A parametric finite element analysis method for low-density thermally bonded nonwovens

In this study, a new method for the finite element analysis of low-density thermally bonded nonwoven materials is proposed and compared with tensile tests. By using advantages of parametric modelling, the model with a large number of fibres is developed. It has also the advantage to implement easily any changes in its parameters such as dimensions and material properties easily. In the suggested model, bond points in a nonwoven are connected by fibres according to criteria in the input file to prevent crossing over bond points and unrealistic long-distance connections. Orientation distribution of fibres is determined by an image analysis technique based on the Hough transform and implemented into the model with the variation of cross-sectional areas of fibres. Creep tests are performed with single fibres to determine a time-dependent response under constant load due to their visco-elastic behaviour. A case of uniform tension is simulated with various elastic, elasto-plastic and creep material properties. The results for various formulations are compared with each other as well as with the data from tensile tests. The obtained results are discussed and suggestions for further development of the model are presented. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.