P&G's US patent application titled 'disposable absorbent articles being adaptable to wearer's anatomy' published online

WASHINGTON , March 28, 2014 () – According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventors ROE, Donald Carroll (West Chester, OH); NIGAM, Pankaj (Mason, OH); KLINE, Mark James (Okeana, OH); RAYCHECK, Jeromy Thomas (South Lebanon, OH); BERGMAN, Carl Louis (Loveland, OH), filed on November 14, 2013, was made available online on March 20, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is The Procter & Gamble Cormpany.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The major function of absorbent articles, such as disposable diapers and adult incontinent briefs, is to absorb and contain body exudates. One common mode of failure for such products occurs when body exudates leak out of the gaps between the article and the wearer's leg and/or waist to adjacent clothing because they are not immediately absorbed within the article. As such, contemporary absorbent articles typically contain stretchable materials in the waist, side and cuff regions to provide sustained fit and a good seal of the article to the wearer's body.

"One known technique for providing such stretchable materials is the incorporation of strands, films or nonwoven fibrous webs made of elastomeric materials. Typically, such materials are stretchable in at least one, and possibly multiple, directions. However, because the films or webs are made entirely of elastomeric materials, they are relatively expensive. Furthermore, these materials tend to have more drag on skin surface, resulting in discomfort to the wearer of the article. In some selected approaches, these stretchable strands or films are laminated to one or more substrate layers, such as nonwoven webs, plastic films, or nonwoven/film composites. Since these substrates typically are made of thermoplastic materials, they have very limited stretchability and are relatively stiff. Consequently, these laminated structures provide considerable resistance to stretch and/or conformity to a wearer's geometry. This conformity deficiency is compounded by the uniformity of these laminates, thus making them unable to adapt to the varying three-dimensional nature of the wearer's anatomy.

"Another known technique for providing such stretchable materials is the incorporation of stretch-bonded laminates and neck-bonded laminates. Stretch-bonded laminates are made by stretching an elastic strand in the machine direction (MD), laminating it to a nonwoven substrate while it is in the stretched state, and releasing the applied tension so that the nonwoven gathers and takes on a puckered shape. Whereas, neck-bonded laminates are made by first stretching the nonwoven substrate in the machine direction such that it necks (i.e., reduces its cross direction (CD) dimension), then bonding CD oriented elastic strands to the substrate while the substrate is still in the stretched, necked state. Thus, the neck-bonded laminate will be stretchable in the CD, at least up to the original width of the nonwoven before it was necked. In some selected approaches, a combination of stretch-bonding and neck-bonding techniques are used to deliver stretch in both MD and CD directions. In this combined approach, at least one of the components is in a tensioned (i.e., stretched) state when the components of the laminates are joined together. While this combined approach provides multi-directional stretchability, the uniformity of these combined laminates is unable to adapt to the varying three-dimensional nature of the wearer's anatomy.

"Yet another known technique for providing such stretchable materials is the incorporation of zero strain stretch laminates. Zero strain stretch laminates are made by bonding an elastomer to a nonwoven while both are in an unstrained state. These laminates are then incrementally stretched to impart the stretch properties. These incrementally stretched laminates are stretchable only to the extent afforded by the non-recovered (i.e., residual) extensibility of the laminate. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,156,793 discloses a method for incrementally stretching an elastomer-nonwoven laminate, in a non-uniform manner, to impart elasticity to the resulting laminate. While this approach may provide non-uniform stretchability, this non-selectable stretch does not adequately adapt to the varying three-dimensional nature of the wearer's anatomy.

"What is needed is an absorbent article having stretchable properties for sustained fit and conformity to the wearer's anatomy while also being adaptable to the varying three-dimensional nature of the wearer's anatomy. More specifically, said absorbent article should be properly shaped and/or sized to the wearer for better fit, comfort, and wearer appearance, yet have the ability to maintain the required tension when on a wearer to achieve sustained fit and prevent sagging and/or drooping of the article. For example, said absorbent article should provide better shaping (i.e., contouring) of the buttocks and/or waist region. In the case of a diaper, better fit and comfort can also impart better functional performance such as reduced leakage since the diaper would better conform to the shape of a wearer."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "A unitary disposable absorbent article comprising an absorbent core having a garment-facing surface and a body-facing surface, a liquid permeable topsheet positioned adjacent said body-facing surface of said absorbent core, a liquid impermeable backsheet positioned adjacent said garment-facing surface of said absorbent core, said backsheet having a physical variation in at least the central region of the backsheet along and overlapping at least the longitudinal axis, wherein said physical variation defines a first backsheet zone and a second backsheet zone, and at least one elastomeric element having at least one primary direction of stretch, said elastomeric element at least partially overlapping and joined to said second backsheet zone, wherein a relaxed pathlength of said elastomeric element in the primary direction of stretch is less than a total pathlength of said backsheet in the region of overlap. The physical variation is a measurable difference as measured by a physical property selected from the group consisting of basis weight, thickness and density. The physical variation is such that said second backsheet zone has a lower value than said first backsheet zone.

"The absorbent article further comprises a front waist region, a back waist region, a crotch region and, optionally, a buttocks region. The backsheet zones may be positioned in one or more of said regions. The absorbent article may further comprise a third backsheet zone which may be positioned in one or more regions. The absorbent article may further comprise a second elastomeric element which may be positioned in one or more backsheet zones. The first and/or second elastomeric elements may be linear or non-linear (e.g., substantially u-shaped, etc.).

"The absorbent article may be a disposable diaper (e.g., pant, non-preformed diaper), catamenial, adult incontinence product, or any other like product.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"While the specification concludes with claims pointing out and distinctly claiming the present invention, it is believed the same will be better understood by the following drawings taken in conjunction with the accompanying specification wherein like components are given the same reference number.

"FIG. 1 is a plan view of an exemplary, non-limiting general embodiment of a diaper in accordance with the invention;

"FIG. 2 is a plan view of an exemplary, non-limiting embodiment of a diaper in accordance with the invention;

"FIG. 3 is a plan view of another exemplary, non-limiting embodiment of a diaper in accordance with the invention;

"FIG. 4 is a plan view of yet another exemplary, non-limiting embodiment of a diaper in accordance with the invention;

"FIG. 5 is a plan view of yet another exemplary, non-limiting embodiment of a diaper in accordance with the invention; FIG. 6 is a plan view of yet another exemplary, non-limiting embodiment of a diaper in accordance with the invention;

"FIG. 7 is a plan view of yet another exemplary, non-limiting embodiment of a diaper in accordance with the invention;

"FIG. 8 is a plan view of an exemplary, non-limiting general embodiment of a pant in accordance with the invention;

"FIG. 9 is a plan view of the exemplary, non-limiting embodiment from FIG. 7;

"FIG. 10a is a schematic, cross-sectional view of the exemplary, non-limiting embodiment from FIG. 9 being worn as illustrated along line 10-10 in FIG. 11;

"FIG. 10b is a schematic, cross-sectional view of the exemplary, non-limiting embodiment from FIG. 8 being worn as illustrated along line 10-10 in FIG. 11;

"FIG. 11 is a side elevational view of the exemplary, non-limiting embodiment diaper from FIG. 2 being worn by a wearer; and

"FIG. 12 is a schematic, side elevational view of the diaper in FIG. 11."

For more information, see this patent application: ROE, Donald Carroll; NIGAM, Pankaj; KLINE, Mark James; RAYCHECK, Jeromy Thomas; BERGMAN, Carl Louis. Disposable Absorbent Articles Being Adaptable to Wearer'S Anatomy. Filed November 14, 2013 and posted March 20, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=1583&p=32&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140313.PD.&OS=PD/20140313&RS=PD/20140313

Keywords for this news article include: The Procter & Gamble Cormpany.

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