Unicharm's US patent application for 'absorbent article' published online

WASHINGTON , March 7, 2014 () – A patent application by the inventors Komatsu, Shimpei (Kagawa, JP); Noda, Yuki (Kagawa, JP); Wada, Mitsuhiro (Kagawa, JP); Hashino, Akira (Kagawa, JP); Kinoshita, Hideyuki (Kagawa, JP); Nakashita, Masashi (Kagawa, JP); Wada, Ichiro (Kagawa, JP), filed on April 23, 2012, was made available online on February 27, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application is assigned to Unicharm Corporation.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "As the basic performance of absorbent articles, such as sanitary napkins and panty liners has continued to improve with technological development over many years, leakage after absorption of excreta, such as menstrual blood has become a less frequent occurrence than in the past. Recent developments are now directed towards absorbent articles with even higher performance, including a feel similar to underwear, and smoothness of the top sheet even after absorption of excreta, such as menstrual blood. Menstrual blood during menstruation may include highly viscous components of the endometrium, and the top sheet should remain smooth and stick-free (non-sticky) even after absorption of such highly viscous menstrual blood. Highly viscous menstrual blood usually remains on the top sheet in the form of masses, generally leaving the user with a visually unpleasant image.

"PTL 1, for example, discloses an absorbent article wherein the top sheet has a lotion coating comprising an emollient and an immobilizing agent. According to PTL 1, the lotion coating is used to prevent residue of menstrual blood on the skin or hair of the user.

"PTL 2 teaches the use of a lotion composition comprising at least one compound that is liquid at 25.degree. C. and at least one compound that is solid at 25.degree. C., to reduce the adhesion of excreta and menstrual blood onto human skin. Similar to PTL 1, the purpose of PTL 2 is to prevent residue of menstrual blood on the skin or hair of users.

"PTL 3 describes an absorbent article that includes cellulose-based hydrophilic fiber comprising one or more surfactants selected from the group consisting of sugar alkyl ethers and sugar fatty acid esters, at locations other than the skin contact surface. According to PTL 3, the effect of the surfactant is to cause blood entering through the top sheet to contact with the surfactant in a second sheet and/or absorber, thereby altering the viscosity and surface tension of the blood so that it is more easily taken up into the absorber, and so that it is more easily absorbed by a super-absorbent polymer. PTL 4 and PTL 5 also describe absorbent articles comprising such surfactants.

"Finally, PTL 6 discloses an absorbent article wherein a polypropyleneglycol material-containing lotion composition is applied onto at least part of the outer surface of a top sheet."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Technical Problem

"The inventors have noted that the technical solutions disclosed in PTL 1 and PTL 2 merely prescribe the use of a lotion coating to prevent residue of menstrual blood and the like on the skin or hair of the user, and do not appear to allow the user to visually detect the menstrual blood migrating into the absorber.

"Also, the technical solutions described in PTL 3 to PTL 5 use surfactants in an attempt to alter the viscosity and surface tension of highly viscous menstrual blood and increase the absorption rate of liquids, but do not appear to allow the user to visually confirm the migration of menstrual blood into the absorber and the reduction in the residue of the menstrual blood on the top sheet surface.

"PTL 6, likewise, does not appear to allow the user to visually confirm the reduction in menstrual blood on the top sheet surface.

"It is therefore an object of this disclosure to provide an absorbent article that allows the user to visually confirm reduction in residue of highly viscous menstrual blood on the top sheet after its absorption, thereby providing reassurance to the user.

"Solution to Problem

"As a result of diligent research directed toward solving the problems described above, the present inventors have produced an absorbent article comprising a liquid-permeable top sheet, a liquid-impermeable back sheet, and an absorbent body between the liquid-permeable top sheet and liquid-impermeable back sheet, wherein the top sheet exhibits a color difference in the range of 37-80, based on the L*a*b* color system and measured from a skin contact surface of the top sheet in a liquid dropping test.

"Advantageous Effects of Invention

"The absorbent article of the disclosure allows the user to visually confirm reduction in residue of highly viscous menstrual blood on the top sheet after its absorption, thereby providing reassurance to the user.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWING

"FIG. 1 is an image of sanitary napkin No. 1-1, 40 seconds after completing a second dropping of horse EDTA blood.

"FIG. 2 is an image of sanitary napkin No. 1-2, under the same conditions.

"FIG. 3 is an image of sanitary napkin No. 1-4, under the same conditions.

"FIG. 4 is an image of sanitary napkin No. 1-5, under the same conditions.

"FIG. 5 is an image of sanitary napkin No. 1-6, under the same conditions.

"FIG. 6 is an image of sanitary napkin No. 1-7, under the same conditions.

"FIG. 7 is an image of sanitary napkin No. 1-9, under the same conditions.

"FIG. 8 is an image of sanitary napkin No. 1-10, under the same conditions.

"FIG. 9 is an image of sanitary napkin No. 1-11, under the same conditions.

"FIG. 10 is an image of sanitary napkin No. 1-14, under the same conditions."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Komatsu, Shimpei; Noda, Yuki; Wada, Mitsuhiro; Hashino, Akira; Kinoshita, Hideyuki; Nakashita, Masashi; Wada, Ichiro. Absorbent Article. Filed April 23, 2012 and posted February 27, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=1221&p=25&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140220.PD.&OS=PD/20140220&RS=PD/20140220

Keywords for this news article include: Unicharm Corporation.

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