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(12) United States Patent ao) Patent No.: us 6,451,410 Bi
McGuire et al. (45) Date of Patent: Sep. 17,2002
(54) FLEXIBLE, CUT RESISTANT, AND
ABRASION RESISTANT SHEET MATERIAL
AND METHOD FOR MAKING SAME
(75) Inventors: Kenneth Stephen McGuire, Wyoming;
Peter Worthington Hamilton; Richard
Tweddell, III, both of Cincinnati;
Richard Emil Hildebrand, IV, West
Chester; Geneva Gail Otten,
Cincinnati, all of OH (US)
(73) Assignee: The Procter & Gamble Company,
Cincinnati, OH (US)
( * ) Notice: Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this patent is extended or adjusted under 35 U.S.C. 154(b) by 0 days.
(21) Appl. No.: 09/358,136
(22) Filed: Jul. 20, 1999
Related U.S. Application Data
(63) Continuation-in-part of application No. 09/336,495, filed on Jun. 18, 1999, now abandoned.
(51) Int. CI.7 B32B 3/28; B29C 35/08
(52) U.S. CI 428/156; 428/131; 428/480;
428/409; 428/141; 264/435; 264/494; 264/496;
264/495; 264/285; 264/286
(58) Field of Search 428/131, 156,
428/480, 409, 141; 264/435, 494, 496, 495, 285, 286
(56) References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
4,557,963 A * 12/1985 Caines 156/220
4,975,358 A * 12/1990 Sonnenschein et al 430/495
5,008,332 A * 4/1991 Sano et al 525/92
5,411,805 A * 5/1995 Magill 428/411.1
5,733,628 A * 3/1998 Pelkie 428/138
5,965,235 A 10/1999 McGuire et al.
6,274,232 Bl 8/2001 Otten et al.
* cited by examiner
Primary Examiner—William P. Watkins, III
(74) Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Peter D. Meyer; Leonard
The present invention provides a sheet of crystallizable material, having opposed first and second surfaces, the sheet comprising: (a) a plurality of crystalline regions located in the first surface; and (b) an amorphous matrix surrounding and separating the crystalline regions from one another. The present invention also provides a method of making a flexible, cut resistant, and abrasion resistant sheet material, the method comprising the steps of: (a) providing a sheet of crystallizable amorphous material having opposed first and second surfaces; (b) crystallizing discrete regions of the first surface of the sheet of material, the discrete regions being separated from one another by a continuous amorphous matrix.
18 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets
U.S. Patent Sep. 17,2002 Sheet 2 of 2 US 6,451,410 Bl
FLEXIBLE, CUT RESISTANT, AND
ABRASION RESISTANT SHEET MATERIAL
AND METHOD FOR MAKING SAME
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED 5
This is a continuation-in-part of our commonly-assigned, co-pending prior application Ser. No. 09/336,495, filed Jun. 18, 1999 abandoned.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates sheet materials which are not only flexible, but also cut resistant and abrasion resistant. The present invention further relates to methods for manu- 15 factoring such sheet materials.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
For many applications, sheet materials having durable wear and tear characteristics such as cut resistance and 20 abrasion resistance are desirable. One such example is the use of protective sheet materials for countertops during food preparation operations. For this example and many others, however, it is often desirable that the sheet material also be flexible to conform to irregular and/or non-planar supporting 25 surfaces and to be more easily stored, dispensed, and manipulated during use.
For this reason, many materials which are highly cut and abrasion resistant are less than desirable due to the lack of flexibility and conformability typically inherent with such 30 materials. The reverse is also true, as many materials which are highly flexible and conformable are less than desirable due to the lack of cut and abrasion resistance typically inherent with such materials.
In recognition of these issues, certain composite and/or 35 laminate materials have been developed which combine components exhibiting each of the desirable properties into a coherent structure with overall properties generally intermediate those of each material separately. While such materials may be suitable for certain applications, the points or 40 regions of joinder between diverse materials frequently become points or regions of vulnerability to detachment when the sheet material is subjected to cutting or abrasion forces or repeated flexing under in-use conditions.
Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide multiple diverse properties such as cut resistance, abrasion resistance, and flexibility in a unitary material structure.
It would also be desirable to provide such a material which is durable, in use. 50
It would further be desirable to provide such a material which may be readily and economically manufactured.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention provides a sheet of crystallizable 55 material having opposed first and second surfaces, the sheet comprising: (a) a plurality of crystalline regions located in the first surface; and (b) an amorphous matrix surrounding and separating the crystalline regions from one another. The present invention also provides a method of making a 60 flexible, cut resistant, and abrasion resistant sheet material, the method comprising the steps of: (a) providing a sheet of crystallizable amorphous material having opposed first and second surfaces; (b) crystallizing discrete regions of the first surface of the sheet of material, the discrete regions being 65 separated from one another by a continuous amorphous matrix.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
While the specification concludes with claims which particularly point out and distinctly claim the present invention, it is believed that the present invention will be better understood from the following description of preferred embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals identify identical elements and wherein:
FIG. 1 is a plan view of a representative sheet of material in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an elevational sectional view of the sheet of material of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an elevational sectional view of another embodiment of a sheet material in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 4 is an elevational sectional view of a further embodiment of a sheet material in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 5 is an elevational sectional view of yet another embodiment of a sheet material in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 6 is an elevational sectional view of the sheet material of FIG. 5 utilized as a protective cover layer in an absorbent composite sheet; and
FIG. 7 is a schematic illustration of a process suitable for manufacturing the sheet material of FIG. 5.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
FIG. 1 depicts a representative embodiment of a sheet material 10 in accordance with the present invention. As discussed below in greater detail with reference to FIG. 2, the sheet material 10 has a three-dimensional cross-section which includes a plurality of defined regions 20 which are surrounded by and separated from one another by a continuous matrix 30. The sheet 10 has a first surface 25 and an opposing second surface 35, both of which are substantially planar in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2.
The sheet 10 is unitarily formed from a crystallizable material of the desired gauge or thickness and having the desired mechanical and chemical properties. The plurality of regions 20 exhibit crystalline properties and define crystalline regions of the sheet within the first surface. The remainder of the sheet comprises the continuous matrix 30 which surrounds and separates the crystalline regions from one another. In contrast to the crystalline regions, the continuous matrix exhibits substantially amorphous properties and defines an amorphous matrix.
Crystalline regions such as those depicted in FIG. 1 may take any form, size, and arrangement desired, either regular or irregular. For example, the regions may share a common size and/or shape, or may differ from each other. They may also be arranged in a regular repeating array pattern, or may be irregularly arranged. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the regions form an amorphous pattern such as those developed for the prevention of nesting in wound rolls of three dimensional sheet products. Such patterns have been disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,965,235, issued Oct. 12, 1999, in the names of McGuire, Tweddell, and Hamilton, entitled "Three-Dimensional, Nesting-Resistant Sheet Materials and Method and Apparatus for Making Same", the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.
As a general proposition, if a unitary sheet of crystallizable material exhibits a certain degree of flexibility when in