Biaxial Response of Individual Bonds in Thermomechanically Bonded Nonwoven Fabrics
Wijeratne, Roshelle Sumudu
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Thermomechanically bonded spunbond nonwoven fabrics contain discrete bonds that are formed by melted and fused fibers. Through equi-biaxial tensile testing and simultaneous image capture, the mechanical response of individual bonds was studied through loading in the preferential fiber direction, the machine direction, and in the direction that is perpendicular, the cross direction, of the fabric web. Independent biaxial force and displacement data were collected and analyzed, and the maximum force and stiffness of the bonds in the machine and cross directions were found to be statistically different. After scaling the maximum force and stiffness by a relative basis weight parameter, a fiber orientation parameter, and the width of the bond itself, the peak force and stiffness in the machine and cross directions were found to no longer be statistically different. This indicates that basis weight, fiber orientation, and bond size dictate the biaxial mechanical behavior of the bonds. Furthermore, significant fiber debonding was observed in all the bonds tested, effectively suggesting bond disintegration into the individual component fibers during testing. Digital image correlation, using the captured images, was utilized to calculate local and average Eulerian strains of the bond during the initial stages of the test. The strain experienced by the bonds in the machine direction was always positive and increasing as the biaxial load increased. The strain in the cross direction, however, experienced increasing and decreasing strain. Local strain maps revealed the highly inhomogeneous strain response of the bonds under biaxial loading.
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