Thesis Details

Thesis Title: The effect of specific energy usage as it relates to the development of hydroentangled nonwoven fabrics and their physical properties
Thesis Author: Timothy Connolly
Abstract: This thesis research investigated the hydroentangling process for consolidating nonwoven fabrics and the factors that influence subsequent end properties of the fabric. Although hydroentangling has been available commercially for over twenty years, there is a little published about the understanding of how the system works, primarily because of the proprietary nature of nonwoven manufacturing. In contrast to conventional nonwoven bonding techniques, there is no need for environmentally hazardous chemicals or costly thermal binding fibers. It is possible to produce nonwoven fabrics with unique textile-like properties of strength, hand, drape and bulk that cannot be achieved using any other nonwoven bonding system. A survey of previous investigations indicated that little detailed information on the effect of specific energy and ratio of specific energy usage on hydroentangled nonwoven fabric properties had been published. Because consumption of hydroentangled nonwovens is projected to grow 12 percent annually, a research project to develop such information was undertaken. To determine the effects of processing parameters on fabric physical properties, fifty-four carded and cross lapped webs were hydroentangled at various levels of basis weight, specific energy and ratio of specific energy usage. A variety of physical performance tests were performed and statistically analyzed to determine the effects of processing variables. The following general results were noted: 1. Fabric physical properties were affected by varying levels of specific energy usage. 2. Increasing specific energy levels resulted in increased fabric strengths, up to a point. Additional energy increases had no effect on strength. 3. Greater specific energy ratios increased fabric air permeability and percent fiber attrition (weight loss). Increased specific energy ratios resulted in increased cross direction tensile strength. specific energy ratios had no other effect on fabric strength or performance. 4. Fiber web basis weight and web type influenced fabric physical properties and performance. 5. Normalized strength test results indicate that hydroentangled nonwoven fabrics can be engineered to compare favorably with conventional yarn-based woven and knit fabrics for certain end-use applications.