Coated and Laminated Textiles

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Products from coated and laminated fabrics. Testing product evaluation and quality.

Coating and laminating effects on the environment. Future developments and outlook. Sources of further information. Laminated fabrics are widely used in high performance apparel where fabrics are required to be waterproof yet breathable.

Coated & laminated fabric

In this case a laminate membrane Laminates often consist of a non-textile membrane sandwiched between 2 textiles, for example in the case of the micropourous membrane Gore Tex. Figure 8. Gore Tex laminated fabric depicts the functions for the different layers. Image from; Gore-tex? In this connection, the adhesive prime coat and the polymeric film laminate are applied to the textile substrate in a single step via the film laminate itself. The methods and products of this invention thus permit an automotive protective device such as a side air curtain to be pre-configured or prefabricated to numerous varied designs and shapes prior to coating which will result in economies of operation and reduce the cost of manufacturing these devices.

It has been found that by hot laminating a solid polymeric film of polyamide, polyolefin, polyether, polyester, polycarbonate or polyurethane material to the surface of a woven or non-woven textile substrate, including a single layer or multi-layered woven or non-woven textile substrate having pre-configured air holding cavities, to produce an automotive protective device such as a side air curtain, the protective device will hold air at very high pressures for extended periods of time. The textile substrate can be a woven or non-woven nylon, polyester, or other synthetic fiber, all of which are well known in the art to be useful in the manufacture of air bags and side air curtains.

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According to the method of the invention, the surface of the textile substrate is first coated with an adhesive prime coat to seal the fabric and provide a base to which an overlying solid polymeric film layer can be laminated. The prime coat material is formulated in the case of a multi-layered textile substrate having pre-configured air holding cavities to be suitable for coating the textile fabric without soaking through to the interior of the air holding cavities and thus causing sticking or blocking, which would prevent its opening when it is activated.

In another embodiment of the invention, the polymeric film layer comprises a part of a composite film structure that also includes an adhesive prime coat layer, which eliminates the need for a separate prime coating step.

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The adhesive polyurethane prime coat comprises a solution of an aliphatic or aromatic polyester polyurethane or polyether polyurethane based material or a polycarbonate-based aliphatic polyurethane that is compounded with other materials such as heat stabilizers, flame retardants, colorants and blocked isocyanate. The presence of isocyanate is important in the inventive process because when sufficient heat and pressure is applied to the prime coat composition, the isocyanate becomes adhesively activated. At this point in the process, the polyurethane reacts with and adhesively binds the overlying polymeric film layer.

The result is a thermoset film-prime coat composite which adheres to the textile fabric, seals it, and makes it air tight and able to withstand high pressures for the relatively long periods of time required of an air curtain. The tensile strength of the polyurethane prime coat when in film form is an indication that the prime coat formulation is suitable for coating a woven textile fabric for use in the invention.

The coating weight of the polyurethane prime coat on the textile fabric can be from about 0. In one embodiment of the invention, a multi-layered, woven textile substrate is first coated on both outer sides with a prime coat layer of polyurethane. The liquid prime coat material is laid down substantially evenly over the pre-configured textile substrate, e. It is important that the isocyanate not be activated at this stage in the process because otherwise the prime coat will be prematurely cured and the polymeric film laminate, which is applied at a later stage of the process, will not adhere to the surface of the textile fabric.

Another prime coat adhesive composition comprising a solution of polycarbonate polyurethane, a hot melt polyurethane and an isocyanate, results in greatly improved bonding, heat resistance and heat aging properties in the film-laminated textile fabrics of the invention. The polycarbonate polyurethane provides bonding strength to the adhesive, so that the film laminate will firmly and securely adhere to the textile fabric, even after storage at elevated temperatures for extended periods of time.

The hot melt polyurethane acts as an adhesion promoter by enabling the prime coat composition to flow smoothly and completely over the portion of the textile fabric that is to be laminated, thus ensuring a complete sealing of the side air curtain. The isocyanate provides a heat setting or cross linking function to the adhesive composition and serves to bond the film laminate to the fabric as discussed above.

More specifically, the polycarbonate polyurethane component is a polycarbonate polyol-based aliphatic polyurethane. The hot melt component comprises a polyester or polyether-based polyurethane or copolymer blends of ethylene vinyl acetate EVA. To this prime coat adhesive composition may be added such additional materials as antibacterial additives, flame retardants, colorants, heat stabilizers and finely ground silica, which serves as a reinforcement for the adhesive material. The polycarbonate polyurethane, hot melt polyurethane, and isocyanate components of the adhesive composition are typically blended in parts-by-weight ratios of , respectively, although this ratio can be adjusted as conditions require.

For example, the parts-by-weight ratios of polycarbonate polyurethane to hot melt polyurethane can be adjusted from about to about , respectively. The polycarbonate component provides bonding strength at elevated temperatures and improved heat aging properties. The hot melt component provides superior flow characteristics to the composition.

However, too much of the hot melt component can result in reduced strength and heat aging properties, so its relative part-by-weight in the composition has to be adjusted carefully in relation to the polycarbonate polyurethane component of the mixture. The isocyanate component cross links with the polycarbonate and the hot melt components at the temperature and pressure of lamination. In general, the greater the amount of isocyanate present in the composition, the faster the adhesive sets.

The part-by-weight ratio of isocyanate in the composition can vary from about , depending upon how fast it is desired to set the adhesive material.

Coated and Laminated Textile Materials and Process - Fibre2Fashion

However, it is important that the adhesive prime coat not set or cure before the lamination step in the process. This provides for a smoother, more complete surface coverage of the adhesive prime coat, which makes it easier to laminate the solid film laminate to the polycarbonate prime coat. The polycarbonate component increases the heat aging and heat resistance properties of the laminated product when it is exposed to elevated temperatures for extended periods of time.

This is of importance in connection with the minimum test levels which these types of safety products must meet. One such requirement is that the adhesion or bonding properties of the film laminates must be maintained at stress points, such as seams, after they have been exposed to elevated temperatures for extended periods of time.

The polycarbonate polyurethane adhesive composition of this invention meets this test requirement. Moreover, the improved flow characteristics of the hot melt polyurethane in the system also results in increased strength and resistance of the laminated product to the comb stripping test, which measures raveling at the seams. The lamination processes disclosed herein include both a two-step process in which the textile fabric is first coated with a prime coat adhesive layer and then later laminated with a solid film laminate, and a one-step process using a composite solid film laminate that also includes a layer of adhesive prime coat.

In the two-step process, the adhesive prime coat is spread over the textile fabric as a solution that is subsequently evaporated to dryness. It is important at this stage of the process that the prime coat be dried, but not heated sufficiently to be cross-linked or cured. The solid film laminate is then laid over the dried prime-coated textile fabric and laminated with sufficiently high heat and pressure to cross-link or cure the adhesive and set the film laminate to the fabric.

For this reason, the prime coat includes a blocked aliphatic HDI isocyanate, which slows the cross-linking mechanism and prevents the polycarbonate polyurethane from prematurely curing prior to the lamination step. In effect, this create sites for cross-linking the adhesive polycarbonate polyurethane to the woven or non-woven textile fabric, while maintaining the availability of adhesive sites to cross-link with the solid polyamide, polyolefin, polyester, polyether, polycarbonate or polyurethane film.

The level of adhesion and heat resistance desired in the product obtained and the physical properties thereof can be varied according to the amount of aliphatic HDI isocyanate used in the adhesive prime coat composition. To determine the effectiveness of the polycarbonate polyurethane prime coat adhesive compositions of the invention, airbags of one-piece woven nylon were prepared using 1 a polycarbonate adhesive, 2 an adhesive mixture of polycarbonate, hot melt polyurethane and isocyanate, in the parts-by-weight ratio of , as discussed above, and 3 a standard polyether polyurethane adhesive containing no polycarbonate.

Airbags film-laminated with these adhesives were inflated to 70 Kpa pressure and stored at various temperatures for various lengths of time to simulate storage conditions for an extended life cycle of about 20 years. They were tested for tensile strength and elongation at their breaking points and air retention over a period of time as well as to determine such heat aging effects as cracking, brittleness, deterioration, softness and flakiness.

The results of these tests are shown in the Table below.

Coated and Laminated Textiles

The results shown in the Table reflect that airbags film-laminated with polycarbonate-based adhesive prime coat compositions, exhibited substantially improved strength, flexibility and air retention at increased temperatures when compared with those laminated with standard polyether polyurethane adhesive compositions. The polycarbonate-containing adhesive prime coat compositions of the invention also exhibited superior heat aging and heat resistance properties over standard polyether polyurethane based systems. Even at room temperature approx.

As the temperature and storage times increased, the tensile strengths of the polycarbonate adhesive samples were from approximately 3 to 10 times greater than the polyether polyurethane samples, depending on the percentage of polycarbonate used. As discussed above, when polycarbonate is mixed with a hot melt polyurethane mixture, the adhesive spreads more evenly and provides better adhesion to the film laminate and also better sealing properties.

As the temperature was increased in the test samples, shrinkage in the polyether polyurethane film samples was greater than that in the polycarbonate polyurethane samples, as shown by the percent elongation in the Table.

Laminated and coated fabrics

The elasticity of the adhesive laminate was also greater in those samples laminated with the polycarbonate prime coat adhesives than in the standard polyether adhesives. Finally, samples of polycarbonate-containing adhesives retained air pressure more effectively than those with the polyether adhesives, as shown by the leak rate tests.

This is a substantial improvement in air retention and indicates that airbags made with the use of polycarbonate-containing adhesives will be better able to fulfill their safety requirements. In the film lamination step in the process of the invention, a solid polyamide, polyolefin, polyether, polyester, polycarbonate or polyurethane film is laminated to the surface of a prime-coated woven or non-woven textile fabric substrate or to both outer surfaces of a prime-coated, pre-configured, multi-layered woven or non-woven textile substrate to produce a film-textile-film laminate.

The polymeric film laminate of the invention has a thickness of from about 0. In one embodiment of the invention, as shown in FIG. In the method of the invention, as shown in FIG. Simultaneously, rolls of polyamide, polyolefin, polyester, polyether, polycarbonate or polyurethane film 11 and 12 are unwound from rolls 11 a and 12 a , respectively, and pulled in directions D 2 and D 3 , respectively, so that they contact the textile fabric 10 on sides B and A, respectively. The film-textile-film composite is then drawn, under pressure, over hot roll 13 where Side A is film laminated first, and thereafter over hot roll 14 where Side B is film laminated.

The film-textile-film laminate is then rewound at roll 15 for shipment and further processing into an automotive protective device, such as a side air curtain. During the lamination process polymeric film laminates [] 11 and 12 are laminated separately and sequentially to opposite outer sides of the precoated woven or non-woven textile fabric As shown in FIG.

When the film-textile-film composite is pressed against hot roll 14 , film 11 is pressed against heated roll 14 and becomes laminated to side B of the textile fabric at that time and place. The film laminate has a thickness of from about 0. It is to be understood that the sequence of film laminating steps described above is exemplary only, and variations thereof can be made to accommodate various manufacturing requirements. Details of the hot lamination step of the method of the invention at hot roll [] 13 is shown in FIG.

In addition to hot roll 13 , the associated structure includes feed rolls 17 and 17 a, high pressure roll 18 , and blanket Pressure is applied after the initial wrap takes place to heat-activate the prime coat, which is coated on the woven textile fabric. To prevent air bubbles from forming between the layers of film laminate 11 and side B of the textile substrate 10 , endless blanket 19 extends partially around hot roll 13 to keep film layer 11 in position against side B while film 12 is being laminated.

Film 11 , which is separated from hot roll 13 by the woven textile at this point in the operation, is not laminated.

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  6. Lamination of film 11 to side B of the textile substrate takes place at hot roll 14 , shown in FIG. The multi-layered textile fabric, laminated on both sides A and B, is then wound on roll 15 , shown in FIG. A cross-section of the laminated multi-layered woven textile fabric taken across line 4 - 4 of FIG. The adhesive prime coat layer 9 , which can be any of the above-mentioned adhesives of this invention, is shown between the film layer and the textile fabric.

    Suitable tethers 34 are provided to limit expansion of the fabric layers when the protective device is explosively deployed, and to maintain the desired expanded shape of the air curtain. Integrally woven connectors 44 and 45 between the multi-layered portions of the device are shown in FIG. In an alternative method of the invention, a multi-layered woven or non-woven textile fabric is laminated by film transfer with a composite film structure that comprises both the polymeric film layer and the adhesive prime coat layer. In this embodiment, the composite film is applied to a textile fabric, including a single layer of woven or non-woven textile substrate or a one-piece pre-configured, multi-layered woven or non-woven textile fabric in one step rather than two, thus eliminating the need for a separate prime-coating step.

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    The carrier film layer 22 , when solidified, becomes the film laminate of the invention, and has a thickness of from about 0. Typical solvents for the carrier film layer or film laminate are toluene, xylene, and dimethyl formamide DMF. An adhesive prime coat layer 23 comprises a solution of an aliphatic or aromatic polyester or polyether polyurethane based material or a polycarbonate based aliphatic polyurethane compounded with other materials, is coated onto carrier film layer 22 after it the film laminate has been solidified.

    The prime coat layer has a thickness of from about 0. When the coating process has been completed and the film composite dried, the release paper is stripped away and the composite transfer film wound on a roll. It is then ready for the lamination step, at which time it is laminated to the multi-layered woven textile substrate in the manner shown in FIGS.

    In this embodiment of the invention, there is no need to pre-primecoat the woven or non-woven, single or multi-layered textile substrate. The film-laminated textile substrate, when inflated, will be substantially air tight. When deployed, these protective air bags are designed to hold air during a rollover accident for the entire rollover period.

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