|Edwards, Judson - Vince|
|NINGTAO, MAO - University Of Leeds|
|STEPHEN, RUSSELL - University Of Leeds|
|EDMUND, CARUS - University Of Leeds|
|GARY, LAWSON - T J Beall Company|
|BOPP, ALVIN - Southern University|
|WANG, YIYI - University Of Leeds|
Submitted to: Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part L: Journal of Materials: Design and Applications
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/17/2015
Publication Date: 1/1/2016
Citation: Edwards, J.V., Ningtao, M., Stephen, R., Edmund, C., Condon, B.D., Hinchliffe, D.J., Gary, L., Graves, E.E., Bopp, A., Wang, Y. 2016. Fluid handling and fabric handle profiles of hydroentangled greige cotton and spunbond polypropylene nonwoven topsheets. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part L: Journal of Materials: Design and Applications. 230(4):847-859.
Interpretive Summary: In recent years the preference to use cotton fibers in nonwoven absorbent products has increased. Cotton fiber is naturally renewable and biodegradable. Cotton’s characteristic soft hand, hypoallergenic properties, absorbency, and cellulosic composition have been historically utilized mostly in woven fabric products. Cotton’s current use in nonwovens is estimated to be approximately 2% (by volume/weight) of the total fiber consumption in nonwovens. Most of the cotton used at present in absorbent nonwovens is bleached cotton including lint, gin motes, linters, comber noils and so-called other cotton textile processing wastes. However, the potential to use greige (non-bleached) cotton in nonwoven absorbent products has received increased attention based on innovations in cotton cleaning and nonwovens processes that open and expose the hydrophilic cellulosic component of greige cotton fiber to water absorption. This paper further demonstrates the functionality of greige cotton as suitable for top sheet use in incontinence products. The ability of hydroentangled greige cotton and a greige cotton/polypropylene blend to function as an incontinence absorbent topsheet was demonstrated with positive results of rewet (the amount of fluid that leaks back onto the skin) strikethrough (the rate at which the fluid is transported to the absorbent core) and fluid acquisition (the volume and number of fluid insults the topsheet will accommodate without overflow or leakage). These functional characteristics of the materials were analyzed using surface chemistry analysis to understand the role of charge, swelling, and water binding in the material’s functionality. Fabric handle analysis of the materials were also completed to achieve an understanding of the relative comfort indices including. The fabric tactile comfort properties were objectively evaluated in a patented fabric handle evaluation system in collaboration with the Performance Textiles and Clothing Research Group, School of Design, Leeds University. It was found that, among the three nonwoven fabrics, the greige Cotton/PP spunlaced fabric is the softest, the least elastic, the easiest to change its dimensions and the most flexible fabric. Thus the paper show who both functional incontinence and handle properties can be better understood by developing a composite water binding model associated with the material properties.
Technical Abstract: Absorbent nonwoven topsheets are traditionally spunbond (or spunbond-meltblown (SM)) polypropylene nonwoven fabrics, and are used for a wide range of incontinence applications. Here we describe how nonwoven greige cotton demonstrates positive incontinence performance indices suitable for top sheet applications. In addition fabric handle profiles were evaluated for the same materials toward understanding their objective comfort indices. Nonwoven greige cotton when assessed for incontinence top sheet functionality confers fluid rewet, strikethrough, and acquisition similar to commercial polypropylene top sheets. The fluid transport properties of the greige cotton nonwoven materials prompted comparison (one hundred percent greige cotton and polypropylene nonwovens with a 50/50 cotton/polypropylene blend) for surface polarity, swelling, and moisture uptake. Material surface polarity, swelling, and wettability values obtained from electrokinetic and water contact angle analysis were consistent with hydrophobic properties similar to those observed for commercial top sheets. In this regard the relative hydrophobic and hydrophilic fluid transport contributions of nonwoven cotton’s cellulosic and wax components are addressed. Fabric handle properties were evaluated using the Leeds University Fabric Handle Evaluation System (LUFHES), which is an evaluation based on the mechanical energy consumed during fabric deformation. It was found that, among the three nonwoven fabrics, the greige 50/50 cotton/polypropylene spunlaced fabric is the softest, the least elastic, the easiest to change its dimensions and the most flexible fabric. Contrasting the analysis of fabric surface and handle properties with incontinence absorbency provides a composite assessment of the materials potential for functional incontinence and comfort control at the skin-fabric interface. The relevance of the results to absorbent nonwoven material performance is discussed.