US 3885911 A
A process for producing improved textile material with soil release characteristics which comprises applying thereto a soil release composition and passing gas through said textile material at a rate sufficient to remove excess soil release composition. Also, the product produced by this process.
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent (191 Habib [451 May 27, 1975 TEXTILE MATERIAL WITH SOIL RELEASE  Inventor: Emile E. Habib, Spartanburg, S.C.
 Assignee: Deering Milliken Research Corporation, Spartanburg, S.C.
 Filed: Oct. 14, 1968  Appl. No.: 767,382
Related US. Application Data  Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 756,072, Aug. 28,
 US. Cl. 8/115.6; 8/137; 8/DIG. 15; 8/DIG. 16
 Int. Cl. D06  Field of Search S/DIG. 15, DIG. 16, 137, 8/115.6; 68/DIG. 5; 118/63; 117/102 R, 102
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 246,547 8/1881 Patterson et a1 68/5 2,340,214 1/1944 Feikert 118/63 2,460,390 2/1949 McDermott 118/63 2,700,366 1/ 1955 Griebling 118/63 R X 3,087,320 4/1963 Fleissner 68/D1G. 5
3,242,702 3/1966 Feissner 68/5 3,258,943 7/1966 Claiborne 118/63 3,377,249 4/1968 Marco 8/1 15.6 3,647,353 3/1972 Calzaferri et a1. 8/D1G. 15
Primary Examiner-Thomas J. Herbert, Jr. Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Arthur L. Urban; H. William Petry [5 7] ABSTRACT A process for producing improved textile material with soil release characteristics which comprises applying thereto a soil release composition and passing gas through said textile material at a rate sufficient to remove excess soil release composition. Also, the product produced by this process.
12 Claims, 1 Drawing Figure j an??? 1915 l 9 p A INVENTOR.
EMILE E. HABIB TEXTILE MATERIAL WITH SOIL RELEASE This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 756,072 filed Aug. 28, 1968, now abandoned.
' Pat. No. 3,377,249.) With fabrics having soil release properties, soil and stains can be removed to a greater extent than was considered possible using conventional home laundering procedures.
It is customary to apply chemicals to textile materials and particularly fabrics, by padding the chemicals on the textile material with rolls. While padding is preferred for most chemical finishing because of the ease of application at high speeds the use of rolls does have certain drawbacks. For example, a thin liquid film is formed on the surface of each roll during padding with the result that there is always an excessive film of the chemical on the surface of the textile material due to contact with the exit side of the pad rolls. This surface film or layer is a. particular problem with soil release finishes and durable press finishes because of their tendency toward surface marking due to abrasion, that is, off-color streaking of the fabric when it is rubbed with a hard edge such as a fingernail.
Another undesirable effect which results with padding operations is the clogging of the interstices of the fabric so that the fabric is quite stiff with poor drapeability. This is highly objectionable. Increasing the pressure on the pad rolls does not alleviate the problem since even though a greater proportion of liquid may be squeezed from the fabric as it passes into contact with the rolls, the soil release chemicals are still present to an objectionable amount in the interstices.
We believe that during padding in the conventional manner, the pressure of the rolls squeezes the liquid off of the fibers and into the interstices of the fabric and when the pressure is released, the fabric springs back and absorbs the liquid onto the fiber surfaces; however, not all of this liquid is absorbed and some remains in the interstices to promote fabric stiffness and loss of drape.
Using conventional padding procedures to apply soil release chemicals, the proportion of the soil release chemicals on the fabric required to provide a high soil release rating was considered to be about 3 percent solids or more based on the dry weight of the fabric. Lesser amounts gave poor soil release characteristics. However, a fairly large proportion of the soil release chemicals was present in the interstitial voids and not being distributed on the fiber surfaces, did not contribute to the soil release properties. The present invention provides a novel process for achieving soil release properties equivalent to that attained with conventional methods while substantially reducing the proportion of the soil release chemicals required. About 2 percent of soil release chemical solids when using the present invention, gives as high a soil release rating as 3 percent solids using conventional padding techniques.
tially eliminated by a process which comprises applying a soil release composition to a textile material and passing a gas through said textile material at a rate sufficient to remove excess soil release composition from the interstices while inhibiting the formation of substantially any excessive film of the composition on the surface of the textile material. It is preferable to have the gas passed through the face of the textile material to its back thus leaving a minimum amount on the surface to inhibit marking.
A gas may be passed through the textile material, preferably in the form of a knitted, woven or nonwoven fabric, by a wide variety of expedients. Advantageously, a fabric is passed in contact with a vacuum source which will draw air through the fabric at a rate sufficient to remove excess amounts of the soil release chemicals. The passage of the gas through the fabric at such a high rate removes excess liquid located in the interstices of the fabric.
The gas passing through the fabric is generally air from the atmosphere, particularly when a vacuum is applied to the fabric. While such an arrangement is desirable, similar results may be achieved by blowing or otherwise inducing a positive flow of gas through the fabric. In such a situation, the air or any other gas may be heated or cooled as desired.
The flow of air or gas through the fabric will preferably be at a velocity between about 50 and 100 feet of air per second and particularly between about 60 and feet per second. This may be accomplished with a vacuum gauge reading between about 5 inches and 15 inches of mercury depending materially upon the particular dimensions of the slot or orifice and the construction of the fabric being treated.
Advantageously, the slot or orifice through which the flow of air moves is an elongated opening or arrangement of openings approximately the width of the fabric. The other dimension is preferably quite small. Thus, a slot or a plurality of openings are spaced in a general pattern from about three sixty-fourths to about A inch in width, and particularly between about one-sixteenth and A inch in width.
The method of the invention provides substantially complete removal of the excess liquid quickly and efficiently so that the fabric can be processed at high speeds, e.g., up to yards per minute or more, without decreasing the efficiency of the process. Likewise, textile material processed according to the invention achieves a substantially uniform liquid retention from side to side and along its length even though the fabric after immersion in the pad bath and prior to its exposure to the gas flow may be non-uniform in its liquid content.
The soil release composition of this invention and any other chemicals may be applied to the textile material by the conventional procedures including padding, although spraying, dipping and the like may be employed. In general, an initial wet pickup by the textile material of about 30 to 100 percent by weight is used. The pickup of chemical will vary with the fabric construction and the proportion of the chemical solids desired on the textile material as well as the total solids in the pad bath. If the initial pickup is excessive, squeeze rolls may be used to reduce the liquid content before the gas fiow treatment.
The amount of liquid remaining on the textile material after the gas flow treatment, for a given construction, will depend to a large extent upon the type of fiber or filament from which the textile material has been prepared. For example, the wet pickup of cotton fab- :rics is substantially greater than that of polyester/cotton fabrics due to the hydrophobicity of the polyester fibers. However, in any case, the processing conditions of the invention may be adjusted to remove excess liquid from the textile material even though the actual amounts of the original and final liquid contents may vary with the particular fiber and the fiber content.
The determination of the processing conditions advantageously may be accomplished by first selecting the amount of soil release chemicals required on a particular fabric in its finished state, second selecting a gas flow of an efficient rate to remove the excess liquid, and third adjusting the solids in the pad bath based on the above to give the required pickup of chemicals.
While the use of a single gas flow of high rate generally provides a sufficient removal of the excess chemicals to provide the benefits and advantages of the invention, it may be desirable to employ additional gas flows to insure adequate removal of the chemical or for other purposes. It has been found that the use of a second gas flow represented by one or more slots to lower the moisture content of the fabric reduces the tendency of the chemicals present to migrate during drying which would change the disposition of the chemicals within the fabric and across the surfaces thereof. This undesirable migration when present is visible as shadlng where a dye stuff is included in the process of the tnvention. It may be desirable in certain cases to supplement the flow of gas with auxiliary means positioned adjacent to the flow of gas to remove any droplets which may adhere to the lower surfaces of fabric. This may be accomplished, for example, using a felt wick or :fine screen on which the fabric travels over the slot. It is important to insure that the flow of gas through the fabric is substantially uniform across the fabric without significant channelling or other non-uniform flow patterns.
The process of present invention is useful in the treatment of a wide variety of textile materials made from natural or synthetic fibers or blends of such fibers. Examples of natural fibers include cotton, linen, and flax. Suitable synthetic fibers include both regenerated cellulose fibers such as viscose rayon and synthetic polymeric fibers, for example, polyamides, acrylics and particularly polyesters and blends thereof. Durable press garments and articles generally are made from blends of polyester and cotton or rayon fibers. While the textile material undergoing treatment is preferably in the form of a fabric, the process of the invention may be used on fibers. yarns, threads and the like.
The soil release composition employed in the process of the present invention may include one or more of a large number of different soil release compounds and chemicals, for example, synthetic acid polymers, low molecular weight polyesters, fluorochemicals and polymerizable monomers of such compounds for in situ formation of the soil release composition.
Synthetic acid polymers suitable as the soil release composition of the present invention may be prepared from any of the polymerizable organic acids, i.e., those having reactive points of unsaturation, e.g., one of the acrylic acids. These polymers may be homopolymers of the acids or interpolymers of an acid and other monomers copolymerizable therewith so long as at least percent by weight acid is present in the polymer. Examples of polymerizable acids that may be used are acrylic acid, maleic acid, fumaric acid, methacrylic acid, itaconic acid, crotonic acid, cinnamic acid, polymerizable sulfonic acids, polymerizable phosphoric acids, etc. Monomers that may be interpolymerized with the above acids include monomers capable of copolymerizing with the acids which will not adversely affect the polymer. Suitable monomers include esters of the above acids prepared by reacting the acid with an alkyl alcohol, e.g., acrylic esters such as ethyl acrylate, methyl acrylate, propyl acrylate, isopropyl acrylate, 2- ethylhexyl acrylate, butyl acrylate, methyl methacrylate, ethyl methacrylate, butyl methacrylate, etc.; alkyl fumarates, maleates, crotonates, cinnamates, etc.; vinyl halides; monomers having vinylidene groups, e.g., styrene, acrylonitrile, methylstyrene; substituted vinyl monomers, e.g., chlorostyrene, butadiene, etc. Various mixtures of the above polymers also may be employed in the process of the present invention as well as salts of the acid polymers, e.g., sodium, potassium, lithium, ammonium salts, etc.
Examples of synthetic acid polymers that may be used according to the present invention are the following combinations:
ethyl acrylatezacrylic acid ethyl acrylatezacrylic acidzacrylamide butyl acrylatezacrylic acid ethyl acrylatezmethacrylic acid ethyl acrylatezitaconic acid methyl methacrylatezacrylic acid 2-ethyl hexyl acrylatezacrylic acid acrylamidezacrylic acid butyl acrylatezacrylic acidzacrylamide ethyl acrylatezacrylic acidzN-methylol acrylamide ethyl acrylatezacrylic acidzstyrene ethyl acrylatezacrylic acidzhydroxypropyl methacrylate ethyl acrylatezacrylic acidzdivinyl benzene ethyl acrylatezacrylic acidzallylacrylamide ethyl acrylatezacrylic,acidzglycidyl acrylate ethyl acrylatezsodium styrene sulfonate ethyl acrylatezcrotonic acid styrenezacrylic acid ethyl acrylatezacrylic acidzhydroxyethyl methacrylate hydroxyethyl methacrylatezacrylic acidzacrylamide butyl acrylate:ethyl acrylatezacrylic acid and the like.
As noted above, the acid polymer should contain at least about 10 percent by weight acid calculated as acrylic acid. Preferably, the acid polymer contains at least about 20 percent by weight acid and particularly between about 30 percent and percent acid. Copolymers of acrylic acid or methacrylic acid with an acrylate ester such as ethyl acrylate are considered to be especially useful.
The soil release composition is preferably applied as an aqueous dispersion. Advantageously, between about 2 percent and 40 percent and preferably between about 5 percent and 35 percent by weight of the soil release chemical is present in the aqueous dispersion. In terms of the proportion of the soil release chemical on the textile material, it is desirable to have between about 0.2 percent and 7 percent by weight thereof based on the dry weight of the textile material and preferably between about 0.5 percent and 4 percent by weight.
The soil release composition may include other ingredients in addition to the soil release chemicals, for example, emulsifying agents, wetting agents, softeners and other compounds that enhance the physical characteristics of the textile materials. Durable press characteristics may be achieved by the application to a fabric of a textile resin or a vinyl monomer with dual functionality as described in US. Pat. No. 3,377,249. Such durable press materials, together with any required catalysts, may be applied simultaneously with the soil release composition or sequentially therewith.
The invention will be described in greater detail with reference to the accompanying drawing which shows an illustration of one embodiment of the process of the present invention.
As shown in the drawing, a fabric 11 is guided over rolls 12, 13, and between squeeze rolls 14 with roll 13 being positioned to immerse the fabric 1 1 in a liquid 16 contained in bath 17. The fabric emerging from liquid 16 passes between squeeze rolls 14 and across a slot 18 in a distributor chamber 19 which has a control valve 20. Chamber 19 is connected to storage container 23 through a line 22. Storage container 23 is connected to a vacuum pump 24 through line 26 which includes a three way control valve 27 with one port opening directly to the air. Storage chamber 23 has a hinged cover 28 from which is suspended a baffle 29. A screen bucket 31 is disposed within container 23 to collect solid contaminants. Container 23 also is fitted with a vacuum gauge 32 and a level control 33 which activates a pump 34 connected to container 23 through line 36. Pump 34 has a discharge line 37 to bath 17.
In the operation of the apparatus shown in the drawing, fabric 11 after being passed through liquid 16 passes over slot 18 which is operatively connected to vacuum pump 24 so that a flow of air is pulled through the fabric. As the air passes through the fabric, excess liquid adhering to the fabric is sucked into chamber 19 and through line 22 into container 23. Any lint, filaments or other solid contaminants removed from the fabric are carried with the excess liquid into container 23 and collect on screen 31 disposed therein. The vacuum or suction applied to the fabric at slot 18 is controlled by valves and 27 to permit by-pass air to be drawn into the system so that pump 24 always operates at the same capacity even though not all of the air is drawn through the fabric 11. The amount of vacuum can be determined by observation of gauge 32. As the level of liquid 35 increases in container 23, level control 33 activates pump 34, a portion of the liquid 35 is drawn through line 36 and is discharged through line 37 into bath 17 so as to replenish liquid 16.
While the invention has been described above utilizing vacuum extraction means for passing a flow of gas through textile material, it will be apparent that similar advantages and benefits may be achieved with other apparatus or extraction means utilizing a gas flow. The invention is directed to a process in which excess soil release chemical is removed from textile material by creating a flow of gas through the interstices of the textile material. Alternatively, a desired flow of gas can be achieved by directing a gas under pressure against a fabric. Such an arrangement will blow the liquid from the fabric in the same way as the vacuum apparatus sucks the liquid therefrom. A principal advantage of the vacuum system resides in the flexibility of processing fabric at high speeds.
The following examples illustrate preferred embodiments of the present invention but are not intended to restrict the scope thereof. In the examples, parts and percentages are by weight. The fabrics prepared in accordance with the procedures set forth in the examples are tested for soil release according to the following method.
The soil release values are determined by comparison with a set of standards having numerical ratings from 1.0 to 5.0, with 1.0 representing no stain removal and 5.0 complete removal of the stain. The fabrics are stained with mineral oil as received and then washed one time in a Kenmore automatic washer using a normal washing cycle with one cup of Tide detergent (sold by Proctor and Gamble) and a wash water temperature at about F. The stains in the dried fabric are compared with the set of standards. The values listed in the Tables under the headings 5 and 10 washes represent oil staining after 5 or 10 normal washings and then a single wash to remove the stain.
EXAMPLE I A 60 inch poplin fabric of 106 X 59 construction and a Weight of about 5 ounces per square yard made from polyester and rayon fibers (65%/35% blend) is treated with an aqueous mixture of 10 percent dimethylol ethylene urea (50 percent solution), 4 percent dihydroxy dimethylol ethylene urea (50 percent solution), 14 percent emulsion copolymer of 70 percent ethyl acrylate, 27 percent acrylic acid and 3 percent sodium acrylate (12 A percent solids), 4 percent catalyst MX (50% MgCl 61-1 0), 2 percent ethyloxylated nonyl phenol and 3 percent of a mixture of softeners and hand building agents. The above bath is padded onto the fabric to provide about 50 percent wet pickup and then passed over a slot 3/33" X 60" similar to that shown in the drawing with a vacuum gauge reading of about 5 inches of mercury to reduce the liquid content to about 30 percent. The fabric is then dried to normal moisture regain and then cured in an oven at about 325F. for about 15 minutes.
A control fabric is processed in the same manner except that the fabric is not extracted by passing over a vacuum slot. The resulting fabrics are compared and the vacuum extracted sample has a soft hand and does not show any significant streaking or marking when a fingernail is drawn over the fabric, while the control fabric has a harsh stiffer hand and shows considerable marking. The results of soil release tests are as follows:
A fabric similar to that employed in Example I is treated with an aqueous mixture containing 14 percent N-methylol acrylamide (60 percent aqueous solution) and 0.1 percent ethyloxylated nonyl phenol. The fabric is dried by heating at about F and then irradiated with a two megarad dose by passing the fabric through irradiation equipment including an insulating core transformer manufactured by the High Voltage Equipiment Corporation of Burlington, Mass. The fabric is washed with water and dried in an oven to normal moisture regain. Thereafter, the fabric is treated with an aqueous pad bath comprising 15 percent of the acrylic emulsion copolymer of Example 1, 2 percent of the ethyloxylated nonyl phenol, 4 percent of the catalyst MX. and 1 percent of the softener. The above bath tS padded onto the fabric to provide about 50 percent wet pickup. and then the fabric is passed over the vacuum slot of Example l with about 5 inches of mercury reading on the vacuum gauge to reduce the liquid content to about 30 percent. The fabric is then dried to normal moisture regain and cured in an oven at about 525F. for about 15 minutes.
A control sample of the fabric is processed according to the above procedure except that the fabric is not passed over the vacuum slot to reduce the liquid content of the fabric. The hand and marking tendency of the fabrics is compared, and the vacuum extracted sample is superior in both respects.
The results of the soil release tests for the fabrics are as follows:
EXAMPLE III A 60 inch poplin fabric of 106 X 60 construction and a weight of about 5 ounces per square yard made from polyester and cotton fibers (65%/35% blend) is treated with an aqueous mixture containing 18 percent N- :methylol acrylamide (60 percent aqueous solution) and 0.1 percent ethyloxylated nonyl phenol. The fabric is dried by heating at about 185F and then irradiated with a two megarad dose by passing the fabric through the irradiation equipment of Example II. The fabric is washed with water and dried in an oven to normal moisture regain. Thereafter, the fabric is treated with an aqueous pad bath comprising 45 percent emulsion copolymer of 70 percent methacrylic acid and 30 percent ethylacrylate, 6 percent zinc nitrate catalyst (50 percent Zn(NO 6H O) and 2.5 percent softeners. The above bath is padded onto the fabric to provide about 55 percent wet pickup, and then the fabric is passed over the vacuum slot of Example I with about 10 inches of mercury reading on the vacuum gauge to reduce the liquid content to about 22 percent. The fabric is then dried to normal moisture regain and cured in an oven at 325F. for about minutes.
A control sample of the same fabric is processed according to the above procedure except the fabric is not passed over the vacuum slot to reduce the wet content of the fabric and the proportions of the chemicals in the second bath are adjusted to provide the same proportion of the soil release chemicals on the fabric as the above fabric after it has passed over the vacuum slot. The proportion of the acrylic copolymer is reduced to 18 percent, the catalyst to 2.4 percent and the softeners to 1 percent.
The results of the soil release tests for the fabrics are as follows:
Soil Release Sample As Received 5 Washes Vacuum Extraction 3.8 3.2 Control 2.5 2.8
The above description, drawing and examples show that the present invention provides a novel process for producing a new textile material having soil release characteristics. The process of the invention provides improved soil release characteristics even though the proportion of the soil release chemicals employed is reduced substantially over conventional procedures. Furthermore, the hand of the fabric is improved and the tendency toward marking is significantly reduced.
It will be apparent from the above that various modifications in the formulations and procedures described in detail may be made within the scope of the invention. Therefore, it is intended that the invention be limited only by the following claims.
That which is claimed is:
1. A process for producing improved knitted or woven textile material comprising linear polyester fibers which comprises applying thereto between about 30 and 100 percent by weight of an aqueous acrylic copolymer soil release composition containing about 2 to 40 percent copolymer, and passing air through said textile material at a rate between about 50 and 100 feet per second sufficient to remove between about 40 and 60 percent soil release composition from the interstices while inhibiting the formation of substantially any excessive film of said composition on the surface of said textile.
2. A process of claim 1 wherein the gas is passed through the textile fabric by applying a vacuum to one surface thereof.
3. A process of claim 1 wherein the gas is passed therethrough from the face to the back of the fabric.
4. A process of claim 1 wherein said textile fabric is continuously passed through a flow of gas positioned transversely to the movement of the fabric.
5. A process of claim 1 wherein said excess soil release composition is recycled for reapplication to said textile fabric.
6. A process of claim 1 wherein said soil release composition comprises an aqueous dispersion of a synthetic acid co-polymer containing at least about 10 weight percent acid calculated as acrylic acid.
7. A process of claim 1 wherein an aminoplast textile resin is applied to said textile fabric without clogging the interstices of the fabric prior to passing the gas therethrough.
8. A process of claim 1 wherein said textile fabric is continuously passed through a flow of gas directed transversely to the movement of the fabric to remove the soil release composition from the interstices; said gas being passed through said textile fabric by applying a vacuum to one surface thereof.
9. A process of claim 8, wherein said gas is passed through said textile fabric at a rate between about 60 and feet per second.
10. A process of claim 8 wherein an aminoplast textile resin is applied to said fabric without clogging the interstices of the fabric prior to passing the gas therethrough.
1 1. A process of claim 8 wherein a dyestuff is applied to said fabric without clogging the interstices of the fabric prior to passing the gas therethrough.
12. An improved textile material produced by the process of claim 1.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE 0F CORRECTION Pater 1t No. ,911 Dated May 1975 Inventor(s) Emile E. Habib It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Column 6, line 38, the number 3/33" should read --3/32"--.
Signed and Scaled this thirtieth D ay Of September I 9 75 [SEAL] A ttes r:
RUTH C. MASON C. MARSHALL DANN .illesting Officer ('nmmissinncr nj'Parz'nts and Trademarks