US3752613A - Apparatus for producing spray spun nonwoven sheets - Google Patents

Apparatus for producing spray spun nonwoven sheets Download PDF

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US3752613A
US3752613A US3752613DA US3752613A US 3752613 A US3752613 A US 3752613A US 3752613D A US3752613D A US 3752613DA US 3752613 A US3752613 A US 3752613A
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spray
surface
sheet
filaments
collection device
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C Vogt
J Polise
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GE Osmonics Inc
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Celanese Corp
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    • 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
    • D04H3/08Non-woven fabrics formed wholly or mainly of yarns or like filamentary material of substantial length characterised by the method of strengthening or consolidating
    • D04H3/16Non-woven fabrics formed wholly or mainly of yarns or like filamentary material of substantial length characterised by the method of strengthening or consolidating with bonds between thermoplastic filaments produced in association with filament formation, e.g. immediately following extrusion

Abstract

Spray-spun nonwoven sheets having improved physical properties are produced by spray spinning a fiber-forming polymer tangentially onto the surface of a sheet collection device. The randomness of the spray-spinning process provides a uniform sheet having both long and short filaments.

Description

United States Patent [1 1 Vogt et al.

[451 Aug. 14, 1973 APPARATUS FOR PRODUCING SPRAY SPUN' NONWOVEN SHEETS [75] Inventors: Clifford M. Vogt, Madison; Joseph C. Polise, Morris Plains, both of NJ.

[73] Assignee: Celanese Corporation, New York,

[22] Filed: May 24, 1972 [21] Appl. No.: 256,505

Related US. Application Data [62] Division of Ser. No. 96,040, Dec. 8, 1970, Pat. No.

[52] US. Cl 425/80, 156/181, 19/155, 425/447, 425/324 [51] Int. Cl. B29d 7/00, B290 13/00 [58] Field of Search 156/62.4, 167, 180,

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 7/1956 Slayter 425/80 X 3,535,187 10/1970 Wood 156/624 X 3,565,729 2/1971 Hartman 156/167 X 3,634,573 1/1972 Wagner et a1. 156/167 X 3,704,192 11/1972 Soehngen et a1. 156/624 X FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,809,761 8/1969 Germany Primary Examiner-Robert D. Baldwin Assistant Examiner-Michael 0. Sutton Att0mey-Thomas J. Morgan et al.

[ 57] ABSTRACT Spray-spun nonwoven sheets having improved physical properties are produced by spray spinning a fiberforming polymer tangentially onto the surface of a sheet collection device. The randomness of the sprayspinning process provides a uniform sheet having both long and short filaments.

3 Claims, 2 Drawing Figures me... Aug. 14, 1913 APPARATUS FOR PRODUCING SPRAY SPUN NONWOVEN SHEETS This is a division, of application Ser. No. 96,040, filed Dec. 8, 1970, and now U.S. Pat. No. 3,689,342.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to spray-spun fibrous sheets and to a method and apparatus for producing continuous spray-spun sheets.

Various methods have previously been advanced for producing nonwoven fibrous materials and the like directly from extruded fiber-forming materials. In gen eral, these methods form non-woven materials by extruding a fiber-forming polymer in liquid (e.g. molten or plasticized) form through a plurality of orifices to form a like number of filaments which are either collected directly, or following an intermediate drawing stage, on a moving surface in the form of a mat. Examples of such methods are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,206,058; 2,382,290; and 2,810,426.

More recently, spray-spinning processes and apparatus have been developed which permit the formation of substantially continuous filaments at high production rates without the concurrent formation of shot and other undesirable physical forms, such as a predominance of very short fiber elements. More specifically, the spray-spinning nozzle which is best suited for use with organic thermoplastic fiber-forming polymers is designed to attenuate the fibers while still in the plastic state, without excessive fiber breakage. Thus, the fiber is retained substantially as a continuous fiber or longstaple fiber. This is accomplished by attenuating the molten fiber exiting from the extrusion orifice with jets of gas at a relatively shallow angle of convergence wherein the gas jet tangentially contacts the extruded fiber. The angle of convergence is measured in a first plane containing the orifice axis and a projection of the passage axis. The first plane is defined by the axis of the extrusion orifice and by a line extending perpendicularly to the extrusion orifice axis and passing through the center of the outlet opening of one of the gas passages. The projection of the gas passage axis on the first plane intersects the orifice axis, the acute angle of intersection of the projected passage axis and the orifice axis of the nozzle is the convergence angle. This angle is a shallow angle converging toward the fiber axis. The convergence angle preferably ranges from about 3 to and more preferably from about 4 to 7. However, as noted above, because the axis of the fiber extrusion and the axes of the gas streams are skewed with respect to each other, the respective axes do not actually intersect.

The skew angle is measured in a second plane that includes the orifice axis and is perpendicular to the first plane. The projection of the axis of the gas passage on the second plane intersects the orifice axis. The acute angle of intersection of these lines in the second plane is the skew angle. This angle is between about l and 10, and preferably between 1 and 7. Therefore the fiber attenuation is effected by the close proximity of the gas axis to the fiber axis as they pass each other at their closest point. This closest point is called the convergence point.

The distance between the aforementioned axes at the convergence point is referred to as the convergence diameter. The convergence diameter ranges from about 0.5 to 18 millimeters and preferably from about 1 to 10 millimeters. The convergence point occurs at a distance of from about 12 to 125 millimeters from the fiber extrusion orifice. This distance can be varied in accordance with the convergence angle and the skew angle. It will be readily recognized by those skilled in the art that the various measurements noted above are interrelated and therefore the setting of certain angles and distances predetermine certain of the other angles and distances.

Various gas or jet pressures can be utilized in the present invention. For the gas jet dimensions described herein, pressures between about 10 and pounds per square inch gauge are normally used. However, higher or lower pressures can be used, depending upon the particular desired operating conditions, the gas jet openings, the fiber being extruded and the like. Pressures of from about 20 to 25 pounds per square inch gauge have been found to be particularly desirable for organic fibers using the gas jet more specifically described herein.

Of course, in achieving optimum conditions for particular commercial operations, due regard must be had for the specific material and processing conditions. The inclinations selected for the non-intersecting axes of the generally converging gas jets may depend for example upon such factors as gas temperature, the velocity attained by the gas, the temperature and melt viscosity of the fiber-forming material, and the deposition pattern at the zone of collection.

The aforementioned spray-spinning processes and apparatus have been used to produce spray-spun fibrous bodies comprising randomly arranged filaments having a varying degree of crystalline orientation and a varying filament diameter along their lengths. These nonwoven spray-spun fibrous materials eliminate or substantially lessen the need for various subsequent bonding treatment by random thermal and/or adhesive bonding. The filaments are bonded to each other at crossover points and the self-bonding gives the sprayspun structure substantial coherency, in addition to some degree of filament entanglement.

Nonwoven fibrous materials made by spray-spinning should have sufficient structural coherency and stability to retain their identity when handled manually or mechanically. The fibers or filaments themselves must not be made so resistant to stretching as to become brittle or susceptible to breaking when subjected to various operations -to improve their properties for a particular end use. Nonwovens having insufficient tensile strength generally do not retain their dimensions on handling due to their own weight. However, the sprayspinning operation may be controlled to obtain the desired amount of tensile strength by self-bonding of the tacky fibers to each other. A bonding agent may also be utilized to increase or achieve the desired bonded strength to maintain structural coherency.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION It is an object of this invention; to provide a novel method for producing continuous spray-spun fibrous sheets.

Another object of this invention is to provide a novel fibrous spray-spun sheet having very good aesthetics and tensile strength per unit area per weight.

Still another object of this invention is to provide a novel fibrous spray-spun sheet having effective fila' ment lengths ranging in length from long to short, randomly interentangled, to provide good strength and high structural coherency.

These and other objects will become apparent to those skilled in the art from a description of the invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, these and other objects of the invention are realized by sprayspinning substantially continuous filament material tangentially onto the surface of a collection device rotating in a direction countercurrent to the direction of filament spray. The collection surface is curved about the area of primary filament deposition so as to present a convex surface to the filament path and the collection device is preferably substantially cylindrical.

The spray-spun sheet produced has a large proportion of filaments which are spread out over relatively long distances before changing direction and, although having strong structural coherency, the sheet has fewer bond points, which leads to a softer sheet. The filament material itself has a varying amount of molecular orientation and is randomly bonded to itself at crossover points between filament sections during spray-spinning so as to form varying lengths subject to the drawing.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The continuous spray-spun sheet is produced by spray-spinning tangentially a fiber-forming polymer onto the surface of a moving collection device positioned in front of one or more spray nozzles. The filaments from the spray nozzle are so directed at the collection device, as for example a horizontally positioned rotating cylindrical drum, that part of the time the filaments strike the base of the drum and at other times the filaments go past the base and pass partly around the drum. A new portion of the collection surface is moving constantly in a direction counter to the direction of the filament spray such that successive layers of filaments are deposited on the sheet during collection. Since the filaments are still plastic when they strike the surface of the collection device, some stick or bond points are formed at points where two or more filaments touch or cross each other.

A slightly curved smooth surface extends back tangentially from the base of the collection surface, e.g. a drum. This introduces a streamlining effect to the filaments as they pass beneath the drum. The extruded filaments are projected back in a substantially straight and uniform manner for considerable lengths along the smooth surface and are finally attracted to the smooth surface and adhere. Since the collection surface is continuously being rotated in a direction counter to the direction of filament spray, the fibers break free but move along the surface without folding over on themselves and without flopping around.

Prior to this invention, spray-spun sheets have been prepared by directing the filament from the spray nozzle perpendicularly toward the collection device, such that the filaments are randomly deposited on the surface. Using this prior method of collection, only short distances existed between bonding points between the various filaments. In addition, filaments did not extend for great distances along the length of the sheet. As a result, after the sheet had been drawn, it opened up, but the sheets were relatively stiff and lacked good drape characteristics. When tom, the stretched sheet tore by the breaking of only a few filaments at a time. In addition, little coopera-tion between filaments was found, which showed that there was not much of an interfiber network structure.

This invention can be used in connection with the production of nonwoven spray-spun sheets from any of the polymers which are melt or solution spinnable. Of the various fiber-forming polymers that can be extruded through a filament-forming orifice, the polyolefins, polyurethanes, polyesters and polyamides are preferred. Plasticized cellulose esters (e.g. acetate and triacetate), acrylics and polyacetal resins, especially polyoxymethylene copolymers, are examples of other polymers within the scope of this invention and are used with correspondingly good results. Suitable blends and copolymers are also within the scope of this invention.

Basically, the spray spinning is effected by extruding liquid fiber-forming material, which may be either molten, plasticized or dissolved in a solvent therefor, through an orifice as a filamentary material. Attenuation of the incompletely hardened filament is effected by a plurality of high velocity gas streams issuing from gas passages spaced about the extrusion orifice and having axes that converge toward, but do not intersect, the extrusion axis. The gas flow projects the filament away from the nozzle in an expanding conical pattern. The filamentary material projected from the spinning zone has desirable characteristics which have been found to be particularly beneficial in the construction of nonwovens. The fibers of this invention are in the form of a substantially continuous filament structure and exhibit a random arrangement of filaments having random variations in length and random lengthwise variations in diameter and degree of orientation which result from random variations in the attenuating action of the gas streams acting on the freshly spun filaments.

As the freshly spun filament is projected away from the spinning nozzle in an expanding conical pattern by the gas streams, the collection surface, i.e., the portion of the outer surface of a collection device, such as a drum, which is rotated countercurrently to the flow of filaments and moved continuously in the path of the projected filamentary material to collect the filamentary material without destroying the random distribution of the filamentary sections. The movement of the collector surfaces or of the spinning orifice serves to bring new sections of the surface into the path of the filamentary material continuously so that the collected fiber forms a fibrous nonwoven sheet that is continuously removed from the collection zone and the fiber is uniformly deposited. In a preferred embodiment, the rotating collection device may have a series of spaced projections, e.g. spikes or pins protruding from its surface. The pins act as collection points and in a large measure prevent the largely continuous spray spun fiber from flying too far past the collection surface. This also tends to keep more fiber in vertical alignment than if the pin projections were removed.

A curved surface extending tangentially back from the collection surface is utilized. Prior to this, the prepared sheet had filaments which extend up to about 12 inches in length back from the base of the collection device. Although the spinning process was completely random, the sheet had imperfections in them due to folding over and clumping of the loose filaments which extend back from the base of the collection surface, e.g. a drum. These fibers initially were rather loose and tended to flop and flutter about due to the expansion of the attenuating gas streams. With the present process, a curved surface extends back tangentially from the base of the take-up device and overcomes these shortcomings.

The surface is curved along its length in order to introduce a streamlining effect to the fibers as they pass by the collection device. With this streamlining effect (filament flow is substantially smooth, i.e., substantially no turbulence), fibers extend considerably longer distances back past the collection device, eg a drum, (as much as about 30 inches) and finally strike and stick to the curved surface. Since the collection surface is rotating in a direction counter to the filament spray, the spun filaments, after their initial contact with the curved surface, are broken free and are drawn across the surface. In this manner, successive layers of filaments are deposited. The fibers, on being drawn across the curved surface, do not break free of the surface or flutter about. The resulting sheets do not show any imperfections and when spun sheet is biaxially stretched, a uniform open structure is produced.

The extrusion temperature, extrusion rate, speed of rotation and traverse of the collection device, and distance from the extrusion orifice to the collection surface are related to each other to assure that the collected sheets will have the desired properties and weight. While extrusion temperatures may be any where above the melting point of the polymer, it has been found that best results are obtained by heating the polymer to at least 150 centigrade, and preferably from about 250 to about 350 Centigrade, above the softening point of the polymer being extruded. For example, polypropylene having hereinafter defined char acteristics will generally be heated to temperatures of from about 325 to about 400 centigrade. Polyethylene, on the other hand, will be heated to from about 350 'to about 450 ceigrade. In the preferred embodiment, polymer is generally extruded at 1 to about 30 pounds per hour, and desirably at 2 to pounds per hour.

The collection surface is ordinarily moving, e.g. rotating, at a speed sufficient to provide a moving surface of from about 25 to about 125 feet per minute. The speed of traverse of the collection surface or, optionally, the speed of traverse of the spray-spinning nozzle, is sufficient to provide a traversing surface of from about 5 to about 60 feet per minute, preferably from about 15 to about 50 feet per minute. In addition, multiple spray-spinning nozzles may be used to preclude the necessity of traversing either the nozzle or the collection device.

, A single fiber generating source is used, the collection device is continuously rotated in a direction counter to the filament spray and the collection device is moved back and forth in a plane perpendicular to the direction of the advancing fiber. If several nozzles are used and filament streams overlap, the collection device need only rotate in a direction counter to the filament spray and there is little need for movement in a plane perpendicular to the direction of advancing fiber.

For best results, the portion of the surface of collection device first contacted should be from about 6 to about 48 inches, preferably 10 to 30 inches from the spray-spinning orifice. With greater distances, the spray pattern is difficult to control and the resultant web tends to be non-uniform. Shorter distances result in a web which contains shot, i.e., beads of nonattenuated polymer, which undesirably affects subsequent processing and web uniformity.

In the preferred nonwoven structure, the as-spun denier per filament can vary from about 0.05 to 60 (about 2.5 to 100 microns), with an average of from about 3 to 12. After stretching, the average denier per filament can be reduced to from about 0.25 to 3. In a nonwoven structure embodying this filamentary material, at least about percent of the filaments have diameters from 1 to 50 microns. The smallest diameter segments repre sent a larger portion of surface area per unit volume, while the larger diameter segments are relatively stiff and resist crushing of the nonwoven.

These novel nonwoven sheets of this invention exhibit high strip tensile strength and good drapeability (in centimeters) to weight of the sheet (in milligrams per square centimeter) of from about 0.75:1 to 1.5:1, preferably less than 1.25:1. Drapeability is measured by determining the length of the nonwoven sheet which is necessary to cause the sheet to bend from the horizontal plane when under no constrant to such an extend as to contact a declining angle of 41 .5 of slope from the point of departure of contact. A strip of nonwoven spray-spun sheet 1 inch wide is placed upon a block of wood or other horizontal surface. Abutting the horizontal surface of this material is a 41.5 inclined plane, which at its top adjoins the horizontal surface. The tested specimen is placed with the narrow edge at the juncture at the horizontal and the inclined surfaces. It is then moved over the inclined surface until the free end touches the 4l.5 slope of the testing block. The drapeability or drape stiffness, designated C, is measured in centimeters, being one-half of the free length of specimen extending beyond the horizontal surface edge. Another measurement, the cantilever stiffness or flexual rigidity (G) is determined by multiplying the weight (W) of the fabric [in milligrams per square centimeter times the cube of the drapeability in centimeters cubed (G W X C)].

In the nonwoven sheet of this invention, filaments extend for great distances along the length of the sheet and greater distances exist between bond points (i.e., two or more filaments fused at the contact point) between the various filaments. This, in combination with greater cooperation between filaments, results in a nonwoven sheet having good drapeability and high tensile strength. From about 75 percent to percent of the filaments have lengths between bond points of from about I to 20 mils on the side not touching the collection surface (the air side). On the collection surface side, from about 75 percent to 90 percent of the filaments have lengths between bond points from about 1 to 40 mils.

In a SO'micron thick section of about 0.2 inch wide strips of the full thickness of the nonwoven sheet of this invention, there are present from about 50 to bond points, from about 10 percent to 25 percent unbonded filaments (an unbonded filament is a filament not bonded at a crossover point with another filament in the given section examined), and greater than 40 percent of the bonds, preferably from about 50 to 60 percent, consisting of from two to four filaments per bond point.

A better understanding of the invention may be had from a description of the drawings wherein:

FlG. 1 is a schematic drawing of the process of producing the spray-spun nonwoven sheets of this invention.

FlG. 2 is a schematic drawing of the process of this invention wherein the collection device has a series of spaced projections on its surface.

Referring to FIG. 1, a'continuous spray-spun nonwoven fibrous sheet is produced by directing fibers spun from a fiber-generating spinneret 1 tangentially onto the bottom surface of a cylindrical collection device 3 and curved surface 4 extending back tangentailly from the base of collection device 3 near the tangential point of fiber contact with the cylindrical collection surface. The collection device 3 is rotated countercurrently to the direction of the filament spray. The fibrous sheet 6 is continuously withdrawn between rolls as the sprayspun fibrous sheet is formed. The smooth curved surface, which can be a metal plate, .cardboard, etc., is represented by the line AFE, which is a substantially smooth arcuate curved downwardly disposed with respect to the collection device 3. Theline DA is a line drawn down vertically from the center of the collection device. The front edge of the curved plate (A) must be within about an inch of line DA. The bottom point of the plate (point F) curves at a distance of from about 1 to 18 inches from the plate tip A nearest the collection devide (i.e., the distance between points A and B ranges from about 1 to 18 inches, since the line BFC is parallel to the line DA). The line A'BE is a tangent to the circular collection device 3 and is perpendicular to line DA. The distance between points B'and F can be varied from about 1 to about 3 inches. Point E represents the point where the smooth arcuate plate is again horizontal and distance A'E can vary from about inches to about 20 inches. The arcuate plate has a curvature which starts at a point G, which is from about 20 to 90 percent of the distance between the front edge of the plate A and the bottom point of the plate F (i.e., since the line HG is parallel to both lines AD and BFC, the line Al-l is from about 20 to 90 percent of the line from the collection device (i.e., the angle BA'C) can range from about 5 to 30, preferably from about 10 FIG. 2 is a schematic drawing showing the arcuate surface A'FE and collection device 3 having projections 7 on its surface.

The use of a collection device having projections on its surface helps to prevent any sheet slippage during takeup. Other types of surfaces which work equally well include (1) an etched surface, (2) a porous, screened or foramenous surface through which a vacuum can be pulled to hold the sheet to the roll, or (3) a smooth roll with a nip roll attached at the top to help prevent sheet slippage. The projections on the collection device facilitates startup, since one can place a small piece of fibrous sheet as a leader on the projections and not worry about holding it in place until the newly formed sheet product comes through. Once the system is started, the projections are unnecessary; they just make collection somewhat easier.

The following examples will serve to further illustrate the principles of this invention. All parts are by weight unless otherwise indicated.

EXAMPLE 1 Polypropylene (Profax polypropylene type 6423) was extruded through a nozzle. The substantially continuous filament material formed was spray spun tangentially onto the bottom surface of a cylindrical drum having a diameter of about 6 inches and an arcuate metal plate extending back tangentially from the base of the drum. Referring to FIG. 1, the front edge of the plate (A) was one inch farther back away from the nozzle 1, than point DA; point F was about 8 inches back from the front edge of the plate (A); point F was about 2 inches below point B, the distance A'E was about 15 inches; point G was about 3 inches from point A and angle BA'C was about 20. The fibrous stream was deposited while the continuous filaments were in a molten or semi-molten state, to form a spray-spun, fibrous nonwoven sheet. The fibrous sheet, when cut into a 12-inch finished length, weighed about 4 ounces per square yard or about 13.6 milligrams per square centimeter.

The polypropylene was spun at a temperature of 358 centigrade using a 0.028 inch diameter nozzle, of the geometric configuration described in the aforementioned Wagner et al. application. Steam at 25 p.s.i.g. and 405 centigrade was directed outwardly from the nozzle to surround the filaments issuing from the nozzle. The polypropylene was collected on a cylindrical drum positioned 11 inches from the nozzle so that the fibers tangentially strike the bottom of the drum allowing a high percentage of fibers to pass under the drum. The drum was rotating and taking up the spray-spun sheet at a speed of about 0.33 meter per minute, and the drum was traversed in the path of the projected filamentary material at a speed of 22 traverses'per minute. A sample of this spray-spun sheet had an average denier per filament of about 7.25, varying from about 0.04 to 58.5 denier per filament. A 1 meter sample of this spray-spun sheet was then biaxially drawn at a draw ratio of 3.521 in the machine direction and 2:1 in the cross-machine direction to yield a nonwoven sheet having a weight of 0.70 ounce per square yard, or 2.4 milligrams per square centimeter.

The procedure outlined above was repeated except that the collection drum was positioned so that the fibers struck the collection surface perpendicularly. The collection drum was rotated at a speed of 023 meter per minute and traversed at 29 traverses per minute respectively for three samples. These three samples were then drawn biaxially at various draw ratios to yield respectively nonwoven sheets having a weight of 0.372 ounce per square yard or 0.13 milligram per square centimeter, 1.09 ounces per square yard or 3.70 milligrams per square centimeter and 1.15 ounces per square yard or 3.89 milligrams per square centimeter.

The three perpendicularly collected sheets and the tangential sheet were then tested to determine the drapeability according to the previously outlined procedure. Table 1 below shows the improved drape, stifiness and flexual rigidity of the tangentially collected nonwoven sheets of this invention.

" indicates direction of the sheet in relation to the direction at which the extruded filaments strike the collection surface EXAMPLE ll The procedure of Example I was followed to prepare seven perpendicularly collected spray-spun sheets and seven tangentially collected sheets. The spinning temperature, gas pressure and draw ratio were varied as outlined in Table ll to give sheets having a strip tensile strength as shown in Table II below.

TABLE ll Spinning Steam Draw Strip Collection Type Temperature Pressure Ratio Tensile (C) (PSlG) (lb/in/oz/yd) Perpendicular 340 35 9X 22.5 340 35 10X 21.9 341 4] lO.5X 21.7 345 35 [X 23.1 350 41 l0.5X 20.4 352 25 9X l9.3 359 40 8X 20.4 Tangential 337 40 8X 26.9 337 40 10X 28.5 342 25 8X 24.4 349 25 8X 25.5 349 25 10X 28.7 352 25 8x 25.4 352 25 9X 24.1

Table II shows that spray-spun sheets of much improved tensile strength are obtained by spray-spinning tangentially according to the process of this invention.

Spray-spun materials produced using various other polymeric fiber-forming materials such as polyamides, polyesters, cellulose acetates, polyurethanes, acrylics, conjugates thereof and the like thermoplastic polymers are used with correspondingly good results.

The fibrous structures of this invention may serve a variety of useful purposes. They may be used as filters and find particular use as cigarette filter material. With suitable coating and/or laminations, they may serve in industrial applications instead of conventional woven materials, films and papers. The nonwoven structures of this invention can also serve in the preparation of felts, leather-like materials and suede-like materials. It may also be used as an interlining or interfacing material used in imparting shape to garments. In addition,

the tubular nonwoven fabric may be used in the fabrication of clothing such as coats and work uniforms, or the like.

While various embodiments of the present invention have been described, the methods and elements described herein are not intended to limit the scope of this invention since changes therein are possible. It is intended that each element recited in any of the following claims is to be understood as referring to all equivalent elements for accomplishing the same results in substantially the same or equivalent manner. It is intended to cover the invention broadly in whatever form its principles may be utilized, being limited only by the following claims.

What we claim is:

I. An apparatus for preparing a nonwoven fibrous structure comprising a melt extruder, a generally horizontally directed extrusion spinneret communicating with said extruder, a collection device positioned tangentially with respect to the central axis of said extrusion spinneret, an arcuate surface extending generally axially away from said extrusion spinneret tangentially from the base of said collection device, said curved surface being a substantially smooth arcuate curve downwardly disposed with respect to said collection device, the edge of the arcuate surface closest to the extrusion spinneret being within about 1 inch of a line drawn down vertically from the center of the collection device.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the lowest point of the arcuate surface with respect to the collection device is at a distance from about 1 to 18 inches from the from tip of said arcuate surface nearest the collection device, said arcuate surface starting at a point, which is from about 20 to percent of the distance between the front edge of the arcuate surface and the lowest point of said arcuate surface.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the angle said arcuate surface slopes down initially with respect to said collection device ranges from about 5 to 30.

Claims (2)

  1. 2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the lowest point of the arcuate surface with respect to the collection device is at a distance from about 1 to 18 inches from the front tip of said arcuate surface nearest the collection device, said arcuate surface starting at a point, which is from about 20 to 90 percent of the distance between the front edge of the arcuate surface and the lowest point of said arcuate surface.
  2. 3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the angle said arcuate surface slopes down initially with respect to said collection device ranges from about 5* to 30*.
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US5342335A (en) * 1991-12-19 1994-08-30 Kimberly-Clark Corporation Nonwoven web of poly(vinyl alcohol) fibers
US5366793A (en) * 1992-04-07 1994-11-22 Kimberly Clark Co Anisotropic nonwoven fibrous web
US5679042A (en) * 1996-04-25 1997-10-21 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Nonwoven fabric having a pore size gradient and method of making same
US5700254A (en) * 1994-03-31 1997-12-23 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Liquid distribution layer for absorbent articles
US5772948A (en) * 1996-11-19 1998-06-30 Plastaflex Corporation Melt-blown fiber system with pivotal oscillating member and corresponding method
US5853628A (en) * 1996-09-12 1998-12-29 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Method of forming nonwoven fabric having a pore size gradient
US6387471B1 (en) 1999-03-31 2002-05-14 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Creep resistant composite elastic material with improved aesthetics, dimensional stability and inherent latency and method of producing same
US6547915B2 (en) 1999-04-15 2003-04-15 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Creep resistant composite elastic material with improved aesthetics, dimensional stability and inherent latency and method of producing same
US20030109842A1 (en) * 2001-12-12 2003-06-12 Louis Raymond Gerard St. Separated targeted elastic zone for improved process and product function
US20030114824A1 (en) * 2001-12-19 2003-06-19 Odorzynski Thomas W. Three dimensional profiling of an elastic hot melt pressure sensitive adhesive to provide areas of differential tension
US20030124331A1 (en) * 2001-12-28 2003-07-03 Charles Morell Elastic strand bonded laminate
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US8182457B2 (en) 2000-05-15 2012-05-22 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Garment having an apparent elastic band
US6969441B2 (en) 2000-05-15 2005-11-29 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Method and apparatus for producing laminated articles
US6833179B2 (en) 2000-05-15 2004-12-21 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Targeted elastic laminate having zones of different basis weights
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US20030109842A1 (en) * 2001-12-12 2003-06-12 Louis Raymond Gerard St. Separated targeted elastic zone for improved process and product function
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US20030114824A1 (en) * 2001-12-19 2003-06-19 Odorzynski Thomas W. Three dimensional profiling of an elastic hot melt pressure sensitive adhesive to provide areas of differential tension
US20030124331A1 (en) * 2001-12-28 2003-07-03 Charles Morell Elastic strand bonded laminate
US6902796B2 (en) 2001-12-28 2005-06-07 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Elastic strand bonded laminate
US6967178B2 (en) 2002-07-02 2005-11-22 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Elastic strand laminate
US20040005834A1 (en) * 2002-07-02 2004-01-08 Peiguang Zhou Elastomeric adhesive
US20040005835A1 (en) * 2002-07-02 2004-01-08 Peiguang Zhou Elastic strand laminate
US6978486B2 (en) 2002-07-02 2005-12-27 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Garment including an elastomeric composite laminate
US7015155B2 (en) 2002-07-02 2006-03-21 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Elastomeric adhesive
US20040006324A1 (en) * 2002-07-02 2004-01-08 Peiguang Zhou Garment including an elastomeric composite laminate
US7316840B2 (en) 2002-07-02 2008-01-08 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Strand-reinforced composite material
US7923505B2 (en) 2002-07-02 2011-04-12 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. High-viscosity elastomeric adhesive composition
US7316842B2 (en) 2002-07-02 2008-01-08 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. High-viscosity elastomeric adhesive composition
US8043984B2 (en) 2003-12-31 2011-10-25 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Single sided stretch bonded laminates, and methods of making same
US7601657B2 (en) 2003-12-31 2009-10-13 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Single sided stretch bonded laminates, and methods of making same
US8057566B1 (en) 2009-08-11 2011-11-15 Aaf-Mcquay Inc. Fiberglass product
US8393180B1 (en) 2009-08-11 2013-03-12 Aaf-Mcquay Inc. Method of manufacturing a fiberglass mat
US9527025B1 (en) 2009-08-11 2016-12-27 American Air Filter Company, Inc. Fiberglass product
US20130319599A1 (en) * 2012-06-05 2013-12-05 GM Global Technology Operations LLC Non-woven polymer fiber mat for use in a lithium ion battery electrochemical cell
US9346066B2 (en) * 2012-06-05 2016-05-24 GM Global Technology Operations LLC Non-woven polymer fiber mat for use in a lithium ion battery electrochemical cell

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