Thesis Details


Thesis Title: Effects of needlepunch density, needle penetration depth, and fiber blend on optimizing needled nonwoven fabric properties
Thesis Author: Lana Chapman Farfan
Abstract: The automotive industry currently uses latex-coated needled nonwoven material in the manufacture of moldable trunk liners. The molding process involves high temperatures and pressure in conforming the needled fabric to the desired shape. These extreme conditions may cause the needled fabric to rupture during molding, resulting in wasted materials and lost production time. The purpose of this research was to optimize nonwoven fabric properties through manipulation of three variables: needlepunch density, needle penetration depth, and blend ratios of reclaimed polyester and reclaimed nylon 6,6 within the back layer of a two-ply fabric. Physical testing was performed to determine each variable's impact on abrasion resistance, fabric stiffness, heated bursting strength, and tensile properties at ambient and molding temperatures. Statistical analyses identified interactive effects among variables responsible for fabric behavior. Increasing needlepunch density and needle penetration depth resulted in greater fabric stiffness, heated bursting strength, ambient and heated tensile strength, as well as lowered elongation and fabric toughness at ambient and molding temperatures. Blend ratio was a significant factor in all tensile properties studied, demonstrating a curvilinear relationship with increasing proportions of reclaimed nylon 6,6 in most fabric characterization tests. Stiffness was reduced and heated bursting strength peaked with increasing proportions of nylon.