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Publication numberUS3666608 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 30, 1972
Filing dateFeb 11, 1970
Priority dateFeb 11, 1970
Publication numberUS 3666608 A, US 3666608A, US-A-3666608, US3666608 A, US3666608A
InventorsMattes William J
Original AssigneeKimberly Clark Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Disposable towel
US 3666608 A
Abstract  available in
Images(3)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

May 30, 1972 J MATTES 3,666,608

DISPOSABLE TOWEL Filed Feb. 11, 1970 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 wa l /a? 7//// J //////Z/' y 30, 1972 w. J. MATTES 3,666,608

DISPOSABLE TOWEL Filed Feb. 11, 1970 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 W!!! lilll lll i n' nlml I! Miami Wrap/140a May 30, 1972 w. J. MATTES DISPOSABLE TOWEL 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Feb. 11, 1970 4H f f United States Patent 3,666,608 DISPOSABLE TOWEL William J. Mattes, Neenah, Wis., assignor to Kimberly- Clark Corporation, Neenah, Wis. Filed Feb. 11, 1970, Ser. No. 10,578 Int. Cl. B32b /00; D04h 13/00 US. Cl. 161-62 8 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A disposable towel having a central absorbent core encased within a nonwoven high-loft material. The highloft material has a backing layer of flexible adhesive and a multiplicity of elements which are individually looped outward from said backing layer with the ends of each loop embedded in the backing layer.

This invention related to an absorbent towel and more particularly to a disposable towel having soft surface texture as well as good absorbency characteristics.

Currently there are two general types of towels in widespread domestic and industrial use: cloth and paper. Both types of towels have certain disadvantages. The cloth towels which are woven are costly to manufacture as compared with paper towels. Paper towels though cheaply available to the consuming public are limited by their very nature to simple wipe or superficial drying. The ease with which paper towels tear upon their use in drying is also a common disadvantage. Perhaps even more annoying to the consuming public is their coarse or hard feel upon use in drying more sensitive parts of the body such as the face.

Both types of towels tend to have a wet feel upon use; the paper towels reach this condition immediately whereas the cloth or woven towels, which have greater absorbency capacity, may be used several times before such occurs. It should be noted however that the number of uses required to reach this condition for cloth or woven towels decreases with the life of the towel.

-It is therefore a primary object of the present invention to provide an economical disposable towel.

It is another object of the invention to provide a disposable towel with absorption qualities similar to cloth or woven towels.

It is yet another object to limit the absorption qualities of body drying disposable towels such that water is not adsorbed on the surface of the towel.

A further object of the invention is to provide a disposable towel which has a cloth towel feel and strength.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a disposable towel embodying the invention;

FIG. 1A is a perspective view of an alternative form of disposable towel embodying the invention, with fragments thereof broken away to reveal the internal structure;

FIG. 2 is a section taken along line 2-2 in FIG. 1;

FIG. 2A is a fragmentary section taken along line 2A2A in FIG. -1A;

FIG. 3 is a schematic side elevation of one form of apparatus which may be used to produce the improved high-loft fiber material included in the disposable towel of FIGS. 1 and 2',

PG. 4 is a fragmentary plan view somewhat simplified and exaggerated for the sake of clarity of illustration, of an illustrative web of base material prepared by the apparatus of FIG. 3 with portions of the material broken away to expose the various layers;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary plan view of the high-loft fiber material employed in the disposable towel of FIGS. 1 and 2 with portions broken away to expose the various layers;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged, simplified and somewhat exaggerated section taken along line 6-6 in FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged, simplified and somewhat exaggerated section taken alonge line 7-7 in FIG. 5;

FIG. 8 is a further enlarged schematic side elevation illustrating in somewhat idealized fashion the sequence of gathering and looping of individual fibers;

FIG. 9' is a simplified schematic view taken along the lines 99 of still another sequence as shown in FIG. '8;

FIG. 10 is an enlarged schematic fragmentary view taken along the lines 1010 of FIG. 8 showing a fragment of the fiber web and adhesive pattern with illustrative fibers attached to the adhesive;

FIG. 11 is a simplified view taken along the lines 11-11 of still another sequence as shown in FIG. 8;

FIG. 12 is an enlarged schematic bottom view showing the sequence of the partial consolidation or closing of the open adhesive pattern to form a discontinuous adhesive backing.

While the invention will be described in connection with certain preferred embodiments, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to these particular embodiments. On the contrary, it is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications, and equivalent arrangements as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Turning now to the drawings, and referring first to FIGS. 1 and 2, there is shown a disposable towel constructed in accordance with the invention having a main absorbent core 12. of fluid absorbent material, and outer layers of fluid pervious nonwoven high-loft material 14.

For the absorbent core 12 it is preferred to use creped cellulose wadding. The thickness of the wadding is dependent on the absorbency desired for the finished prodnet, and may range between a single layer of wadding for a light duty wipe or towel, to 8-12 plies of wadding for a heavy duty wipe or bath towel. Multiple plies of cellulose wadding, each ply having a basis weight of about six pounds per ream of 2880 ft. have been used with good results.

In accordance with the present invention, the fluid pervious outer layers 14 of the disposable towel are con structed of a high-loft nonwoven fabric material. This material has a backing layer 15 of flexible adhesive which is discontinuous to afford the requisite fluid permeability, disposed adjacent to the central absorbent core, and an exposed surface of looped fibers, with the base of each loop anchored in the backing layer. By selection of the fizers utilized in the formation of this material, the surface characteristics of the towel may be varied to suit particular end uses. For example, while fiber sizes over 1.0 to 10.0 denier range may be successfully utilized, it is preferred to use very fine denier fibers, illustratively in the denier range of 1.5 to 3, to provide a uniform surface appearance and a soft texture. On the other hand, for bath towels where a somewhat rougher surface texture may be desired, 6 denier or somewhat larger fibers may be used. The fibers may possess either hydrophobic or hydrophilic properties to obtain given towel characteristics. Thus, if the towels are to be used only for wipe applications, all hydrophobic fibers may be used in the outer layer material 14. However, if the towels are to be used for drying parts of the human body, at least a portion of the total fiber content of the outer layer material should be hydrophilic fibers to avoid any feeling of stickiness when a towel is applied to wet skin.

In the form of the invention shown in FIG. 1, the assembly of outer high-loft layers 14 and adsorbent core 12 has been embossed in the diamond embossment pattern formed by diagonal lines 17. Embossing at elevated temperature causes the fiber loops to be flattened and pressed into the adhesive backing layers 15 and the adhesive of the backing layers to be activated so that it adheres to the surface of the adjacent wadding layers 19 thus providing greater structural integrity in the multiple layer product.

The fluid pervious high-loft material 14 is preferably prepared by the method and apparatus illustrated in FIG. 3. This apparatus includes a web forming section 18 and an adhesive compacting and fiber looping section 40. The web forming section 18 is generally similar to the apparatus disclosed in copending application Ser. No. 553,483 and now US. Pat. No. 3,553,065, to which reference may be made for details of the method not disclosed here.

Multiple slivers 19 of textile fibers are led from their respective supply cans (not shown) into a draw frame 20 which comprises a series of pairs of grooved rolls 22, the rolls of each pair being driven by appropriate gearing well known in the art, at a peripheral rate of speed slightly faster than the rate of operation of the preceding pair. As the juxtaposed slivers pass through the draw frame 20, the individual fibers are drafted and spread out to form a flat striated web of substantially alined fibers as shown at 24. The web 24 is fed to a supporting conveyor sheet 26 on the surface of which a patterned adhesive has been previously applied. In the illustrative arrangement the conveyor sheet 26 comprises an endless conveyor belt treated on at least its upper surface with a release agent, e.g., a woven glass fiber belt with a surface coating of tetrafluoroethylene resin or other release coating.

While various known adhesives may be employed, it should, however, be appreciated that the articular adhesive used is dependent upon the characteristics of the fibrous web that is being employed and the desired end use of the fabric. The adhesive should be reactivatable and softened at temperatures which will not degrade the particular fibrous material being used. In addition, the adhesives should also be applicable to the base web 24 by procedures which will not disarrange the fibrous structure of the web, be reactivatable in the subsequent adhesive gathering and partial consolidation stage of the process, and form a flexible discontinuous backing layer for the finished fabric while strongly bonding the fiber loops in place.

While various well-known adhesives may be employed in the foregoing process, advantages reside in the use of plastisols, which are colloidal dispersions of synthetic resins in a suitable organic ester plasticizer, and which under the influence of heat provide good binding power while remaining soft and flexible. Those found particularly useful for incorporation in the product of this invention include vinyl chloride polymers, and copolyrners of vinyl chloride with other vinyl resins, plasticized by organic phthalates, sebacates, or adipates. These provide a fast curing plastisol adhesive characterized by relatively low viscosity, low migration tendencies, and minimum volatility. Such adhesives remain soft and flexible after curing, and can be reactivated by subsequent heating.

It has been found that other adhesive systems may be employed in the process, such as organisols, utilizing resins such as the vinyl chloride polymers, and copolymers. Furthermore, other adhesives may be employed provided that they satisfy specified characteristics in the base web forming stage, and in the finished fabric produced in the adhesive compacting and fiber looping stage. For example, emulsions of thermoplastic resins such as acrylics and rubber-like compounds, illustratively ABS, have the requisite properties to serve as the bonding adhesive for the web 24.

The adhesive is actualy on the underside of belt 26 which becomes the upper surface after passing around roll 30 whereby the adhesive pattern 28 directly contacts the fiber web 24. The pattern is shown as being visible in FIG. 4 only for illustrative purposes.

In the application of the adhesive to the base web, it has been observed that by increasing the adhesive viscosity a sharp, distinct printed pattern will be obtained such that the fibers are securely attached to the adhesive at distinct spaced points and are not embedded in adhesive throughout their length. It is desired to have spaced points of fiber adhesive attachment so that the fiber loops in the finished material will be distinctly and separately formed so as to extend outwardly from the bonding adhesive layer. Fiber sizes over the entire preferred range of 1.5 to 3.6 denier have been successfully utilized in the base web with A" diamond pattern of adhesive.

When light weight webs such as those of polyester are used, the ratio of fiber to adhesive may be approximately 1:1. It has been found that the degree of adhesive-fiber attachment in the base web is affected when the fiber to adhesive ratio with such type fibers is increased above about 2.5 1. It has been found that the fiber loops neither form properly nor are sufficiently attached to the adhesive layer in the finished fabric.

On the other hand, increasing the relative amount of adhesive in the base web tends to produce a thicker adhesive layer in the finished material and more secure fiber attachment, but the adhesive lines tend to disperse so that the pattern becomes less open affecting the height of the loops, which is undesirable. The fiber-adhesive ratio will be difierent, however, for base webs of yarns and threads where it appears that less amounts of adhesive, relatively speaking, will provide adequate attachment of the loops to the adhesive backing layer.

The belt 26 is fed around roll 30 at a speed slightly in excess of the delivery speed of the final pair of rolls 22 in order to maintain the web 24 under slight tension after it has been received on the belt whereby the individual highly-drafted fibers are retained in their alined and ten sioned condition. Drive rolls 34, 36 are rotated to drive the belt 26 at a speed sufficient to maintain the proper tension on the web 24.

In the method shown for applying adhesive, the belt 26 is fed through a nip formed between a printing roll 38 and a back-up roll 41 maintained in very light pressure engagement therewith. The surface of the printing roll 38 is provided with an intaglio pattern which picks up adhesive 42 from dip pan 46. Part of the adhesive thus picked up is removed by a doctor blade 48 leaving only the intaglio patterned surface filled. The printing roll 38 then transfers this metered amount of adhesive in a preselected pattern to the underside of release coated belt 26. The pattern shown in FIG. 4 is in the form of an open diamond pattern of adhesive.

Since the surface of the belt 26 is treated with a release coating, the adhesive remains substantially on the surface with no penetration therein and is preferably in a somewhat tacky condition. The printed belt is drawn from the printing nip around roll 30 positioned closely adjacent the output end of the draw frame 20, and, as stated above, at a speed slightly in excess of the delivery speed of the last two rolls in the draw frame. The web 24 emerging from the draw frame 20 is deposited on the tacky adhesive on the belt 26 and held in tensioned engagement therewith by the adhesive and the abovementioned speed differential. This continuous tension prevents the fibers in the web from losing their highly-drafted and alined condition.

If desired, additional alined and highly-drafted fibers may be added to the web 24 on the adhesively printed belt 26. For this purpose a second draw frame 50 similar to the draw frame 20 is provided to draft slivers 52 of fibers and deposit the web of fibers on the moving web 24 carried by the belt 26. In such cases, the amount of adhesive printed on the belt 26 is increased so that the adhesive pattern reaches the fibers from the second draw frame 50, and the speed differential of the belt 26 relative to the last pair of rolls in the draw frame 50, maintains these fibers under sight tension whereby they also maintain their highly-drafted and alined condition.

An example of the Web 24 formed by the apparatus 16 is shown in FIG 4. As previously mentioned, a series of parallel and diagonally disposed lines of adhesive are printed in criss-cross fashion on the belt 26 to form a pattern 28 of adhesive having substantial open spaces in the configuration of diamonds. It should be appreciated, of course, that FIG. 4 is only intended to be illustrative and, while the lines representing the fibers for both components 54 and 57 are spaced apart for clarity, in practice the highly-drafted fibers of both components are very close to one another. Following deposit of web components 54 and 56 on the adhesive printed belt 26, the belt is drawn around a heated drum 58 where fusing and curing of the adhesive is substantially completed while the web 24 is maintained in firm contact therewith to bond the individual fibers. To insure effective heating and fusing of the adhesive, it is desirable that travel of the combined belt and web be around a substantial portion of the drum 58. In the illustrated embodiment, a fly roll 60 is disposed to provide wrap for the combined belt and web as they travel around the drum S8 to insure complete embedment of the fibers in the adhesive. The fibers of the web 24 are thus bonded together while retaining their highly-drafted and substantially alined condition in the particular pattern in which they were deposited on the open pattern of adhesive 28 printed on the belt 26.

After leaving the fly roll 60, the combined web 24 and belt 26 are preferably passed over the drive roll 36 which also serves as a cooling drum, to set the adhesive. The bonded web 24 is stripped from the release coated surface of the belt 26 by the guide roll 62 as the web leaves the cooling roll 36.

The base material made as heretofore described and comprising a web of highly-drafted fibers embedded in an open adhesive pattern, is then fed into an adhesive consolidating and fiber looping section 40 shown in FIG. 3. Entering this section, the web 24 is fed around an idler roll 64 and onto the surface of a heated forming drum 66. The forming drum is maintained at a temperature which will soften the adhesive to a tacky state so that it adheres to the drum surface. If heat settable fibers are employed, the drum temperature should be such as to raise the temperature of the fibers into their heat-setting range. The drum 66 is made of metal with a highly polished surface which is internally heated and the web 24 is carried a substantial distance around the drum 66 with the open pattern of adhesive 25 in contact with the heated drum surface.

As the web 24 is carried around the drum 66, the heat from the drum surface reactivates and softens the adhesive printed on the underside of the web, causing it to become tacky and to adhere slightly to the drum surface. If heat settable fibers are used, the heat from the drum also heats the fibers into their heat-setting temperature range below the melting point of the adhesive to prevent dispersion of the adhesive into the fibers of the web and to minimize bonding of the adhesive lines. After the web has been carried around the drum a suflicient distance for the adhesive and fibers to be heated to a desired temperature, the web of fibers and softened adhesive is reformed by the cooperative action of the drum 66 and a fixed gathering blade 68 having a flat edge 70 placed against the drum surface. The blade edge 70 operates to consolidate the open adhesive pattern 28 into a substantially continuous backing layer of adhesive while simultaneously looping the fibers of the web outwardly from the open spaces in the original adhesive pattern. The angle a of the blade edge 70 is preferably about 34 but may be varied within certain critical limits, depending upon other parameters such as, for example, type of adhesive pattern and fiber stiffness. For a more complete explanation of such details of the method, reference may be made to copending applications Ser. No. 498,929 and Ser. No. 553,483. The reformed and consolidated material 72 then leaves the blade edge 70 and moves onto a flat take-01f surface 74 and a discharge conveyor 76.

The speed at which the material leaves the gathering blade is closely coordinated with the surface speed of the drum to control the properties of the material. The slower the take-away speed, the more dense the fiber structure and the backing layer. In keeping with an important aspect of this invention, it is desired that the backing layer of the material be porous, so that in the finished towel the material will allow passage of water to the absorbent core. To this end, as shown in FIG. 3, the bonding of transverse lines of adhesive is minimized by maintaining the take-off surface 74 at the ambient temperature or only slightly higher by directing an air spray 78 at the bottom surface of the take-0E member 74. While this provides adequate cooling to carry out the objectives of the conditioning step, other means such as a water spray or a refrigerated fluid could be employed to provide a lower temperature if desired. Indeed, as long as the fluid is inert as regards the fibers and adhesives, application may be directly on the partially consolidated and reformed web. In this connection, it should be noted that the adhesive should be maintained below its melting point to minimize the flowing together of the merging adhesive lines which would provide undesired bonds.

Turning now to FIGS. 6 through 12 the method of making the high-loft, nonwoven fabric 72 will be explained briefly in connection with an illustrative sequence of the gathering and looping of a single fiber of the web 24 and the partial consolidation of the illustrative diamond adhesive pattern 28. As seen in FIG. 10 the fiber has a portion P which extends across the open space of the diamond pattern of adhesive 28 from point A to B where it is embedded in the adhesive. Referring to FIG. 8, the series views in this figure illustrates how the portion P of the fiber is formed into a loop; when point A being carried around the heated drum 66 impinges against the gathering blade edge 70, its forward motion is halted. Point B continues to advance with the drum surface since due to its softened and tacky condition it adheres to the smooth drum surface.

As point B advances relative to point A, the portion P of the fiber between points A and B is caused to bow outwardly from the drum surface. Finally, point B overtakes point A and these points of adhesive are brought close together without being consolidated as seen in FIG. 11. Referring to FIG. 8, the series of views in this figure illustrates how the portion P of the fiber is formed into a loop. While this is occurring, of course, additional adhesive points C-D, etc., traveling around the drum 66 impinge against the gathering blade edge 70 causing a consolidation of these adhesive points and looping of their intermediate fiber portions P as is also indicated in FIG. 12. This occurs simultaneously at all points across the Web at the blade edge producing a backing layer of adhesive from which extends the multiplicity of loops formed by the fibers of the base. The backing of adhesive is carried away from the blade edge along the take-off surface 74 and provides a backing layer for the outwardly looped fibers, thus producing the fabric 72.

Also, not only does each fiber portion P loop outwardly from the drum surface but as the loop is formed it may 7 twist or turn. The degree of loop twisting, and indeed, whether any twisting occurs, is dependent upon such factors as the degree of adhesive consolidation, fiber stiffness; blade edge angle and relative uniformity of loop size. In a particular situation, the loops may turn through an angle of up to 180.

As above noted, the desired high-loft material for use in the present invention must have sufficient porosity to allow the passage of water to the absorbent core. Accordingly, the take-away speed from the blade edge 70 is maintained at a rate so that the adhesive diamonds are not completely consolidated but are collapsed into flat hexagonal shapes in which the crossing points of adhesive have been transformed by partial consolidation of the adhesive into lines that form the sides of the highly elongated hexagons, as shown in FIG. 12. Furthermore, subsequently, the closed, compact form of the nonwoven fabric is preferably drawn or stretched apart to break the bonds of minimal strength between the lines of adhesive. The fabric is then allowed to relax to come to an equilibrium state in its drawn or open position (FIG.

The drawing may be accomplished by hand pulling the fabric along the machine direction. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 3, the fabric exit end of the conveyor 76 may be provided with a roll 80 to form a nip and a pair of rolls 82, also forming a nip. In this case, drawing is accomplished by driving the rollers 82 at a higher speed.

It should be appreciated that the heights of the fiber loops throughout the fabric vary according to the spacing between the points of attachment of each fiber to the open adhesive pattern in the base web. Referring to FIGS. 7, 10, and 11, it will be seen, for example, that the loop formed by the fiber portion P between the points of adhesive attachment C, D, will have a lower height than the loop formed by the longer fiber portion P between the points A, B. This results in a dense fabric with the lower loops supporting and filling around the higher loops and the top surface of the fabric being formed by the tops of the higher loops.

The denier of the fibers is preferably in the range of from 1.5 to about 3.0 denier. By heat-settable is meant that the fibers will maintain the looped configuration into which they have been formed.

rich, Akron, Ohio), about 60 pans of resin of GP-26F dioctyl phthalate plasticizer (B. F. Goodrich), 3.0 parts per of Cab-O-Sil pyrogenic silica resin (Cabot Corporation, Boston, Mass.) and 2 to 4 parts of Mineral Spirits, to bring the viscosity into the desired range (generally from about 3 to 5 percent by weight, based on the total weight of the other components for a viscosity range of 3500-4000 cps). The viscosities were measured with a Brookfield viscometer using a #4 spindle and operating at 20 rpm. The polyester used in the examples was Fortrel Type 400 staple fibers, commercially available from Celanese Fibers Marketing Company, Charlotte, N.C. The approximate tenacity of these fibers is 4.8 g.p.d. with elongation at break falling in the -50% range. Other physical properties include: loop tenacity (g.p.d.) 4,4, initial modulus (g.p.d.)-40-45 yield stress (g.p.d.), 1.0, yield strain 3, 78, specific gravity 1.38 and melting point500 F., denier of about 2.25 and an average fiber length of 2 /2".

The polyvinyl chloride plastisol, having a viscosity of from 3700 to 4000 centipoises, was applied in diagonal lines /2" apart in both directions to form a diamond pattern. Rotogravure printing was employed and the intaglio roll had adhesive cells or lines 0.006 deep and 0.028" wide. The weight of the base web was about 12.8 grams/ sq. yd., with equal weights of fiber and adhesive being included.

The preheat drum 58 in the first stage of forming the web was maintained at about 300 F. and operated at a surface speed of 65 ft./min. The base web 24 was thus carried to the heating drum 66 at a surface speed of 65 ft./

min.

The gathering blade 68 was positioned at an angle a of about 34 and maintained against the drum with a pressure of 27 p.s.i. The drum (9 inches in diameter) was internally heated and maintained at a temperature of about 260 F.

The take-away speed was 8 ft./ min. to provide a takeaway ratio (i.e.surface speed around drum/take-away speed) of 8.125.

The characteristics of several towel samples constructed in accordance with the present invention are tabulated in Table I:

TABLE I High-loft material Backing layer Cellulose wadding Fibers Embossing ercen sing e p ies asis, wt. Number Tern P S mple Type by Wt. Denier Adhesive gins/it. lbs/2880 it. of plies F?) A Polyester 2. 25 PVC plastisol 35 5 3 340 12 B g mme... 2g ag -do is s 6 350 10g i ayom... 24 6 C "{Pglyester 33% 2.25 8 350 125 If desired, a blend of fibers may be used in which only a portion of the fibers are heat settable. Moreover, not only highly drafted webs, but also carded or garnetted webs of staple length fibers may be used for the base web as well as directly laid alined Webs of monofilament. It has been noted, however, that when webs such as carded webs are used for the base web in which an important proportion of the fibers are randomly oriented, those fibers not alined with the machine direction appear to interfere with the loop production by the gathering blade. The most regular formation of loops has been produced with those base webs having the highest proportion of fibers alined with the machine direction as, for example, the highly drafted webs made with the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 3.

The method and apparatus of FIG. 3 was employed for forming the high-loft material for the products described in the ensuing examples. The adhesive used was a plastisol formulation including, by weight: 100 parts of Geon 135 polyvinyl chloride resin (manufactured by B. F. Good- As noted in the above table, multiple plies of cellulosic wadding are preferably employed for the towel absorbent cores. The exact number of plies will vary with the particular use for which the towel will be employed. For example a light duty towel may contain 2-3 plies; a hand towel may contain 3-4 plies; and a bath or beach towel may contain 6-8 plies or more. Samples A, B and C of Table I are of bath or beach towels and contain either 6 or 8 plies of cellulosic wadding. Sample A has a high-loft material for the outer layer made from a polyester fiber while samples B and C have outer layers of high-loft material made with rayon fibers or a combination of rayon and polyester fiber. It has been found that hydrophilic fibers or combinations of hydrophilic and hydrophobic fibers are preferred where the towel is to be used on the human body, and thus samples B and C are preferred examples of a towel constructed in accordance with the invention for bath towel use.

One important feature of the present invention resides in the manner in which the outer layers of nonwoven high-loft material are fastened into an integral structure with the multi-ply central absorbent core. In the preferred form of the invention, the complete assembly including the outer layers of high-loft material and the multiple plies of cellulosic wadding are patterned embossed to provide a structure of substantial integrity yet pleasing appearance. The temperature, pressure and time for embossing is included in Table I for samples A-C. Both sides of the assembly are' preferably exposed to heated patterned embossing, illustrativey at the pressure, time and temperature set forth in Table I, and the embossing members have a surface configuration which produces the desired embossment pattern, for example, a diamond pattern, as shown in FIG. 1. When this type of embossment is used, the fiber loops on the outer surface of the highloft material in the indented or depressed diagonal lines 91, are crushed or flattened and embedded in the backing layer of adhesive 28, as illustrated in FIG. 2, thus producing a pronounced surface diamond pattern in the finished towel. Because the embossing is done under both heat and pressure, the backing layer of adhesive for each outer layer of high-loft material is activated to a tacky state and caused to adhere to the surface of the wadding layer touched thereby. This takes place on both opposite surfaces of the absorbent core, while some adhesive may also be forced into the adjacent internal plies of wadding, to bond the surface and next adjacent wadding layers. The pressure and heat of the embossing also produced a limited degree of ply attachment throughout the central core of cellulosic wadding layers, which results in a total structure in which the central core is united to the outer layers sufficiently to hold together under vigorous use as a bath towel.

Whereas a diamond embossing pattern is illustrated for the towel shown in FIG. 1, it will be appreciated that other embossing patterns may be used, such as regular or irregular spot embossing patterns, depending on the surface appearance and degree of assembly integrity desired. embossing patterns, depending on the surface appearance and degree of assembly integrity desired.

As an alternative to the assembly illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the towel may be constructed with the outer layers 14 of high-loft material joined at their peripheral boundaries 92, as shown in FIGS. 1A and 2A. In such case, the outer layers 14 of high-loft material are subjected at their peripheral boundaries to a heat seal preferably accomplished with soft roll ringers under slight pressure and heat such that the looped fibers are not permanetly crushed and embedded in the backing layer of adhesive. Here the central core 94 is comprised of six layers of wadding 96. If the outer layers 14 are not pattern embossed throughout to the central core, the requisite structural integrity will be provided by back-to-back attachment around the peripheral edge of adhesive backing layers 28 of the highloft material serving as the outer layers enclosing the core. If desired, however, the towel assembly may be overall embossed as shown in [FIG. 1a and the high-loft outer layers marginally bonded, to combine the features previously described.

I claim as my invention:

i. A composite disposable towel comprising the combination of multiple plies of cellulosic wadding sheets forming a central absorbent core, and an outer layer of nonwoven high-loft material, said material having a discontinuous, porous backing layer formed by an open pattern of flexible adhesive, and a multiplicity of individual fiber loops extending outwardly from said backing layer with the ends of each loop embedded in said backing layer, each of said loops extending over the open spaces in said backing layer.

2. A composite disposable towel comprising the combination of multiple plies of cellulosic wadding sheets forming a central absorbent core, and outer layers of non- 10 Woven, high-loft material laminated to said core, said material having a discontinuous, porous backing layer formed by an open pattern of flexible adhesive, and a multiplicity of individual fiber loops extending outwardly from said backing layer with the ends of each loop embedded in said backing layer, each of said loops extending across the open spaces in said backing layer, the backing layer of said material being adhesively attached to the surface of an outside sheet of the core.

3. A composite disposable towel comprising the combination of multiple plies of cellulosic wadding sheets forming a central absorbent core, and outer layer of nonwoven, high-loft material, said material having a discontinuous, porous backing layer formed by an open pattern of flexible adhesive, and a multiplicity of individual fiber loops extending outwardly from said backing layer with the ends of each loop embedded in said backing layer, each of said loops extending over the open spaces in said backing layer, the peripheral edges of said outer layers of material extending beyond the edges of the core and being bonded to each other.

4. A composite disposable towel as set forth in claim 1, wherein the high-loft material weighs from about 5 to grams/ydF.

5. A composite disposable towel as set forth in claim 1 wherein 1 to 12 plies of cellulosic wadding sheets form said central absorbent core, each ply having a basis weight of about 6 lbs./ 2880 ft. ream.

6. A composite disposable towel comprising a combination of a cellulosic wadding central absorbent core, and outer layers of nonwoven, high-loft material, said material having a discontinuous, porous backing layer formed by a regular pattern of interlaced lines of flexible adhesive, and a multiplicity of individual fiber loops extending outwardly from said backing layer with the ends of each loop embedded in said backing layer, each of said loops extending over the open spaces in said backing layer, the backing layers of said material being adhesively attached to the outside surfaces of said absorbent core.

7. An absorbent assembly comprising a layer of highloft material adhesively attached to a layer of cellulosic wadding, said material having a discontinuous, porous backing layer formed by an open pattern of lines of flexible adhesive, and a multiplicity of individual fiber loops extending outwardly from said backing layer with the ends of each loop embedded in the adhesive lines of said backing layer, each of said loops extending over the open spaces in said backing layer.

8. An absorbent assembly comprising adjacent layers of high-loft material and cellulosic wadding, said material having a discontinuous, porous backing layer formed by an open pattern of lines of flexible adhesive, and a multiplicity of individual fiber loops extending outwardly from said backing layer with the ends of each loop embedded in the adhesive lines of said backing layer, each of said loops extending over the open spaces in said backing layer.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,271,216 9/ 1966 Koller 161-63 2,639,250 5/ 1953 Reinhardt 161-66 3,477,084 11/ 1969 Thomas l6 l-l29 2,531,931 l1/1950 Arkell l6l128 2,638,959 5/1953 Johnson l6l-'66 3,166,465 1/1965 Rahmes 16l--66 ROBERT F. BURNETT, Primary Examiner R. O. LINKER JR., Assistant Examiner US. Cl. X.R.

Referenced by
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Classifications
U.S. Classification428/81, 428/201, 428/95, 428/88, 428/89, 428/169, 428/172
International ClassificationD04H11/04, D04H11/00
Cooperative ClassificationD04H11/04
European ClassificationD04H11/04