Mechanical behaviour of thermally bonded bicomponent fibre nonwovens: experimental analysis and numerical modelling
2020-01-09T11:48:37Z (GMT) by
In contrast to composites and woven fabrics, nonwoven materials have a unique web structure, which is composed of randomly oriented fibres bonded in a pattern by mechanical, thermal or chemical techniques. The type of nonwovens studied in this research is a thermally bonded one with polymer-based bicomponent fibres. Such fibres have a core/sheath structure with outer layer (sheath) having a lower melting temperature than that of the core. In thermal bonding of such fibres, as the hot calender with an engraved pattern contacts the fibrous web, bond points are formed thanks to melting of the sheath material. Molten sheath material acts as an adhesive while core parts of the fibres remain fully intact in the bond points. On the other hand, web regions, which are not in contact with the hot engraved pattern, remain unaffected and form the fibre matrix that acts as a link between bond points. With two distinct regions, namely, bond points and fibre matrix, with different structures, nonwovens exhibit a unique deformation behaviour. This research aims to analyse the complex mechanical behaviour of thermally bonded bicomponent fibre nonwoven materials using a combination of experimental and numerical methods. A novel approach is introduced in the thesis to predict the complex mechanical behaviour of thermally bonded bicomponent fibre nonwovens under various threedimensional time-dependent loading conditions. Development of the approach starts with experimental studies on thermally bonded bicomponent fibre nonwovens to achieve a better understating of their complex deformation characteristics. Mechanical performance of single bicomponent fibres is investigated with tensile and relaxation tests since they are the basic constituents of nonwoven fabrics. The fabric microstructure, which is one of the most important factors affecting its mechanical behaviour, is examined with scanning electron microscopy and X-ray micro computed tomography techniques. At the final part of experimental studies, mechanical response of thermally bonded bicomponent fibre nonwovens is characterised with several mechanical tests. (Continues...).