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Nonwovens

Welcome to the World of Nonwovens

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What Are Nonwovens?


Engineered fabrics Fabric made directly from fibers Manufactured at high speed Competitive cost Excludes most paper Many applications Nonwovens are everywhere - you just dont know it

You typically dont think about how materials are made

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Thousands of End Products

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Thousands of End Products

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Producing Nonwovens
Select fiber or polymer Form web Bond web Finish fabric

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Nonwovens Are Not!


Knitted Woven Tufted Typically, do not use yarns Paper

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Nonwovens vs. Knitted/Woven


Nonwovens are produced quickly

Hundreds of meters per minute vs. 1/8 to 3 meters per minute One modern nonwoven line = 3,000 looms

Nonwovens are less labor intensive Nonwovens are less expensive

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Nonwovens vs. Knitted/Woven


Nonwovens are often less durable Nonwovens are often more stiff Nonwovens sometimes have better performance

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Nonwoven Markets/Applications
Disposables:

Diapers, medical gowns/drapes/wraps, wipes, dryer sheets Filters (air, oil, gas) Automotive, home furnishings, geotextiles

Semi-durables:

Durables:

$16 billion market: Roll goods worldwide


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Revolutionary Nonwoven Products


Needled blankets Disposable diapers Patient hospital apparel for surgery, testing Swiffer Thinsulate Filtrete

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Course Outline
How to make a fiber web How to bond the fibers together so the web has strength How to convert the fabric into a useful product Examples of nonwoven products

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Course Outline
Web formation - fiber to fabric

Carded Air laid Wet laid

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Course Outline
Web formation polymer to fabric

Spunbond Meltblown SMS

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Course Outline
Bonding methods

Chemical (adhesive, resin, latex) Needlepunch Spunlaced/hydroentangling Thermal bond

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Course Outline
Converting to useful products Product Examples Environmental concerns, recycling, solid waste, biodegradability Worldwide trends Cost models (optional)

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A Word About Fibers!


Fiber choice critical to end-product Fiber decisions based on requirements

Strength Flexibility Melting point, flexible/brittle temperature (glass transition) Stability toward its environment (i.e., flame, sunlight) Dyeability Cost, availability See chart in notebook
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Fiber Properties
Fiber Hand Soft Stiff Soft Soft Soft Strength Good Very Good Good Good Good Drape Good Poor Good Good Good UV Resist Poor Good Fair Poor Good
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Natural Natural Manufactured

Cotton Hemp Rayon Polypropylene Polyester

Web Formation
Carded Air laid Wet laid

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Carding
Webs are the foundation of fiber to fabric nonwovens. Carding is one web forming method.

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What Is a Web?
A web is the basic structure of fiber to fabric nonwovens Loose mat of fibers Webs require bonding for stability

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Carding: Basic Steps


Begin with bales of fiber Break bale apart (Fiber opening) Blend fibers Separate fibers through combing (Carding) Lay fibers down and form web

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Preparation for Carding: Fiber Opening


Fibers are purchased in large compact bales These fibers must be broken apart Separating fibers is called opening

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Steps in Fiber Opening


Coarse opening: Bale breaking into small tufts If fabric requires 2+ fiber types, blend fibers Fine opening to separate into individual fibers Opening critical step: Affects fabric uniformity

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Bale Breaker

Courtesy of ARI TEKSTL

Bale Breaker

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Fiber Opening

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Fiber Opening

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Fiber Opening

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Fine Opener

Courtesy of ARI TEKSTL

Mixer/Storage

Courtesy of Trtzschler

Mixing Plant Layout


Mix Master

Fine Opener

Bale Breaker

Carding Machine
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What Is Carding?
The card is fed at a slow rate with a thick mass of small fiber clumps

The clumps are broken up The batt gets thinner

Individual fibers are separated by combing

A thin sheet called a card web is discharged at a much faster speed than it was fed in

The fibers exit the card with a high degree of alignment in the direction of carding
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Web Carding: Single Cylinder

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Carding Machine

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Carding Machine

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Carding Machine

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Carding Machine

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Carding

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Carding Machine

Courtesy of Spinnbau GmbH

Carding Machine

Courtesy of Spinnbau GmbH

Web Carding: Dual Cylinder

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Choices Affecting Carded Web?


Fibers selected Fiber crimp Fiber finish Card layout: How are the layers stacked

In-line: Usually a lighter web. The fibers are oriented in the direction of the carding action and that is the same as the conveyor belt Cross-laid: Builds weight by folding back and forth across the width of a conveyor belt
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Flat Top Cards in Tandem

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Carding: Crosslapper
Card

Web

Crosslapper

Needleloom

Courtesy of Dilo System Group

Carding: Crosslapper

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Crosslapper

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

To Achieve Quality Carding


Opening must create small tufts of fiber Fibers must be blended well particularly if you are mixing several types of fiber Fine opening step must individualize fibers Fibers must be fed evenly into the card Saw tooth wire must be uniform and of proper size, angle and sharpness
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End-uses: Carded web


All fiber to fabric products Bandages Some pre-moistened wipes Apparel Interlinings

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Carded Spunlace Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Carded Spunlace Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Carded Chemical Bond Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Carded Chemical Bond Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Carded Spunlace Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Carded Spunlace Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Carded Web Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Nonwoven Processes Video: Web Formation: Carding

Carding
Questions???

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Web Formation
Carded Air laid Wet laid

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Air Laid

Dry laid web forming process. Uses air to randomly lay fibers.

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What Is Air Laid?


Air stream carries fiber to conveyor and forms the web

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Air Laid vs. Carded


Both are dry laid web forming Air laid = more random fiber distribution Carded = fiber lays in machine direction

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Steps in Air Laid


Fiber opening Blending Lickerin transports fibers to airstream Air stream carries fiber to conveyer Suction under conveyer draws fiber to conveyer surface

If the conveyor is slow, the batt can be thick

Forms random web (even 3D)


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Schematic of Rando Air Lay Machine

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Rando Batt Forming Zone

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Air Laid Production Line

Courtesy of Fehrer GmbH

Airlaid Card

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Air Laid
The previous slides show equipment that is similar to a card Long fibers are opened and blended and deposited on a screen from an air stream Fibers are arranged with more random orientation than in carding, even some vertical orientation in fibers of thick webs

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Air Laid Short Fiber


Opening is quite different no combing on wire wound cylinders Process for wood pulp is called defibering Often done on a hammermill or other kinds of dry, coarse grinders Sheets or rolls of pulp are fed to the hammermill Synthetic fibers are cut short, no defibering needed
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Air Laid Short Fiber

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Air Laid Pulp or Other Short Fiber

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Air Laid Machine

Courtesy of Fleissner GmbH

Air Laid Benefits


Simple production Weight range Variable bulk Stiffness/softness easily controlled Diverse raw material blends

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Air Laid End-uses


Automotive Hygiene Insulation Wipes Medical

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Nonwoven Processes Video: Airlaid

Air Laid
Questions???

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Web Formation
Carded Air laid Wet laid

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Wet Laid

Similar to air laid except that water is used to carry fibers and form web.

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What Is Wet Laid?


Fibers are suspended in water and then collected on a screen, forming the web Water is drained, then vacuumed, then pressed, and finally evaporated with heat

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Wet Laid vs. Papermaking


Wet laid is similar to papermaking Papermaking uses pulp Wet laid uses longer fiber, perhaps blended with wood pulp if mostly wood pulp, we call it paper

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Steps to Wet Laid Web


Suspend fibers in water Collect on screen Suck out water to form web Bond web

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Wet Laid Process

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Pilot Scale Paper Machine

Courtesy of Herty Foundation

Drying Cans

Courtesy of Herty Foundation

Wet Laid Process

Courtesy of Metso Corporation

Wet Laid Characteristics


Good uniformity Good opacity Low lint (when well bonded) Dense web Small pores, low fluid capacity

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Keys to Success
Uniform dispersion No clumps of fibers or pulp Even dewatering

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Wet Laid End-uses


Tea bags Meat casings Vacuum cleaner bags Filtration Tape base Battery separators Roofing shingles
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Wet Laid Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Nonwoven Processes Video: Wet Laid

Wet Laid
Questions???

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Polymer to Fabric: Meltspinning

Covers spunbond & meltblown fabrics.

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What Is Meltspinning?
Extrusion of melted polymers to form fibers and webs

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What Is a Polymer?
Long chain molecule Plastic pellets/beads Common polymers
- Polypropylene, polyethylene, nylons, polyesters etc.

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Meltspinning: Two Processes


Spunbond Meltblown

Very different processes Spunbond/meltblown composite SMS = spunbond/meltblown sandwich

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Spunbond: Production Steps


Melt the polymer Extrude melted polymer Air cools stream of melted polymer Cooled filaments stretched & deposited on a conveyer belt Bonding of webs, e.g., thermal Very economical process
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Spunbond Process

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Spunbond Machine

Courtesy of Rieter

Spunbonding

Courtesy of Gajanan Bhat

SEM Photograph: Spunbond Web

Courtesy of Gajanan Bhat

Factors Affecting Spunbond Fabrics


Polymer choice Extrusion conditions Filament diameter Bonding method/pattern

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Fiber Elements: Cross-sectional Shape


Bicomponent Fibers

Side-by-side

Islands-in-the-sea

Sheath-core

Tipped

Segmented-pie

Segmented-ribbon
Source: NCRC

Attributes of Spunbond Fabrics


High strength per unit weight Moldability Low cost

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Spunbond End Products


Diaper cover stock Home furnishings/bedding Medical House wrap Automotive Roofing

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Car Filter

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Spunbond Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Spunbond Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Spunlaid Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Bi-component Spunbond/Spunlaced Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Meltblown vs. Spunbond


Finer fibers Softer Weaker More surface area, e.g., adsorbent Better uniformity

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Steps to Meltblown Fabric


Melt the polymer Extrude melted polymer Inject high velocity hot air As melted polymer extruded, heated air pulls & stretches filaments Filaments collected on a moving screen or a rotating drum collector Thermal bonding self bonding
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Meltblown Process

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Meltblown Process

Courtesy of Nordson

Typical Meltblown Line

Courtesy of Gajanan Bhat

SEM Photograph: Meltblown Web

Courtesy of Ed Vaughn

Meltblown End Products


Filtration (Air & liquid) Insulation Barrier in medical Face masks Sorbents

Hazmat applications, e.g., oil spills

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Meltblown/Spunbond Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Meltblown Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Multi-layer Meltblown Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

What Is SMS?
Spunbond + Meltblown + Spunbond

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SMS Cross Section

Courtesy of Fiberweb PLC

SMS Schematic

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Courtesy of Gajanan Bhat

SMS End Products


Baby diapers- standing leg cuff Adult diapers Medical gowns Industrial protective apparel

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Training Pants

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

SMS Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

SMS Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

SMS Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Nonwoven Processes Video: Meltspinning- Spunbond & Meltblown

Spunmelt Processes
Questions???

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Bonding Processes
Chemical Bonding = Adhesives Needlepunching = Mechanical/needles Spunlaced = Water jets Thermal Bonding = Heat/pressure

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Chemical Bonding

Chemicals (called adhesives) used to bond fibers.

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What is Chemical Bonding?


After the web is formed, a chemical binder (typically in the form of latex) is applied Latex may be applied in pattern The chemical binder fills in between fibers and sticks to fiber crossovers Thus, a bond is formed

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Steps: Chemical Bonding


Fiber web formed Latex applied to web Latex sticks in between fiber crossovers Web heated/removes water/cross links adhesive Strong bond formed

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Adhesive Application
Print on surface transfer/gravure, screen Saturate - dip & nip, foam Spray Sprinkle on a powder heat to melt and bond

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Chemical Bonding (Gravure Printer)

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Chemical Bonding (Gravure Printer)

Courtesy of Schott & Meissner

Chemical Bonding (Dip & Nip)

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Chemical Bonding (Foam Padder)

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Chemical Bonding (Foam Padder)

Courtesy of Schott & Meissner

Chemical Bonding (Spray)

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Chemical Bonding (Powder)

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Chemical Choices
Many choices similar to paints

Alkyd/polyester Acrylic Epoxy Urethane Formaldehyde resin Natural of synthetic rubber/elastomer

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Binder Choices
Decision based on desired fabric properties

The most significant choice is the stiffness/flexibility of the adhesive the Tg Other factors include flame retardancy, weather resistance, solvent resistance, temperature resistance Viscosity is important in determining distribution of adhesive in the web

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Process Choices
Saturated (when completely saturated, the web
becomes a fiber reinforced composite)

Must be squeezed or vacuumed Difficult to apply a small amount Squeezing increases density of web Can apply a small amount of fluid Also works with thick webs, may require surfactant Difficult to bond thick webs Light application is possible
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Foam

Spray

Chemical Additives
Adhesives are often combined with additives: e.g.,

Surfactants Defoamers Thickeners Dyes/pigments Optical brighteners Water repellents Fire retardants
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How to Dry and/or Cure


Heated cylinders (cans) Through air Tenter or air flotation Infrared

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Chemical Bonding End Products


Roofing: Acrylic or phenolic for weatherability, asphalt for water repellency, ceramic sprinkles for decoration/light protection Automotive: PVC copolymers- sealing performance/flame retardancy Some adhesives approved for food contact

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Carded Resin Bond Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Carded Resin Bond Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Nonwoven Processes Video: Chemical Bonding -Screen Printing

Nonwoven Processes Video: Chemical Bonding Spray

Chemical Bonding
Questions???

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Bonding Methods
Chemical Bonding = Chemicals Needlepunching = Mechanical/needles Spunlaced = Water jets Thermal Bonding = Heat/pressure

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Needlepunching

Web bonding method using needles.

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What Is Needlepunching?
Thousands of needles interlock fibers in a web

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Needlepunched Webs
Carded/cross lapped Air laid

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Needleloom Needle

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Needle Penetration

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Needlepunch Process
Card

Web

Crosslapper

Needleloom

Courtesy of Dilo System Group

Needleloom

Courtesy of Dilo System Group

Affects Needlepunch Fabric


Needle choice Needleloom geometry Needle penetration

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Important! Needle Choice


Over 500 needle choices

Groz - Beckert
Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Needle Examples

Foster Needle
Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Increased Number of Needle Penetrations


Strength properties increase Stability and density increase Less stretching

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Structuring

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Structuring

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Needlepunch End Products


Felt Geotextiles Blood filters Synthetic leather Blankets Automotive interior trim - carpet To name just a few!
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Needlefelt Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Needlefelt Example

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Nonwoven Processes Video: Needlepunch

Bonding Processes
Chemical Bonding = Chemicals Needlepunching = Mechanical/needles Spunlaced = Water jets Thermal Bonding = Heat/pressure

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Spunlaced

Bonding technique using high powered water jets.

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What Is Spunlaced?
Fine, high pressured water streams entangle fibers Process bonds fabric

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Steps to Spunlaced Fabric


Fibers laid on conveyer belt Fine, high pressured water jets hit fiber Fibers entangle Suction under belt removes water Dry fabric Recover the water

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Benefits of Spunlaced
Replaces chemical binders Softer/drapeable fabric Absorbency, strength, flexibility Allows for designs/patterns Lint free No binder/easier to recycle Light weights: Faster vs. needlepunch
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Spunlaced Schematic

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Vena Contracta

WATER

.005 .127 mm

Hole Diameter

Speed of Water Jet 250m/sec


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Spunlaced Equipment

Courtesy of Fleissner GmbH

Spunlaced Fabric

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Factors Controlling Entanglement


Water pressure # water jets & diameter of holes Line speed Vacuum Forming surface

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Dual Entangler

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Spunlaced Fabric

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Spunlaced Fabric

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

PGI Fabric
Simulates woven design

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Spunlaced End products


Wipes Medical apparel Medical dressings Synthetic leather

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Medical Fabric

Courtesy of Roy Broughton

Nonwoven Processes Video: Spunlace

Nonwoven Processes Video: Spunlace

Bonding Techniques
Chemical Bonding = Chemicals Needlepunching = Mechanical/needles Spunlaced = Water jets Thermal Bonding = Heat/pressure

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Thermal Bonding
Heat & Pressure + Melted Fiber = Thermal Bonded

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What Is Thermal Bonding?


Bond fibers by: Applying heated air stream Applying heat & pressure Results in melted fibers which bond

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Thermal Bonding Process


Fibers are formed into a web Fibers are bonded by applying heated air or heat/pressure Fibers are cooled Bonded web is wound up

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Types of Thermal Bonded Fabrics


Calender bonding Through air bonding Infrared bonding Ultrasonic bonding

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Calender Bonding
Web passed between two rolls

One or both are heated internally One or both may be embossed

Heating via conduction Cooling via convection

Courtesy of NCRC NCSU 2001

Thermal Bonding Calender

Courtesy of Gajanan Bhat

What Is Thermal Bonding?

Courtesy of Gajanan Bhat

SEM Image: Bond Point

Courtesy of Gajanan Bhat

Calender Bonding Types


Strong Soft

Point bonding

Stick bonding Embossed Calender

Grid bonding

Area bonding Flat Calender

Courtesy of NCRC NCSU 2001

Through Air
Hot air

Courtesy of NCRC NCSU 2001

SEM Photo: Through Air Bonded Web

Courtesy of Gajanan Bhat

Ultrasonic Bonding
Horn

Anvil

Friction between horn and fabric heats fibers under raised points
Courtesy of NCRC NCSU - 2001

Thermal Bonding Prerequisites


Upon application of heat, component(s) must:

Soften Melt/bond Cool Re-harden Re-solidify


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Upon cooling, product must:


Thermal Bonding
What do polymers do between the time they melt and re-crystallize?

Form the bond!

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Thermal Bonding Fibers Used


Fibers that melt:

Polypropylene Polyester Polyethylene Nylon Bi-component fibers Blends: High & low melt fibers

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Thermal Bonding Properties


Alter Fabric Characteristics by:

Heating rates Temperature distribution Bond areas Bond distribution Fiber orientation Fiber type Line speeds
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Examples
Soft hand

Minimize bonded area Lower oven/calender temperature Nylon, polypropylene, polyethylene fibers

Stiff hand

Higher bonded areas Higher oven/calender temperature Polyester fibers


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Thermal Bonded End Products


Apparel interlinings Diaper components Window blinds Automotive trim Headrest covers Disposable pillowcases Geotextiles Medical Filtration
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Thermal Bonding
Questions???

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After Nonwovens Production

Getting fabric ready for the end product.

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Finishes Add Value to Fabric


Fire retardancy Water repellency Antimicrobial Soil release Decorative/colors/patterns Electrostatic charging Etc.
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Nonwovens as Applicators
Saturated with

Soap Lotion Alcohol Furniture/shoe polish Fabric softener Etc.

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Converting
Converting prepares fabric for end product Examples include:

Slitting Sheet cutting Die stamping Perforations for easy tearing

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Forming a shaped product


Sewing, gluing, ultrasonic seaming Molding - thermoforming Corrugating Adding elastic Fitting into hardware automotive oil filter

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Roll Goods

Materials

Web Formation
Carding Air Laid Cross-lap Wet Laid

Bonding

Finishing

Finished Products

Polyester Nylon Cotton

Calender Through Air Hydro Needled Adhesive

Surfactant Repellent Color Coating Other None


Surgical Sponges Paper Tape (Transfusions) Gowns and Drapes

Fibers

Rayon Polypropylene Pulp Fluff Pulp Bi-component Others

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Roll Goods

Materials

Web Bonding Formation


Spunbond Meltblown SMS Film Calender Through Air Hydro Needled

Finishing Finished Products


Surfactant Repellent Color Coating Other None
Head Gear and Booties Face Masks Gowns and Drapes Mayo Stand Cover

Polypropylene Polyethylene Polyester Nylon PLA PVA Others

Polymers

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Lets Design a Nonwoven


The shingles on your house are a nonwoven product What characteristics do you need in a shingle?

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Desirable Shingle Properties


Strong Does not absorb water Does not burn Does not degrade in sunlight Does not fly away in the wind heavy Does not curl up on the edges stiff Not too expensive lots of roof area to cover
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Designing a Shingle
Material Polyester Fibers Fiberglass Bonding Final Product Coating Binder Add Asphalt Granules/Color Properties Strong, UV Resistant, Hydrophobic, Flexible Strong, UV Resistant, Hydrophobic, Flexible Heavy, Strong Waterproof Aesthetics
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Innovation Technology

Questions??

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Environmental Concerns for Nonwovens


Particularly important for any disposable products.

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Natural Principle
If nature made it, nature knows how to dispose of it

Typically something eats it

Synthetic products may degrade on exposure to light, but they are not likely foods for other organisms

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How to Handle Environmental Concerns


Biodegradability Flushability Incineration (fuel replacement) Recycling Sustainability (renewable resources + recycling) Greenhouse gases Ozone depletion

Biodegradability
When flushed, or buried, or composted:

The bugs eat it

If partially decomposed, we may be able to use it as soil enrichment

Flushability
For items used or disposed of in the bathroom, being able to flush it may be important. The fabric needs to separate easily in water if it is to be flushable. Otherwise it may stop up pipes. Also needs to be biodegradable in order not to fill up septic systems. Flushing is easier than landfilling
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Incineration
We need alternative fuels If oil based chemicals are biodegraded, they still produce carbon dioxide Incineration is the disposal procedure of last resort

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Recycling
Desirable goal Hope that the material can be recycled indefinitely Degradation usually occurs Mixtures must often be separated before recycling The more intimate the mixture, the more difficult to separate Post consumer collection is difficult, expensive

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Sustainability
Uses only renewable resources where possible Recycles non-renewables indefinitely Minimizes waste, pollution No release of toxic materials

Undesirable Emissions
Toxic materials BOD Persistent materials Greenhouse gases other than water Ozone depleting gases

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Questions??

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