An alternate aproach to the chemical formation of the foam on the back of the needled structure could be achieved by conventionally laminating a foam material (polyurethane, polyester or other) to the back via conventional adhesives designed for this purpose. Such a fabric would nd use in draperies and other home furnishing areas.

EXAMPLE XXIII A sample of nonwoven material produced identically to the structure described in Example VI, except that the yarn was dyed to three shades of blue instead of red, had laminated to it an acetate tricot fabric (produced on conventional tricot knitting machine). In this example, an acrylic latex was used as the adhesive media, with the resultant material producing a most pleasing structure offering fabric body and tactile properties that make it suitable for use in apparel areas.

EXAMPLE XXIV A nonwoven carpet type material was made by needling warp-laid tow into restrained cross-laid bulked rayon filament yarn. The cross-laid yarn consisted of four ends of 2400 denier bulked continuous filament rayon yarn. The warp tow consisted of 400,000 total denier (4 ends of 100,000 total denier each) crimped nylon 6.6 (trilobel cross-section) tow. Each filament had a denier of 18. A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins, each fixed in a 1/2 inch steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were 12 inches apart and the pins were spaced 1/2 inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long. The strands of rayon tow were laid down in the frame by attaching each to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the tow ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row. Each tow end so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each end or strand of tow was looped about a pin on the other row. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 60. Each looped tow was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row, each being rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was 60. The looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 60. A total of 4 ends of the nylon tow were warp-laid on top of the cross-laid rayon yarn, that is, they were laid parallel to and between the rows of pins and were equally spaced from one another across the width of the cross-laid material. These warp-laid ends of tow were held under essentially little restraint during the needling.

Needling was done with a 15 x 18 x 32 gauge x 31/2 inch regular barb needle with a needle density of 46 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 5A inch below the surface of the bed plate on the first pass (cross-laid yarn or scrim only), 5A; inch on the second (with warp-laid tow) and 1/2 inch on the third pass. 735 penetrations per square inch were achieved in each of three passes for a total of 2205 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advanced 1/16 inch per stroke on each pass at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. Needling on all three passes was from the top while the material was on the frame. The weight of the product was 14.7 ounces per 'square yard.

The heavy white dimensionally-stable final product had a pleasing and uniform appearance. The cross-laid yarn pattern was not noticeable, being wholly obscured by the warp tow. The filaments were held relatively tight and there was little fuzz or nap to the product. An interesting 23 tree bark pattern was observed on the surface of this carpet material.

EXAMPLE XXV A nonwoven carpet-type material was made by needling warp-laid tow into restrained cross-laid yarn. The crosslaid plied but untwisted yarn consisted of two ends of 3900 total denier bulked continuous filament nylon, each end having approximately 204 filaments for a total of 408 filaments per bundle. The warp tow consisted of 12 ends of 60,000 total denier Dynel modacrylic crimped continuous filaments (each filament at 12 denier). A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins, each fixed in a 1/2 inch steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were 12 inches apart and the pins were spaced 1/2 inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long. The strands of nylon yarn were laid down in the frame by attaching each to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row. Each yarn end so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each end or strand of tow was looped about a pin on the other row. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 60. Each looped tow was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row, each being rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was 60. The looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 60. A total of 12 ends of the Dynel tow were warplaid on top of the cross-laid nylon tow, that is, they were laid parallel to and between the rows of pins and were equally spaced from one another across the width of the cross-laid material. These warp-laid ends of tow were held under essentially little restraint during the needling.

Needling was done in three passes with a 15 X 18 X 32 gauge X 31/2 inch regular barb needle with a needle density of 46 needles per inch of machine width. Needle tip penetration was 5A; inch below the surface of the bed plate on the first pass, 3A; inch on the second and 7/16 inch on the third for a total of 1838 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advanced 1/16 inch per stroke on the first pass, ls inch on the second and 1/16 inch on the third at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. Needling on all three passes was from the top while the material was on the frame. As a final step an acrylic lateX binder was sprayed on the back or bottom side of the natural undyed product. The weight of the final product was 23.4 ounces per square yard of fiber plus 9.0 ounces per square yard of binder for a total of 32.4 ounces per square yard.

The heavy white dimensionally stable final product had a pleasing and uniform appearance The cross-laid yarn pattern was not noticeable, being wholly obscured by the warp tow. The filaments were held relatively tight and there was little fuzz or nap to the product.

EXAMPLE XXVI A nonwoven carpet-type material was made by needling warp-laid tow into restrained cross-laid yarn. The crosslaid plied but untwisted yarn consisted of two ends of 3900 total denier bulked continuous filament nylon, each end having approximately 204 filaments for a total of 408 laments per bundle. The warp tow consisted of 12 ends of 60,000 total denier poly(cycloheXylene terephthalate) polyester crimped continuous laments at 16 denier per filament. A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins, each fixed in a 1/2 inch steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were 12 inches apart and the pins were spaced 1/2 inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long. The strands of nylon tow were laid down in the frame by attaching each to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the tow ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row. Each tow end so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each end or strand of tow was looped about a pin on the other row. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 60. Each looped tow was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row, each being rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was 60. The looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 60. A total of 12 ends of the Kodel tow were warp-laid on top of the cross-laid nylon yarn, that is, they were laid parallel to and between the rows of pins and were equally spaced from one another across the width of the cross-laid material. These warplaid ends of tow were held under essentially little restraint during the needling.

Needling was done in two passes using for the first pass a 15 X 18 X 25 gauge X 31/2 inch close barb needle and for the second pass a 15 X 18 X 32 gauge X 31/2 inch regular barb needle with a needle density of 46 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 5A inch below the surface of the bed plate on the first pass and inch on the second, and 735 penetrations per square inch were achieved in each of two passes for a total of 1470 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advanced 1/16 inch per stroke on each pass at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. Needling on the first pass was from the top while the material was on the frame. The material was then removed `from the frame for the second needling which was also from the top. As a final vstep an acrylic latex binder was sprayed on the back or bottom side of the natural undyed product. The weight of the final product was 24.2 ounces per square yard of fiber plus 9.0 ounces per square yard of binder for a total of 33.2 ounces per square yard.

The heavy white dimensionally stable product had a pleasing appearance. While the cross-laid yarn pattern was not discernible as such, it resulted in relatively regularly spaced slight depression in the surface of the material. A fair amount of fuzz or nap was present.

EXAMPLE XXVII A nonwoven carpet-type material was made by needling warp-laid tow into restrained cross-laid yarn. The crosslaid plied but untwisted yarn consisted of two ends of 39.00 total denier bulked continuous filament nylon, each end having approximately 204 filaments for a total of 408 filaments per bundle. The warp tow consisted of 7 ends of 100,000 total denier nylon continuous filaments (18 denier per filament). A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins, each fiXed in a 1/2 inch steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were 12 inches apart and the pins were spaced 1/2 inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long. The strands of nylon were laid down in the frame by attaching each to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row. Each yarn end so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each end or strand of yarn was looped about a pin on the other row. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 60. Each looped tow was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row, each being rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was `60". The looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 60. A total of 7 ends of the nylon tow were warp-laid on top of the cross-laid nylon tow, that is, they were laid parallel to and between the rows of pins and were equally spaced from one another across the width of the cross-laid material. These warp- 25 laid ends of tow were held under essentially little restraint during the needling.

Needling was done in two passes with a 15 X 18 X 32 gauge X 31/2 inch regular barb needle with a needle density of 46 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was A; inch below the surface of the bed plate on the first pass and 1/z inch on the second, and 735 penetrations per square inch were achieved in each of two passes for a total of 1470 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advanced 1/16 inch per stroke on each pass, at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. Needling on both passes was from the top while the material was on the frame. As a final step, after piece dyeing the product a deep blue, an acrylic latex binder was sprayed on the lback or bottom side of the product. The weight of the product was 29.2 ounces per square yard of fiber plus 9.0 ounces per square yard of binder for a total of 38.2 ounces per square yard.

The heavy blue dimensionally stable product had a pleasing appearance, The cross-laid yarn pattern was not noticeable being wholly obscured by the warp tow. The filaments were held relatively tight and there was little fuzz or nap to the product. Surface interest was created by the striated or tree-barked effect achieved in needling which remained durable to piece dyeing. 'In wear tests this sample became less fuzzy and showed better thickness retention than did the undyed sample of Example XXIV.

EXAMPLE XXVIII A nonwoven carpet-type material was made by needling Warp-laid tow into restrained cross-laid yarn. The crosslaid plied but untwisted yarn consisted of two ends of 3750 total denier bulked continuous filament polypropylene (solution dyed during fiber manufacture to an attractive green shade). The warp tow consisted of 12 ends of 45,000 total denier polypropylene crimped continuous filaments (solution dyed during fiber manufacture to a pleasing blue shade). Each filament was 15 denier. A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins, each fixed in a 1/2 inch steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were 12 inches apart and the pins were spaced 1/2 inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long. The strands of polypropylene yarn were laid down in the frame by attaching each to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row. Each yarn end so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each end or strand of yarn was looped about a pin on the other row. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 60. Each looped yarn was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row, each being rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was 60. The looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 60. A total of 12 ends of the polypropylene tow were warp-laid on top of the cross-laid polypropylene yarn, that is, they laid parallel to and between the rows of pins and were equally spaced from one another across the width of the cross-laid material. These warp-laid ends of tow were held under essentially little restraint during the needling.

Needling was done on the first of two passes with a l5 X 18 X 25 gauge X 31/2 inch close barb needle and on the second with a 15 X 18 X 32 gauge X 31/2 inch regular barb needle with a needle density of 46 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 5A; inch below the surface of the bed plate on the first pass and 1/2 inch on the second and 735 penetrations per square inch were achieved in each of two passes for a total of 1470 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advanced 1/16 inch per stroke on each pass, at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. Needling on both passes was from the top While the material was on the frame. As a final step an acrylic latex binder was sprayed on the back or bottom side of the product. The weight of the product was 24,7 ounces per square yard of fiber plus 9.0 ounces per square yard of binder for a total of 33.7 ounces per square yard.

The heavy blue dimensionally stable product was 'quite pleasing in appearance with a tree-bark effect provided by the heavy warp-laid tow which completely 4hid the cross-laid yarn.

EXAMPLE XXIX A nonwoven carpet-type material was made by needling warp-laid tow into restrained cross-laid yarn. The crosslaid plied but untwisted yarn consisted of two ends of 3750 total denied bulked continuous filament polypropylene (solution dyed during fiber manfuacture of a pleasing green shade). The warp tow consisted of 12 ends of 45,0010 total denier polypropylene crimped continuous filaments (solution dyed of a blue-shade during fiber manufacture). A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins, each fixed in a 1/2 inch Steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were 12 inches apart and the pins were spaced 1/2 inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long. The strands of polypropylene yarn were laid down in the frame by attaching each to a single pin of one of the rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row. Each yarn end so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each end or strand of yarn 'was looped about a pin on the other row. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 60. Each looped yarn was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row, each lbeing rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was 60. The looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 60. A total of 12 ends of the polypropylene tow were warplaid on top of the cross-laid polypropylene yarn, that is, they were laid parallel to and between the rows of pins and lwere equally spaced from one another across the 'width of the cross-laid material. These warp-laid ends of tow were held under essentially little restraint during the needling.

Needling was done on the first pass with a 15 X 18 X 25 gauge X 31A: inch close barb needle and on the second and third pass with a 15 X 18 X 32 gauge X 31/2 inch regular barb needle with a needle density of 46 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 1%6 inch below the surface of the bed plate on the first pass, 1/2 inch on the second and W8 inch on the third for a total of 1838 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advanced l/g inch per stroke on the first and second passes, 1A, inch on the third at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. Needling on the first pass was from the top while the material was on the frame. The material was then reversed off the frame for the second needling which was from the bottom. The final or third needling pass was off the frame and on the original top side. As a final step an acrylic lateX binder was sprayed on the back or bottom side of the product. The weight of the product was 29.4 ounces per square yard of fiber plus 9.0 ounces per square yard of binder for a total of 38.4 ounces per square yard.

The heavy blue dimensionally stable product had a pleasing and uniform appearance. The cross-laid yarn pattern was not noticeable, being wholly obscured by the warp tow. The filaments were held relatively tight and there was little fuzz or nap to the product. A felt-like surface was obtained as distinguished from the striated or tree bark appearance in previous 4Example XXVIII when needling :was performed on one side only.

EXAMPLE xxx A nonwoven patterned carpet type material was made by needling restrained cross-laid yarn on top of warplaid tow into restrained cross-laid yard. The cross-laid plied but untwisted yarn consisted of two ends of 3750 total denier bulked continuous filament polypropylene (solution dyed to a green shade). The warp tow convsisted of nine ends of 45,000 total denier polypropylene crimped continuous filaments (solution dyed to blue shade). The top yarn consisted of one end of a blue hand knitting yarn (50/50 wool/nylon). A frame was used which consisted of two parallel rows of pins, each fixed in a 1/2 inch steel bar containing teeth in its underside. The rows were 12 inches apart and the pins were spaced 1/2 inch apart in each row. Each row was 72 inches long. The strands of polypropylene yarn was laid down in the frame by attaching each to a single pin of one of the 'rows of pins. The pins in the row to which the yarn ends were initially attached were the forward pins in the row. Each yarn end so attached was snugly draped across the frame to the other row of pins and each end or strand of yarn was looped about a pin on the other row. The angle of each strand to the row of pins was 60. Each looped yarn was again snugly draped across the frame in the other direction and the yarns were looped around pins in the first row, each being rearward of pins to which the strands were originally attached such that the internal angle formed by each yarn strand was 60. The looping procedure was repeated three times across the frame each time creating, on looping, an internal angle of 60. A total of 9 ends of the polypropylene tow were warp-laid on top of the cross-laid polypropylene yarn, that is, they were laid parallel to and between the rows of pins and were equally spaced from one another across the width of the cross-laid material. These warp-laid ends of tow were held under essentially little restraint during the needling. A single end of the `blue knitting yarn was then cross-laid in the manner described above for the cross-laid polypropylene yarn, thereby creating three layers with the heavy tow bundles sandwiched between two cross-laid yarn structures.

Needling was done in two passes with a 15 X 18 x 32 gauge x 31/2 inch regular bar needle with a needle density of 46 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 5%; inch below the surface of the bed plate on the first pass and 1/2 inch on the second, and 735 penetrations per square inch were achieved in each of two passes for a total of 1470 penetrations per square inch. The needler was advanced 1/16 inch per stroke on both passes at a rate of 240 strokes per minute. Needling on both passes was from the top while the material was on the frame. As a final step an acrylic latex binder was sprayed on the back or bottom side of the product. The weight of the product was 24.5 ounces per square yard of fiber plus 9.0 ounces per square yard of binder for a total of 33.5 ounces per square yard.

The heavy blue dimensionally stable product was pleasing in appearance. The top cross-layer of yarn was readily apparent on one side of the product and appeared faintly on the other in the needling operation. There was some nap but it was not excessive. In this manner, the needling through the structure provided an excellent means of styling by careful selection of yarn color and geometry of the cross-laid yarn material.

EXAMPLE XXXI A nonwoven carpet-like structure was produced by using an unmodified Hunter laboratory needler and needling tow under restraint. A wooden frame was constructed similar to that described in Example XIV except that the pin spacing lwas two inches instead of ll/z inches.

A plied tow bundle was produced by twisting two ends of 180,000 denier Dynel crimped tow, one consisting of 3 d.p.f. (purple) and the other at 40 d.p.f. (white). The twist frequency .was approxiamtely 10 turns per foot and alternate ends of S direction twist and Z direction twist were laid down on the frame by attaching, etc.

Needling was done with a 15 x 18 X 32 gauge X 31/2 RB needle at a needle density of 46 needles per inch of width. Needle tip penetration was 3A inch below the top surface of the bed plate on each of three passes alternating between the top and bottom sides. The top side was needled first on the frame and the second and third passes were off the frame on the bottom side and top sides respectively. Approximately 92 penetrations per square inch were affected per pass for a total of 276 penetrations per square inch. The wooden frames were advanced through the needler by hand at a rate of approximately 1/2 inch per stroke at 240 strokes per minute. The weight of the final product was 45 ounces per square yard.

The final sample illustrated the increased locking-in of the filaments which was affected in part by the relatively high twist imparted to the plied tow bundles. In addition, a novel chevron-type patterning capability was achieved via the plied twist configuration of the two colors of tow and alternate twist directions.

`By the process of our invention we can prepare a wide variety of needled structures and materials, having application in many different areas. Uses include carpeting, bating or stuffing materials, filter media, drapery and upholstery materials, rug underlay materials and blankets, as well as apparel type textile materials including interliners and outerwear fabrics. These structures respond well to conventional washing and/ or dry cleaning and the appearance and stability are substantially unchanged. The various embodiments of our invention provide such a wide variety of weights, strengths and textures in our nonwoven materials that they can be adapted for use in almost any area where conventional textiles (wovens and knits) and nonwovens are employed.

Carpeting made from continuous tow according to our invention has tensile strength equaling or exceeding that of conventional tufted or nonwoven carpeting. In our material a homogeneous mixture of fibers is provided throughout the carpeting. This ensures maximum life for the carpeting and contrasts with conventional nonwoven carpeting which requires a non-homogeneous reinforcing scrim in the middle of the material and thereby limits the wear on a face of the carpeting at that mid-point. The relatively continuous lengths of fibers contained in the pile members of the carpet made by our process minimize fuzzing and pilling. These carpet materials can be readily piece-dyed to any shade via conventional textile dyeing processes.

A floor wear test was conducted on the carpet samples made in Examples XXIV through XXIX. For comparison a commercially available nonwoven indoor-outdoor carpeting sample was also tested. The various samples were laid down in a heavily trafficked building corridor and an electric eye counter was used to record the nurnber of cycles to which the samples were subjected, one cycle equaling one person walking over the carpeted area. The test consisted of two twenty-thousand cycle periods with a conventional commercial carpet cleaning being performed after each 20,000 cycle period. No changes in response to this heavy trafiic were noticeable on the carpet samples after the first 20,000 cycles. While some fuzzing of the surface and compaction of the overall sample was observed during the test, the test samples using various pile fibers (nylon, polyester (Kodel), Dynel and polypropylene) showed little differences and all were comparable in overall wear characteristics to indooroutdoor carpet control sample.

Using present day technology, dimensionally stable sheets of batting are made by first forming a scrim material (woven) via conventional looming techniques and then needling lose batting to the scrim to form a mat. Our invention provides a single step process for making a stable mat having ample strength without a separate supporting scrim. Our Ause of continuous lengths of yarn Y or tow also provides unique fiexibility in the properties of the nonwoven material which can be achieved. The control of the structural orientation of the fibers possible in our process is an important advantage in the production of nonwoven materials for certain purposes, particularly for filter media or for those applications where tensile strength is of particular importance.

For textile structures suitable for apparel and the like our process provides nonwoven fabrics with properties equaling or exceeding woven textiles in particular applications. Thus, our structures provide excellent resistance to yarn slippage at relatively low constructions that would normally not be achievable in a woven material of the same geometry. In addition, our products provide stretch characteristics which are inherent in knit structures, but absent in conventional woven materials. Effects are created during needling which simulate what can be aachieved in conventional textile napping operations to form a nap or fuzz on the surface of the fabric.

Our materials are well adapted to use as clothing interliners when proper finishing techniques are applied in heat treatment, with or without binder application. Our materials provide high strengths because of the continuous lengths of fiber used, and have the further advantage of not unravelling during the garment cutting operation, as would be the case with comparable woven structures.

What is claimed is:

1. Method of making a nonwoven textile of substantially uniform structure which comprises laying down strands of yarn or tow in a predetermined pattern of at least two layers, the strands of one layer crossing the strands of the other, between two rows of restraining means and then mechanically intermingling and interlocking at least some of the strands from one layer with at least some of the strands from the other layer while said strands are under restraint.

2. Method according to claim 1 wherein said mechanical interlocking is achieved by needle punching.

3. Method according to claim 1 wherein said mechanical interlocking is achieved by needle punching with barbed needles.

4. Method according to claim 1 wherein said mechanical interlocking is achieved by needle punching with barbless needles.

5. Method according to claim 1 wherein said restraining means are pins around which said strands are looped.

6. Method according to claim 1 wherein multiple strands are held by each restraining means.

7. Method according to claim 1 wherein said strands comprise continuous filament yarn.

8. Method according to claim 1 wherein said strands comprise said staple-spun yarn.

9. Method according to claim 1 wherein said strands comprise continuous filament tow of a denier above about 5,000.

10. Method of making a nonwoven textile of substantially uniform structure which comprises laying down strands of yarn or tow in a predetermined pattern of at least two cross-laid layers, the strands of one layer crossing the strands of the other, between two rows of restraining means, laying down under restraint at least one layer of warp strands of yarn or tow on at least one side of said cross-laid layers and then mechanically intermingliug and interlocking at least some of the strands from adjacent cross-laid layers with each other and at least some of the strands from said warp with at least some of the strands from said cross-laid layers, while said strands are under restraint.

11. Method according to claim wherein said mechanical interlocking is achieved by needle punching.

12. Method according to claim 10 wherein said mechanical interlocking is achieved by needle punching with barbed needles.

13. Method according to claim 10 wherein said mechanical interlocking is achieved by needle punching with barbless needles.

14. Method according to claim 10 wherein said restraining means are pins around which said strands are looped.

15. Method according to claim 10 wherein multiple strands are held by each restraining means.

16. Method according to claim 10 wherein said strands comprise continuous filament yarn.

17. Method according to claim 10 wherein said strands comprise said staple-spun yarn.

18. Method according to claim 10 wherein said strands comprise continuous filament tow of a denier above about 5,000.

19. Method of making nonwoven textile of substantially uniform structure which comprises laying down strands 0f yarn or tow in a predetermined pattern of at least layers, the strands of one layer crossing the strands of the other to form a first included angle, between two rows of restraining means, laying down additional strands of yarn or tow in a predetermined pattern of at least two additional layers, the strands of one of said additional layers crossing the strands of the other of said additional layers to form a second included angle different from said first included angle, between said rows of restraining means, and then mechanically intermingling and interlocking at least some of the strands from the initial layers with one another and with at least some of the strands from said additional layers, at least two of which strands from said additional layers are also mechanically intermingled and interlocked with one another, all while said strands are under restraint.

20. Method according to claim 19 wherein said mechanical interlocking is achieved by needle punching.

21. `Method according to claim 19 wherein said mechanical interlocking is achieved by needle punching with barbed needles.

22. Method according to claim 19 wherein said mechanical interlocking is achieved by needle punching with barbless needles.

23. Method according to claim 19 wherein said restraining means are pins around which said strands are looped.

24. Method according to claim 19 wherein multiple strands are held by each restraining means.

2S. Method according to claim 19 wherein said strands comprisecontinuous filament yarn.

26. Method according to claim 19 wherein said strands comprise said staple-spun yarn.

27. Method according to claim 19 wherein said strands comprise continuous filament tow of a denier above about 5,000.

218. Method of making a nonwoven textile of substantially uniform structure which comprises Ilaying down strands of yarn or tow in a predetermined pattern to form at least two cross-laid layers, the strands of one layer crossing the strands of the other, between two rows of restraining means, positioning at least one secondary layer of fibers proximate to yat least one side of said crosslaid layers and then mechanically intermingling and interlocking at least some of the strands from one cross-laid layer with at least some of the strands from the other cross-laid layer While said strands are under restraint and also mechanically intermingling and interlocking at least some of the strands from said cross-laid layers with at least some of the fibers of said secondary layer.

29. Method according to claim 2.8 wherein said mechanical interlocking is achieved by needle punching.

30. Method according to claim 28' wherein said mechanical interlocking is achieved by needle punching with barbed needles.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification28/109, 28/107
International ClassificationD04H3/04, D04H3/02, D04H3/10, D04H3/08
Cooperative ClassificationD04H3/10, D04H3/04
European ClassificationD04H3/10, D04H3/04