US20070042663A1 - Cross-direction elasticized composite material and method of making it - Google Patents

Cross-direction elasticized composite material and method of making it Download PDF

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US20070042663A1
US20070042663A1 US11208469 US20846905A US2007042663A1 US 20070042663 A1 US20070042663 A1 US 20070042663A1 US 11208469 US11208469 US 11208469 US 20846905 A US20846905 A US 20846905A US 2007042663 A1 US2007042663 A1 US 2007042663A1
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mandrel
facing layer
elastic
method
direction
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Abandoned
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US11208469
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Robert Gerndt
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Kimberly-Clark Worldwide Inc
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Kimberly-Clark Worldwide Inc
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C53/00Shaping by bending, folding, twisting, straightening or flattening; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C53/56Winding and joining, e.g. winding spirally
    • B29C53/58Winding and joining, e.g. winding spirally helically
    • B29C53/60Winding and joining, e.g. winding spirally helically using internal forming surfaces, e.g. mandrels
    • B29C53/607Winding and joining, e.g. winding spirally helically using internal forming surfaces, e.g. mandrels having driving means for advancing the wound articles, e.g. belts, rolls
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C47/00Extrusion moulding, i.e. expressing the moulding material through a die or nozzle which imparts the desired form; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C47/08Component parts, details or accessories; Auxiliary operations
    • B29C47/12Extrusion nozzles or dies
    • B29C47/20Extrusion nozzles or dies with annular opening, e.g. for tubular articles
    • B29C47/24Extrusion nozzles or dies with annular opening, e.g. for tubular articles with die parts rotatable relative to each other
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C47/00Extrusion moulding, i.e. expressing the moulding material through a die or nozzle which imparts the desired form; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C47/08Component parts, details or accessories; Auxiliary operations
    • B29C47/12Extrusion nozzles or dies
    • B29C47/30Multi-port extrusion nozzles
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B5/00Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts
    • B32B5/02Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by structural features of a fibrous or filamentary layer
    • B32B5/022Non-woven fabric
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B5/00Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts
    • B32B5/02Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by structural features of a fibrous or filamentary layer
    • B32B5/04Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by structural features of a fibrous or filamentary layer characterised by a layer being specifically extensible by reason of its structure or arrangement, e.g. by reason of the chemical nature of the fibres or filaments
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
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    • B32B5/00Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts
    • B32B5/02Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by structural features of a fibrous or filamentary layer
    • B32B5/10Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by structural features of a fibrous or filamentary layer characterised by a fibrous or filamentary layer reinforced with filaments
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    • B32B5/02Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by structural features of a fibrous or filamentary layer
    • B32B5/12Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by structural features of a fibrous or filamentary layer characterised by the relative arrangement of fibres or filaments of different layers, e.g. the fibres or filaments being parallel or perpendicular to each other
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B5/00Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts
    • B32B5/22Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by the presence of two or more layers which are next to each other and are fibrous, filamentary, formed of particles or foamed
    • B32B5/24Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by the presence of two or more layers which are next to each other and are fibrous, filamentary, formed of particles or foamed one layer being a fibrous or filamentary layer
    • B32B5/26Layered products characterised by the non- homogeneity or physical structure, i.e. comprising a fibrous, filamentary, particulate or foam layer; Layered products characterised by having a layer differing constitutionally or physically in different parts characterised by the presence of two or more layers which are next to each other and are fibrous, filamentary, formed of particles or foamed one layer being a fibrous or filamentary layer another layer next to it also being fibrous or filamentary
    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D04BRAIDING; LACE-MAKING; KNITTING; TRIMMINGS; NON-WOVEN FABRICS
    • D04HMAKING TEXTILE FABRICS, e.g. FROM FIBRES OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL; FABRICS MADE BY SUCH PROCESSES OR APPARATUS, e.g. FELTS, NON-WOVEN FABRICS; COTTON-WOOL; WADDING NON-WOVEN FABRICS FROM STAPLE FIBRES, FILAMENTS OR YARNS, BONDED WITH AT LEAST ONE WEB-LIKE MATERIAL DURING THEIR CONSOLIDATION
    • D04H1/00Non-woven fabrics formed wholly or mainly of staple fibres or like relatively short fibres
    • D04H1/40Non-woven fabrics formed wholly or mainly of staple fibres or like relatively short fibres from fleeces or layers composed of fibres without existing or potential cohesive properties
    • D04H1/42Non-woven fabrics formed wholly or mainly of staple fibres or like relatively short fibres from fleeces or layers composed of fibres without existing or potential cohesive properties characterised by the use of certain kinds of fibres insofar as this use has no preponderant influence on the consolidation of the fleece
    • D04H1/4374Non-woven fabrics formed wholly or mainly of staple fibres or like relatively short fibres from fleeces or layers composed of fibres without existing or potential cohesive properties characterised by the use of certain kinds of fibres insofar as this use has no preponderant influence on the consolidation of the fleece using different kinds of webs, e.g. by layering webs
    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D04BRAIDING; LACE-MAKING; KNITTING; TRIMMINGS; NON-WOVEN FABRICS
    • D04HMAKING TEXTILE FABRICS, e.g. FROM FIBRES OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL; FABRICS MADE BY SUCH PROCESSES OR APPARATUS, e.g. FELTS, NON-WOVEN FABRICS; COTTON-WOOL; WADDING NON-WOVEN FABRICS FROM STAPLE FIBRES, FILAMENTS OR YARNS, BONDED WITH AT LEAST ONE WEB-LIKE MATERIAL DURING THEIR CONSOLIDATION
    • D04H3/00Non-woven fabrics formed wholly or mainly of yarns or like filamentary material of substantial length
    • D04H3/02Non-woven fabrics formed wholly or mainly of yarns or like filamentary material of substantial length characterised by the method of forming fleeces or layers, e.g. reorientation of yarns or filaments
    • D04H3/04Non-woven fabrics formed wholly or mainly of yarns or like filamentary material of substantial length characterised by the method of forming fleeces or layers, e.g. reorientation of yarns or filaments in rectilinear paths, e.g. crossing at right angles
    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D04BRAIDING; LACE-MAKING; KNITTING; TRIMMINGS; NON-WOVEN FABRICS
    • D04HMAKING TEXTILE FABRICS, e.g. FROM FIBRES OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL; FABRICS MADE BY SUCH PROCESSES OR APPARATUS, e.g. FELTS, NON-WOVEN FABRICS; COTTON-WOOL; WADDING NON-WOVEN FABRICS FROM STAPLE FIBRES, FILAMENTS OR YARNS, BONDED WITH AT LEAST ONE WEB-LIKE MATERIAL DURING THEIR CONSOLIDATION
    • D04H5/00Non woven fabrics formed of mixtures of relatively short fibres and yarns or like filamentary material of substantial length
    • D04H5/04Non woven fabrics formed of mixtures of relatively short fibres and yarns or like filamentary material of substantial length strengthened or consolidated by applying or incorporating chemical or thermo-activatable bonding agents in solid or liquid form
    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D04BRAIDING; LACE-MAKING; KNITTING; TRIMMINGS; NON-WOVEN FABRICS
    • D04HMAKING TEXTILE FABRICS, e.g. FROM FIBRES OR FILAMENTARY MATERIAL; FABRICS MADE BY SUCH PROCESSES OR APPARATUS, e.g. FELTS, NON-WOVEN FABRICS; COTTON-WOOL; WADDING NON-WOVEN FABRICS FROM STAPLE FIBRES, FILAMENTS OR YARNS, BONDED WITH AT LEAST ONE WEB-LIKE MATERIAL DURING THEIR CONSOLIDATION
    • D04H5/00Non woven fabrics formed of mixtures of relatively short fibres and yarns or like filamentary material of substantial length
    • D04H5/06Non woven fabrics formed of mixtures of relatively short fibres and yarns or like filamentary material of substantial length strengthened or consolidated by welding-together thermoplastic fibres, filaments, or yarns
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B29WORKING OF PLASTICS; WORKING OF SUBSTANCES IN A PLASTIC STATE, IN GENERAL
    • B29CSHAPING OR JOINING OF PLASTICS; SHAPING OF MATERIAL IN A PLASTIC STATE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; AFTER-TREATMENT OF THE SHAPED PRODUCTS, e.g. REPAIRING
    • B29C47/00Extrusion moulding, i.e. expressing the moulding material through a die or nozzle which imparts the desired form; Apparatus therefor
    • B29C47/0009Extrusion moulding, i.e. expressing the moulding material through a die or nozzle which imparts the desired form; Apparatus therefor characterised by the shape of the articles
    • B29C47/0014Filamentary-shaped articles, e.g. strands
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2250/00Layers arrangement
    • B32B2250/20All layers being fibrous or filamentary
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2262/00Composition of fibres which form a fibrous or filamentary layer or are present as additives
    • B32B2262/02Synthetic macromolecular fibres
    • B32B2262/0207Elastomeric fibres
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2307/00Properties of the layers or laminate
    • B32B2307/50Properties of the layers or laminate having particular mechanical properties
    • B32B2307/51Elastic
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2307/00Properties of the layers or laminate
    • B32B2307/70Other properties
    • B32B2307/724Permeability to gases, adsorption
    • B32B2307/7242Non-permeable
    • B32B2307/7246Water vapor barrier
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B32LAYERED PRODUCTS
    • B32BLAYERED PRODUCTS, i.e. PRODUCTS BUILT-UP OF STRATA OF FLAT OR NON-FLAT, e.g. CELLULAR OR HONEYCOMB, FORM
    • B32B2459/00Nets, e.g. camouflage nets
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T442/00Fabric [woven, knitted, or nonwoven textile or cloth, etc.]
    • Y10T442/60Nonwoven fabric [i.e., nonwoven strand or fiber material]
    • Y10T442/601Nonwoven fabric has an elastic quality
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T442/00Fabric [woven, knitted, or nonwoven textile or cloth, etc.]
    • Y10T442/60Nonwoven fabric [i.e., nonwoven strand or fiber material]
    • Y10T442/601Nonwoven fabric has an elastic quality
    • Y10T442/602Nonwoven fabric comprises an elastic strand or fiber material
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10TTECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER US CLASSIFICATION
    • Y10T442/00Fabric [woven, knitted, or nonwoven textile or cloth, etc.]
    • Y10T442/60Nonwoven fabric [i.e., nonwoven strand or fiber material]
    • Y10T442/643Including parallel strand or fiber material within the nonwoven fabric

Abstract

A cross-directional elasticized composite includes a facing layer and a plurality of elastic filaments disposed in the cross direction. A method for making the cross-direction elasticized composite by continuously disposing molten elastic filaments on the facing layer and in the cross direction, is also provided.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Laminates having elasticity in the cross-direction have previously been prepared by bonding a neck-stretched (“necked”) nonwoven web, such as a spunbond web, typically formed of inelastic filaments, to an elastic film or nonwoven web. These laminates, referred to as neck-bonded laminates, are formed by bonding the necked nonwoven web to the elastic film or nonwoven web when the former is in the neck-stretched state.
  • Neck-bonded laminates are described in numerous patents to Morman et al. Representative patents include without limitation U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,226,992; 5,336,545; 5,514,470; 5,910,224 and 6,475,600, which are incorporated by reference.
  • While neck-bonded laminates provide suitable cross-direction elasticity for a wide variety of applications, they typically involve use of a structurally integrated elastic nonwoven web or film (i.e. a layer which is elastic in all directions) to provide elasticity to the laminate, even when elasticity is required in only one direction, such as the cross-direction of the laminate. A full coverage layer of elastic web or film has disadvantages when used to produce a laminate that is elastic in only one direction, such as the cross direction. First, the amount of elastic polymer used may be more than what is required for the cross-direction elastic laminate since the requirement to form the web or film will dictate the minimum basis weight of the elastic material. Second, an elastic film may limit the laminate to a low amount of water vapor transmission (breathability). Third, elastic webs or films (more than individual filaments) are influenced by the physics of Poisson's ratio which retracts the web or film perpendicular to the direction of stretch. Fourth, webs or films which stretch in both directions require special processing techniques in converting machines because a machine direction stretch causes control problems in tension-controlled sections of the machines. For applications where elasticity is only needed in the cross-direction, there is a need or desire for a neck-bonded laminate which limits the amount of elastic material to that needed to obtain the unidirectional elasticity, and a method for making such a laminate.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is directed to a cross-directional elasticized composite material, and a method of making it. The composite material includes at least one facing material, which can be a nonwoven web having a machine direction (which is a direction of manufacture of the nonwoven web) and a cross-direction (which is perpendicular to the direction of manufacture). The facing layer can be a necked nonwoven web, which has been neck-stretched in the machine direction to cause narrowing (necking) in the cross direction. The nonwoven web can be formed of inelastic filaments.
  • The composite material also includes elastic filaments which are disposed in the cross-direction of the facing layer, or significantly in the cross direction (i.e. within about 45 degrees of the cross direction) of the facing layer. The elastic filaments can be substantially parallel to each other, and can be spaced apart and non-intersecting with respect to each other. The elastic filaments are suitably bonded to the facing layer.
  • The elastic composite material can be prepared by a method which includes the steps of:
  • feeding a facing layer to a first mandrel at an angle relative to a longitudinal axis of the first mandrel;
  • rotating the first mandrel in a first direction around the axis, while conveying the facing layer axially forward, causing the facing layer to wrap around the first mandrel in a spiral fashion;
  • conveying the facing material between an extrusion die and an inner surface of a second mandrel;
  • rotating the extrusion die in a second direction opposite the first direction while simultaneously extruding elastic polymer filaments from the extrusion die onto the facing layer, to form a laminate; and
  • severing the elastic filaments along edges of the laminate to form the elastic composite material.
  • The elastic polymer filaments are suitably bonded to the facing material by melt bonding immediately following their extrusion, without requiring a separate adhesive material.
  • With the foregoing in mind, it is a feature and advantage of the invention to provide an improved, lower cost cross-direction elasticized composite material, and a method of making it.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 schematically illustrates an elastic composite material of the invention and an apparatus and method for making it.
  • FIG. 2 is a partial sectional view at the apparatus shown in FIG. 1, illustrating the rotating die and the joining of extruded elastic filaments to the facing layer.
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a second end of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1, with the rotating die removed.
  • FIG. 4 is a sectional view of a first end of the apparatus shown in FIG. 1, emphasizing a gear box assembly.
  • DEFINITIONS
  • “Bonded” and “bonding” refer to the joining, adhering, connecting, attaching, or the like, of two elements. Two elements will be considered to be bonded together when they are bonded directly to one another or indirectly to one another, such as when each is directly bonded to intermediate elements.
  • “Melt bonding” refers to mechanical and/or chemical bonding of elastic filaments to a facing material via contact and/or penetration of the molten filament polymer into the surface of the facing material, resulting in bonding without the use of separate adhesive materials (i.e. separate from inherent adhesive properties of the molten filament polymer and additives compounded into the polymer).
  • “Breathable film” or “breathable laminate” refers to a film or laminate having a water vapor transmission rate (“WVTR”) of at least about 500 grams/m2-24 hours, using the WVTR Test Procedure described herein.
  • “Elastomeric” or “elastic” refers to a material or a composite which can be elongated by at least 50 percent of its relaxed length in at least one direction and which will recover, upon release of the applied force, at least 40 percent of its elongation. An elastomeric material or composite may be capable of being elongated by at least 100 percent, or by at least 300 percent, of its relaxed length and recover, upon release of an applied force, at least 50 percent of its elongation, or substantially all of its elongation. An “elasticized” material or composite is one which has been rendered elastic, such as by affixing elastic strands to an inelastic facing layer.
  • “Inelastic” refers to materials that are not elastic, either because they cannot be sufficiently stretched, or because they do not sufficiently recover when a stretching force is removed.
  • “Machine direction” as applied to a facing layer, refers to the direction on the material that was parallel to the direction of travel of the material as it left the extrusion or forming apparatus. If the material passed between nip rollers or chill rollers, for instance, the machine direction is the direction on the material that was parallel to the surface movement of the rollers when in contact with the material. “Cross direction” refers to the direction perpendicular to the machine direction. Dimensions measured in the cross direction are referred to as “width” dimensions, while dimensions measured in the machine direction are referred to as “length” dimensions. As used herein, “machine direction” and “cross direction” of a laminate or composite refer to the “machine direction” and “cross direction,” respectively, of a facing layer in the laminate.
  • “Meltblown fibers” are fibers formed by extruding a molten thermoplastic material through a plurality of fine, usually circular, die capillaries as molten threads or filaments into converging high velocity heated gas (e.g., air) streams which attenuate the filaments of molten thermoplastic material to reduce their diameter, which may be to microfiber diameter. Thereafter, the meltblown fibers are carried by the high velocity gas stream and are deposited on a collecting surface to form a web of randomly dispersed meltblown fibers. Such a process is disclosed for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 3,849,241 to Butin et al. Meltblown fibers are microfibers which may be continuous or discontinuous, are generally smaller than about 1.0 denier, and are generally self bonding when deposited onto a collecting surface.
  • “Neck” or “neck stretch” interchangeably mean that the fabric, nonwoven web or laminate is stretched in its machine direction under conditions reducing its width or its transverse dimension and increasing its length. The controlled stretching may take place at room temperature or greater temperatures and is limited to an increase in overall length in the direction being stretched up to the elongation required to break the fabric, nonwoven web or laminate, which in most cases is about 1.1 to 1.6 times an original length, suitably about 1.2 to 1.5 times an original length. When relaxed, the fabric, nonwoven web or laminate does not return to its original dimensions unless it is then stretched in the cross direction. The necking process typically involves unwinding a sheet from a supply roll and passing it through a first nip roll assembly driven at a given linear speed. A second nip roll assembly, operating at a linear speed higher than the first nip roll assembly generates the tension needed to elongate and neck the fabric. U.S. Pat. No. 4,965,122 issued to Morman, and commonly assigned to the assignee of the present invention, discloses a reversibly necked nonwoven material which may be formed by necking the material, then heating the necked material, followed by cooling and is incorporated by reference. The heating of the necked material causes additional crystallization of the polymer giving it a partial heat set. If the necked material is a spunbond web, some of the fibers in the web may become crimped during the necking process, as explained in U.S. Pat. No. 4,965,122.
  • As used herein, the term “necked material” refers to any material which has been drawn in at least one dimension, (e.g. lengthwise), reducing the transverse dimension, (e.g. width), such that when the drawing force is removed, the material can be pulled in the cross direction back to its original width. The necked material generally has a higher basis weight per unit area than the pre-necked material. When the necked material is pulled back to its original width, it should have about the same basis weight as the pre-necked material. Materials suitable for necking include without limitation nonwoven webs formed from inelastic polymers.
  • “Neck-bonded laminate” refers to a laminate formed while a first layer, typically a nonwoven fabric, is in a necked condition. A second layer (e.g. an elastic layer) is bonded to the necked layer, and may be relaxed when the laminate is formed.
  • “Nonwoven” or “nonwoven web” refers to materials and webs of material having a structure of individual fibers or filaments which are interlaid, but not in an identifiable manner as in a knitted fabric. Nonwoven fabrics or webs have been formed from many processes such as, for example, meltblowing processes, spunbonding processes, air laying processes, coforming processes, and bonded carded web processes. The basis weight of nonwoven fabrics is usually expressed in ounces of material per square yard (osy) or grams per square meter (gsm) and the fiber diameters are usually expressed in microns. (Note that to convert from osy to gsm, multiply osy by 33.91.)
  • “Polymers” include, but are not limited to, homopolymers, copolymers, such as for example, block, graft, random and alternating copolymers, terpolymers, etc. and blends and modifications thereof. Furthermore, unless otherwise specifically limited, the term “polymer” shall include all possible geometrical configurations of the material. These configurations include, but are not limited to isotactic, syndiotactic and atactic symmetries.
  • “Retract” and “retractability” refer to a material's ability to recover a certain amount of its elongation upon release of an applied force.
  • “Spunbond fiber” refers to small diameter fibers which are formed by extruding molten thermoplastic material as filaments from a plurality of fine capillaries of a spinnerette having a circular or other configuration, with the diameter of the extruded filaments then being rapidly reduced as by, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,340,563 to Appel et al., and U.S. Pat. No. 3,692,618 to Dorschner et al., U.S. Pat. No. 3,802,817 to Matsuki et al., U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,338,992 and 3,341,394 to Kinney, U.S. Pat. No. 3,502,763 to Hartmann, U.S. Pat. No. 3,502,538 to Petersen, and U.S. Pat. No. 3,542,615 to Dobo et al., each of which is incorporated by reference. Spunbond fibers are quenched and generally not tacky when they are deposited onto a collecting surface. Spunbond fibers are generally continuous and often have average deniers larger than about 0.3, more particularly, between about 0.6 and 10. These and other terms may be defined with additional language in the remaining portions of the specification.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Referring to FIG. 1, an elasticized composite material 10, which can be a neck-bonded laminate, includes a facing layer 12 having a machine direction indicated by arrow 11 and a cross direction perpendicular to the machine direction indicated by arrow 13. A plurality of elastic filaments 14 are bonded to the facing layer 12 and disposed in the cross direction.
  • The facing layer 12 may be a necked nonwoven web which has been stretched in the machine direction 11 to narrow (neck) its width in the cross direction 13. When the necked nonwoven web is later stretched in the cross direction, it may extend at least back to its original (pre-necked) width. Suitable necked nonwoven webs may be formed from spunbond webs, meltblown webs, bonded carded webs, other webs where there has been at least some bonding between the fibers, and combinations thereof. The nonwoven webs used for necking are typically formed of inelastic polymers, including without limitation polyethylene, polypropylene, copolymers of ethylene or propylene with up to 10% by weight of an olefin comonomer, polyesters, polyamides and the like.
  • The facing layer 12 may also be a material that is inherently extensible in the cross direction 13 but does not independently possess sufficient retractive force to constitute an elastic material. Such materials need not be necked. Bonded carded webs, for instance, possess some inherent extensibility in the cross direction. Other inherently extensible materials include films and nonwoven webs formed from inherently extensible polymers, including without limitation single-site catalyzed ethylene-alpha olefin copolymers having relatively high (e.g. more than 10% by weight) comonomer contents, and blends thereof.
  • The elastic filaments 14 may be joined to the facing layer 12, and are suitably joined by melt-bonding which occurs when the elastic filaments 14 are deposited in a molten state on the facing layer 12. The melt-bonding may be a final bonding step, suitable for end use of the laminate, or an interim bonding step adequate to progress the elastic filaments and facing layer without distortion to a subsequent bonding station where the filaments and facing may be further bonded using a spray adhesive, slot adhesive, ultrasonic bonding, thermal bonding or the like. The elastic filaments 14 are disposed on the facing layer 12 significantly in the cross direction. This means that the elastic filaments 14 may be disposed precisely in the cross direction 11, or may be disposed at an angle of about −30 degrees to about +30 degrees relative to the cross direction 13. Suitably, the elastic filaments may be disposed between about −15 degrees and about +15 degrees relative to the cross direction 13, or between about −5 and about +5 degrees relative to the cross direction 13.
  • The elastic filaments 14 can be formed of elastic polymers, and blends containing sufficient amounts of elastic polymer to render the filaments elastic. Suitable elastic polymers include without limitation styrenic block copolymers, for example styrene-diene and styrene-olefin block copolymers sold under the trade name KRATON® by Kraton Polymers, LLC.
  • Suitable styrene-diene block copolymers include di-block, tri-block, tetra-block and other block copolymers, and may include without limitation styrene-isoprene, styrene-butadiene, styrene-isoprene-styrene, styrene-butadiene-styrene, styrene-isoprene-styrene-isoprene, and styrene-butadiene-styrene-butadiene block copolymers. Suitable styrene-olefin block polymers include without limitation styrene-diene block copolymers in which the diene groups have been totally or partially selectively hydrogenated, including without limitation styrene-(ethylene-propylene), styrene-(ethylene-butylene), styrene-(ethylene-propylene)-styrene, styrene-(ethylene-butylene)-styrene, styrene-(ethylene-propylene)-styrene-(ethylene-propylene), and styrene-(ethylene-butylene)-styrene-(ethylene-butylene) block copolymers. In the above formulas, the term “styrene” indicates a block sequence of styrene repeating units; the terms “isoprene” and “butadiene” indicate block sequences of diene units; the term “(ethylene-propylene)” indicates a block sequence of ethylene-propylene copolymer units, and the term “(ethylene-butylene)” indicates a block sequence of ethylene-butylene copolymer units. The styrene-diene or styrene-olefin block copolymer should have a styrene content of about 10 to about 50% by weight, suitably about 15 to about 25% by weight, and should have a number average molecular weight of at least about 40,000 grams/mol, suitably about 60,000 to about 110,000 grams/mol.
  • Other suitable elastic polymers include without limitation single-site catalyzed ethylene-alpha olefin copolymer resins having a density of about 0.915 grams/cm3 or less, suitably about 0.860-0.900 grams/cm3, particularly about 0.865-0.895 grams/cm3. The term “single-site catalyzed” includes without limitation ethylene-alpha olefin copolymers formed using metallocene or constrained geometry catalysts. Examples of single-site catalysts include bis(n-butylcyclopentadienyl)titanium dichloride, bis(n-butylcyclopentadienyl)zirconium dichloride, bis(cyclopentadienyl)scandium chloride, bis(indenyl)zirconium dichloride, bis(methylcyclopentadienyl)titanium dichloride, bis(methylcyclopentadienyl)zirconium dichloride, cobaltocene, cyclopentadienyltitanium trichloride, ferrocene, hafnocene dichloride, isopropyl(cyclopentadienyl,-1-flourenyl)zirconium dichloride, molybdocene dichloride, nickelocene, niobocene dichloride, ruthenocene, titanocene dichloride, zirconocene chloride hydride, zirconocene dichloride, among others. A more exhaustive list of such compounds is included in U.S. Pat. No. 5,374,696 to Rosen et al. and assigned to the Dow Chemical Company. Such compounds are also discussed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,064,802 to Stevens et al. and also assigned to Dow. However, numerous other single-site catalyst systems are known in the art; see for example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,539,124 to Etherton et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,554,775 to Krishnamurti et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,451,450 to Erderly et al. and The Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, Kirk-Othemer, Fourth Edition, vol. 17, Olefinic Polymers, pp. 765-767 (John Wiley & Sons 1996); the entire contents of the aforesaid patents being incorporated herein by reference.
  • The single-site catalyzed ethylene-alpha olefin copolymer may be formed using a C3 to C12 alpha-olefin comonomer, and is suitably formed using a butene, hexene or octene comonomer. The amount of the comonomer is normally between about 5-25% by weight of the copolymer, and may vary depending on how much comonomer is needed to achieve the desired density. Normally, higher comonomer amounts and/or larger comonomer molecules result in lower densities. The low performance elastomer may have a number average molecular weight of at least about 30,000 grams/mol, suitably about 50,000 to about 110,000 grams/mol, and may have a melt index of about 0.5-30 grams/10 min. at 190° C., suitably about 2-15 grams/10 min, measured using ASTM D-1238, Condition E. Suitable single-site catalyzed ethylene-alpha olefin copolymers are made and sold by the Dow Chemical Company under the trade names AFFINITY and ENGAGE, and by the ExxonMobil Chemical Co. under the trade names EXACT and EXCEED.
  • The elastic filaments 14 impart cross-directional elasticity to the composite laminate 10. The facing layer 12 can be stretched in the cross direction, but need not have independent retractive force. As shown in FIG. 1, the elastic filaments 14 terminate at the longitudinal side edges 16 and 18 of the laminate 10, which correspond to longitudinal side edges of the facing layer 12. The elastic filaments 14 are suitably spaced apart and nonintersecting relative to each other, and are suitably parallel or substantially parallel to each other.
  • The diameter and spacing of elastic filaments 14 may vary depending on the type of elastic polymer, the end use application(s) for the composite laminate 10, the amount of retractive force desired, and other factors. For example, elastic filaments 14 may have individual diameters of about 50 microns to about 5 mm, suitably about 100 microns to about 1 mm, and may have uniform or nonuniform diameters. The elastic filaments 14 may be spaced apart by distances of about 1 mm to about 25 mm, suitably about 3 mm to about 12 mm, and may be uniformly or nonuniformly spaced. The elastic filaments 14 may cover about 5% to about 75% of a surface area of the facing layer 12, suitably about 10% to about 50%.
  • The facing layer 12 should have a cross-directional extensibility which is sufficient to permit the laminate 10 to behave as an elastic composite material. The facing layer 12 may have a cross-directional extensibility of at least about 50%, suitably at least about 100%, or at least about 200%, or at least about 300%. When the facing layer 12 is a necked nonwoven web, the cross-directional extensibility may be achieved by neck-stretching the precursor nonwoven web to about 1.1-1.6 times its initial length in the machine direction, suitably to about 1.2-1.5 times its initial length.
  • The composite elastic laminate 10 may include a second facing layer (not shown) which is subsequently applied over the elastic filaments 14 after they are bonded to the first facing layer 12. The second facing layer may be formed of the same or different materials as the first facing layer 12, and should be extensible in the cross direction to the same or a similar extent as the first facing layer 12. The second facing layer may be applied using known techniques of thermal calendar bonding, adhesive bonding, ultrasonic bonding or the like.
  • Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a method and apparatus 50 are shown for making an elastic composite material, such as the composite elastic laminate 10 described above. A facing layer 12, which can be a spunbond web or other nonwoven fabric, is unwound from an unwinder 52 and passed through a necking process 54 to form a necked nonwoven web, for instance. The unwinder 52 and necking process 54 are conventional process elements and are illustrated in block form, with details omitted.
  • The facing layer 12 is fed to a first mandrel 56, with the machine direction 11 of facing layer 12 approaching first mandrel 56 at an angle relative to its longitudinal axis 57. The angle between the machine direction 11 of facing layer 12 and longitudinal axis 57 of first mandrel 56 can be about 15-75 degrees, suitably about 30-60 degrees, or about 40-50 degrees. The first mandrel is rotated in a first direction 58, while simultaneously conveying the facing layer 12 forward in an axial direction 59, causing the facing layer 12 to wrap around first mandrel 56 in a spiral fashion.
  • As further illustrated in FIGS. 1-4, the facing layer 12 may be axially moved along the first mandrel 56 using a plurality of conveyor belts 60 driven by pulleys 62 and 64, which are synchronized for axial motion at a speed relative to the rotational surface velocity of the first mandrel 56. If the facing layer 12 approaches the first mandrel 56 at a 45-degree angle relative to the axis 57, then the axial velocity of the conveyor belts 60 should equal the rotational surface velocity of first mandrel 56. If the facing layer 12 approaches the first mandrel 56 at an angle less than 45 degrees, then the axial velocity of conveyor belts 60 should exceed the rotational surface velocity of first mandrel 56. For instance, a 30-degree approaching angle would require the axial velocity to be twice the rotational surface velocity. If the facing layer 12 approaches the first mandrel 56 at an angle greater than 45 degrees, then the rotational surface velocity of first mandrel 56 should exceed the axial velocity of conveyor belts 60.
  • The size and number of conveyor belts 60 around the circumference of the first mandrel 56 should be sufficient to control the forward axial movement of facing layer 12. If the inner mandrel 56 has a diameter of about 10-20 inches, for instance, the number of conveyor belts 60 may range from about 4-30, suitably about 6-24, or about 8-20. Each conveyor belt 60 is positioned with its outward facing portion 66 about even with an outer surface of first mandrel 56, and with its inward facing portion 68 extending through an interior of first mandrel 56.
  • The axial motion of conveyors 60 and rotational motion of first mandrel 56 can be synchronized using a crossed helical gear assembly 70 (FIG. 4) mounted on drive shaft 72 at the first end 74 of mandrel 56. The gear assembly 70 includes outer gears 78 which engage a large diameter, non-rotating internal helical gear 80 which can be mounted to the floor. The teeth of gear 80 are crossed to those of mating outer helical gears 78. The outer helical gears 78 mesh with inner helical gears 82 in non-crossed fashion. Pulleys 62 are made an integral part of gears 82 by cutting a deep grove 81 at or near the centers of the gear faces. The diameters of all three sets of gears 78, 80 and 82 and the diameter of the groves 81 forming the pulleys 62 are designed to provide the correct relation between the axial velocity of conveyor belts 60 and the rotational surface velocity of inner mandrel 56. As explained above, the axial speed of conveyor belts 60 and the surface speed of mandrel 56 will be designed to be equal in the case of a 45-degree approach of facing layer 12 to mandrel 56.
  • As best illustrated in FIG. 2, the facing layer 12 is conveyed forward in a spiral path beyond a terminal end 84 of the first mandrel 56, and between an extrusion die 86 and an inner surface 88 of a second mandrel 90. The second mandrel 90 is concentric with the first mandrel 56, encloses a portion of the first mandrel 56 (FIGS. 1 and 3), and extends beyond terminal end 84 of first mandrel 56. The second mandrel 90 is stationary, and does not rotate.
  • The extrusion die 86 includes a row of circumferentially spaced die openings 92 extending completely around its outer circumference 94. The extrusion die 86 is caused to rotate in a direction 96 (opposite the direction of rotation 58 of first mandrel 56) at an approximate speed relative to facing layer 12 and mandrel 56 so as to deposit filaments in direction 13 or substantially in that direction. At commercial manufacturing speeds the centrifugal force of polymer leaving die openings 92 is sufficient to cause a uniform, evenly spaced deposition of molten elastic filaments 14 on a surface of facing layer 12. The centrifugal force exerted on molten elastic filaments 14 by the rotation of extrusion die 86 is greater than gravitational force G, suitably greater than 2G, or about 4G to about 10G. By applying a reasonable multiple of gravitational force via rotation of die 86, the elastic filaments 14 can be applied substantially uniformly regardless of whether the filaments 14 are extruded near the top of the rotation (against the force of gravity) or near the bottom of the rotation (with assistance from gravity). However, if the rotation achieves a centrifugal force that is too high, the elastic filaments 14 may break following extrusion before they contact the facing layer 12.
  • First mandrel 56 is cantilevered from its first end and, without additional support, would be unstable at its second end while rotating at commercial speeds. Extrusion die 86 is therefore configured with support extension 120 so that when the die 86 is slid into operating position the support extension 120 (having tapered end 121) is accepted into opening 130 and pilot bearing 140 at the second end of mandrel 56, to provide sufficient support.
  • The process conditions (melt temperature, extruder rpm, etc.) are suitably adjusted so that the molten elastic filaments 14 “melt bond” (adhere) to the facing layer 12 without the aid of an adhesive. Alternatively, the facing layer 12 may be treated with an adhesive to assist in the bonding.
  • The optimum centrifugal force exerted by rotation of die 86 will depend partly on the elastomeric polymer type, molecular weight and viscosity, the extrusion temperatures, the size of die openings 92 and other process factors. To minimize breakage of molten elastic filaments 14, it is also desirable to maintain a relatively small spacing 98 between the die openings 92 and the facing layer 12, as shown in FIG. 2. The spacing 98 can be on the order of about 3 mm to about 30 mm, suitably about 5 mm to about 15 mm.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 2, the second mandrel 90 extends beyond the terminal end 84 of the first mandrel 56 and surrounds at least the portion of rotating die 86 that includes die openings 92. After the facing layer 12 is conveyed between the inner surface 88 of the second mandrel 90 and the openings 92 of the rotating die, the resulting laminate 10 is conveyed around a terminal end 99 of the second mandrel 90 and to an outer surface 101 of the second mandrel 90. A slitting mechanism 103 (FIG. 1), such as a blade or knife assembly, can be mounted with respect to the outer surface 101 near the terminal end 99 to sever the elastic filaments 14 along longitudinal side edges 16 and 18 of the composite elastic laminate 10 and facing layer 12.
  • Because the first mandrel 56 is rotating in the first direction while conveying the facing layer 12 axially, the facing layer maintains the resulting spiral path throughout the deposition of elastic filaments 14 onto facing layer 12. The rotation of the extrusion die in the second, opposite direction, expressed by N0, as revolutions per minute, can be adjusted to extrude the elastic filaments 14 onto the facing layer 12 at a desired angle. In order to achieve a significantly cross-directional disposition of elastic filaments 14, they should be extruded onto the facing layer at an angle of about −30 degrees to about +30 degrees, or about −15 degrees to about +15 degrees, or about −5 degrees to about +5 degrees, relative to the cross direction of the facing layer.
  • In many instances, it may be desirable to achieve a perfect or near-perfect cross-directional disposition of elastic filaments 14 onto the facing layer 12. Referring to FIG. 1, if the facing layer 12 is conveyed in the machine direction 11 at a velocity V, and if it approaches the first mandrel 56 at an angle of 45 degrees, the angular velocity N0 of the rotating die 86 required to achieve cross-directional disposition of elastic filaments 14 can be calculated from the following equation: N 0 = V 2 Π D 0
  • where N0 is the rpm of the extrusion die,
      • V is the machine direction velocity of the facing layer, and
      • D0 is the outer diameter of the first (rotating) mandrel.
  • Similarly, the linear (axial) speed of the conveyor belts 60 required to convey the facing layer can be designated as Vb and determined from the following equation: V b = V 2
  • In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the openings 92 in rotating die 86 are configured to provide elastic filaments which are spaced apart, nonintersecting and substantially parallel to each other, with uniform size and spacing between filaments. It is also possible to provide openings 92 of larger and smaller size, and/or greater and lesser spacing, to create zones of higher and lower elastic tension on the composite elastic laminate 10. The die openings 92 may also be arranged in more than one row.
  • It is desired to minimize friction between the facing layer 12 and the second mandrel 90, especially when the composite laminate 10 is conveyed from the inner surface 88, around the terminal edge 99, to the outer surface 101 of the second mandrel 90. As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3, this friction can be minimized by equipping the terminal end 99 and outer surface 101 of mandrel 90 with a plurality of rollers 105 and 110, suitably mounted in openings 107 in the mandrel and slots 109 in the terminal end 99.
  • The minimization of friction is especially important due to variations in the length of contact between the second mandrel 90 and the laminate 10 across its lateral width. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the first edge 16 of the laminate 10 is caused to leave the second mandrel after the elastic filaments 14 are severed, immediately after the first edge 16 is drawn around the terminal edge 99 of the second mandrel 90. However, the second edge 18 of the laminate 10 is caused to leave (i.e. depart from the outer surface 101 of) the second mandrel 90 after traversing the second mandrel with one spiral wrap after being drawn around the terminal edge 99 of the second mandrel 90. By minimizing the friction between the laminate 10 and the second mandrel 90, the effects on the laminate 10 resulting from the varying length of contact are minimized.
  • In another variation, the entire apparatus 50 (FIG. 1) may be mounted vertically instead of horizontally as shown, to facilitate more even disposition of elastic filaments 14 and eliminate nonuniformities caused by gravity.
  • The embodiments of the invention described herein are exemplary. Various modifications and improvements can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The scope of the invention is indicated by the appended claims, and all equivalents are intended to be encompassed within their scope.

Claims (29)

  1. 1. A neck-bonded laminate, comprising:
    a necked nonwoven web neck-stretched in a machine direction to cause narrowing in a cross direction perpendicular to the machine direction; and
    a plurality of elastic filaments joined to the necked nonwoven web and disposed significantly in the cross direction.
  2. 2. The neck-bonded laminate of claim 1, wherein the elastic filaments are directly bonded to the necked nonwoven web by melt bonding.
  3. 3. The neck-bonded laminate of claim 1, wherein the elastic filaments are spaced apart and nonintersecting with respect to each other.
  4. 4. The neck-bonded laminate of claim 1, wherein the elastic filaments are substantially parallel to each other.
  5. 5. The neck-bonded laminate of claim 1, wherein the elastic filaments are disposed between about −30 degrees and about +30 degrees relative to the cross direction.
  6. 6. The neck-bonded laminate of claim 1, wherein the elastic filaments are disposed between about −15 degrees and about +15 degrees relative to the cross direction.
  7. 7. The neck-bonded laminate of claim 1, wherein the elastic filaments are disposed between about −5 degrees and about +5 degrees relative to the cross direction.
  8. 8. The neck-bonded laminate of claim 1, wherein the necked nonwoven web is stretched to about 1.1 to about 1.6 times an initial length in the machine direction.
  9. 9. The neck-bonded laminate of claim 1, wherein the necked nonwoven web is stretched to about 1.2 to about 1.5 times an initial length in the machine direction.
  10. 10. The neck-bonded laminate of claim 1, wherein the necked nonwoven web comprises a fibrous web selected from the group consisting of spunbond webs, meltblown webs, bonded carded webs, and combinations thereof.
  11. 11. The neck-bonded laminate of claim 1, wherein the elastic filaments terminate at longitudinal side edges of the necked nonwoven web.
  12. 12. A method of making an elastic composite material, comprising the steps of:
    feeding a facing layer to a first mandrel at an angle of about 15 to about 75 degrees relative to a longitudinal axis of the first mandrel;
    rotating the first mandrel in a first direction around the axis, while conveying the facing layer axially forward, causing the facing layer to wrap around the first mandrel in a spiral fashion;
    conveying the facing material beyond a terminal end of the first mandrel, and between an extrusion die and an inner surface of a second mandrel;
    rotating the extrusion die in a second direction opposite the first direction while simultaneously extruding elastic polymer filaments from the extrusion die onto the facing layer, to form a laminate; and
    severing the elastic filaments along longitudinal side edges of the facing layer to form the elastic composite material.
  13. 13. The method of claim 12, wherein the facing layer is fed to the first mandrel at an angle of about 30 to about 60 degrees relative to the axis.
  14. 14. The method of claim 12, wherein the facing layer is fed to the first mandrel at an angle of about 40 to about 50 degrees relative to the axis.
  15. 15. The method of claim 12, wherein the elastic polymer filaments are extruded onto the facing layer at an angle between about −30 degrees and about +30 degrees relative to a cross direction of the facing layer.
  16. 16. The method of claim 15, wherein the elastic polymer filaments are extruded onto the facing layer at an angle of about −15 degrees to about +15 degrees relative to the cross direction.
  17. 17. The method of claim 15, wherein the elastic polymer filaments are extruded onto the facing layer at an angle of about −5 degrees to about +5 degrees relative to the cross direction.
  18. 18. The method of claim 12, further comprising the step of melt bonding the elastic polymer filaments to the facing layer.
  19. 19. The method of claim 12, further comprising the step of passing the laminate around a terminal edge of the second mandrel to an outer surface of the second mandrel before severing the elastic filaments.
  20. 20. The method of claim 12, wherein the facing layer comprises a necked nonwoven web.
  21. 21. The method of claim 12, wherein the elastic filaments are spaced apart and nonintersecting relative to each other.
  22. 22. The method of claim 12, wherein the first mandrel comprises a plurality of axially disposed conveyor belts for conveying the facing material axially forward.
  23. 23. The method of claim 19, further comprising the steps, after severing the elastic filaments, of:
    a) causing a first edge of the laminate to leave the second mandrel immediately after being drawn around the terminal edge of the second mandrel; and
    b) causing a second edge of the laminate to leave the second mandrel after traversing the second mandrel with one spiral wrap after being drawn around the terminal edge of the second mandrel.
  24. 24. A method of making an elastic composite material, comprising the steps of:
    feeding a facing layer to an outer surface of a first cylindrical mandrel at an angle relative to a longitudinal axis of the mandrel;
    rotating the first mandrel in a first direction around the axis, while conveying the facing layer axially forward, causing the facing layer to wrap around the mandrel in a spiral fashion;
    conveying the facing material between an extrusion die and an inner surface of a second cylindrical mandrel that is concentric with the first cylindrical mandrel;
    rotating the extrusion die in a second direction opposite the first direction while simultaneously extruding spaced-apart elastic filaments from the extrusion die onto the facing layer, to form a laminate; and
    severing the elastic filaments along edges of the laminate to form the elastic composite material.
  25. 25. The method of claim 24, wherein the facing layer is fed to the outer surface of the first cylindrical mandrel at a linear velocity V, the first cylindrical mandrel has an outer diameter D0, and the extrusion die is rotated at a speed N0, in revolutions per minute, defined by the equation:
    N 0 = V 2 Π D 0
  26. 26. The method of claim 24, wherein the first cylindrical mandrel comprises a plurality of axially disposed conveyor belts for conveying the facing material forward.
  27. 27. The method of claim 26, wherein the facing layer is fed to the outer surface of the first cylindrical mandrel at a linear velocity V, and the axially disposed conveyor belts move along the axis at a speed Vb defined by the equation:
    V b = V 2
  28. 28. The method of claim 24, wherein the first cylindrical mandrel is disposed partially within the second cylindrical mandrel.
  29. 29. The method of claim 24, further comprising the step of passing the laminate around a terminal edge of the second cylindrical mandrel to an outer surface of the second cylindrical mandrel before severing the elastic filaments.
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