Mechanics and Fracture Behavior of Thermomechanical Bonds in Nonwoven Fabric
Rittenhouse, Joseph Anderson
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The market for nonwoven fabrics has experienced extreme growth in recent years and is expected to double in size from 2010 to 2020. This remarkable growth can be attributed to its numerous applications, ease of manufacturing, and customizable properties such as fabric stiffness, extensibility, and composition. The lifetime of the fabric is extremely important to producers and depends strongly on its micro-mechanical properties. Previously published studies have investigated the bulk fabric properties and the constituent fiber properties. However, nothing has been done to determine the properties of individual thermo-mechanical bonds that connect the constituent fibers of the fabric together. These bonds provide the mechanical integrity of the nonwoven fabrics. This study is the first to examine individual bonds by measuring their mechanical properties via uniaxial tensile tests and by computing the basis weight and orientation of the fibers surrounding the bonds. The results demonstrate that there is a high correlation between the fiber structure around the bond and the bond mechanical properties. The amount and directions of fibers affect how the load is transmitted through the bond and distributed across the fabric. Namely, if there are a few fibers surrounding the bond, or the primary fiber direction is different from the loading direction, then the force sustained by the bond is significantly lower and the bond does not deform. Conversely, if there are many fibers in the loading direction then the bond can sustain a significantly large force and undergoes deformation. The fiber and bond deformation are also observed through microscopic images captured during the uniaxial tensile tests. Ultimately, this research details the results for an effective method to test and analyze the mechanical integrity of thermo-mechanically bond and the lifetime of the nonwoven fabrics.
- Masters Theses