Computational modelling and experimental validation of the thermal fusion bonding process in porous fibrous media

This article presents a computational model of the thermal bonding of nonwovens using convective hot air and its experimental validation. A computational fluid dynamics model based on the continuum modelling approach and the theory of porous media is developed to treat the flow behaviour and heat transfer within the thermal bonding system. The model includes several components of a typical industrial machine including the conveyer belt, drum cover, drum, and the nonwovenweb. Experimental measurements are used to supply appropriate boundary conditions for the simulations and to provide data for the validation of the numerically computed results. The model is concluded to be an accurate computational tool that could potentially replace the costly experiments and be employed in product development, process optimization, and machine design.