Title:
Flame resistant matelasse fabrics
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to the use of a flame resistant three-layer double-knit or woven fabric, also know as a matelasse fabric. The top layer is of standard non-flame resistant face yarn, the middle layer is of flame resistant filler yarn and the bottom layer is of flame resistant core wrap spun yarn. This flame resistant matelasse fabric can be used to protect a mattress, foundation, mattress pad, pillow, comforter, upholstery cushion, pillow, office panel, transportation seat or any other article requiring flame resistant protection. In this invention, a matelasse fabric is formed by circular double knitting or weaving a flame resistant core spun yarn into the bottom portion of the fabric, utilizing a heavy cotton count flame resistant filler yarns for the middle layer and using conventional non-flame resistant yarns for the top layer. The invention has particular applicability in the formation of flame resistant mattresses and foundations that require passage of large open flame tests such as CPSC's 16 CFR part 1633, California's Test Bulletin 603 and Test Bulletin 129 and in the formation of flame resistant upholstered furniture that requires passage of California's Test Bulletin 133 or British Standard 5852 using the crib 5 ignition source or higher.



Inventors:
Mckinnon, Bob (Newton, NC, US)
Dry, Nathan (Angier, NC, US)
Smith, Tommy R. (Anderson, SC, US)
Daniel Jr., Robert L. (Williamsburg, VA, US)
Cook, Mike (Grahm, NC, US)
Land, Frank J. (Island Park, NY, US)
Handermann, Alan C. (Asheville, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/412841
Publication Date:
04/05/2007
Filing Date:
04/28/2006
Assignee:
McKinnon Land LLC (Charlotte, NC, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
428/920, 428/921, 442/203, 442/301
International Classes:
D04B1/22; D03D13/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
STEELE, JENNIFER A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CROWELL & MORING LLP (WASHINGTON, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A three-layer double-knit or woven fabric where the top layer is composed of standard non-flame resistant face yarn, a middle layer comprised of flame resistant filler yarn and the bottom layer comprising flame resistant core wrap spun yarn.

2. The fabric of claim 1, wherein the top layer yarn is comprised of cotton, rayon, lyocell, polyesters, acrylic, nylons, wool, silk, mohair, cashmere, kenaf, jute, sisal, polyolefins, cellulose acetates, triacetate and polylactides or any combination thereof.

3. The fabric of claim 1, wherein the middle layer filler yarn comprised of fiber blends of polyester/modacrylic, cotton/modacrylic, acrylic/modacrylic, rayon/modacrylic, lyocell/modacrylic or nylon/modacrylic fibers or polyester/modacrylic/melamine, cotton/modacrylic/melamine, acrylic/modacrylic/melamine, rayon/modacrylic/melamine, lyocell/modacrylic/melanime or nylon/modacrylic/melamine fibers.

4. The fabric of claim 1, wherein the middle layer filler yarn is comprised of fiber blends of polyester/chloropolymeric fiber, cotton/chloropolymeric fiber, acrylic/chloropolymeric fiber, rayon/chloropolymeric fiber, lyocell/chloropolymeric fiber or nylon/chloropolymeric fiber.

5. The fabric of claim 1, wherein the bottom layer is comprised of flame resistant core wrap spun yarns selected from a nylon and glass core wrap spun yarn or a glass core wrap spun yarn.

6. A flame resistant barrier material useful in mattresses or foundation, upholstered furniture, top of the bed or transportation seating, which barrier material is comprised of the fabric of claim 1.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of prior filed provisional application No. 60/675,467, filed Apr. 28, 2005, which provisional application is hereby incorporated by referenced in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a flame resistant three layer, double-knit or woven fabric, which has particular application in the formation of mattresses and its foundations.

2. Description of the Related Art

It is well known in the textile industry to produce flame resistant products for use in upholstered furniture, mattresses, foundations, automotive seating, public transportation seating, aircraft seating and the like, using needlepunched, highloft, spunbond or spunlace nonwoven, conventional woven or conventional knit fabrics formed of natural or synthetic fibers, and then treating these fabrics with fire retarding chemicals. Conventional fire retarding chemicals include borate-based, halogen-based, phosphorus-based, melamine-based and/or antimony-based chemicals. Unfortunately, such treated fabrics are heavier than similar types of non-fire retardant fabrics, and have reduced wear life. Although chemically treated fabrics will self-extinguish and exhibit limited melt behavior when a flame is removed, they typically form brittle chars, shrink and crack open after exposure to a direct flame allowing the underlying materials to ignite. Another disadvantage of chemically treated fabrics are that they are not considered durable in that they can lose their flame retardant properties if exposed to water and it is also possible that the fire retardant chemical can migrate over time, causing a loss in flame resistant performance. When fabrics made with fire retardant cotton, fire retardant polyester and other chemically treated fabrics are used in composite articles such as upholstered furniture and mattresses and foundations, these composite article are usually deemed unsuited for passing the more stringent open flame tests such as: California Test Bulletin 133 (TB133), California Test Bulletin 129 “Flammability Test Procedure for Mattresses for use in Public Buildings”, October 1992 (TB129), California Test Bulletin 603 (TB603), and British Standard 5852—Crib 5 (BS5852) without the use of an additional flame barrier or fire retardant backcoating materials.

Some of the flame barrier fabrics currently being used with the goal to pass the more stringent open flame tests, such as TB129, TB133 and TB603 include:

  • 1) A woven polymer coated 100% fiberglass flame barrier (Sandel® Fabric, Sandel International Inc.)
  • 2) A woven or knit core-spun yarn based flame barrier where natural and/or synthetic fibers are wrapped around a multifilament glass and/or a spun p-aramid core yarn and then optionally treated with fire retardant chemicals and/or a coating of thermoplastic polyvinyl halide composition, such as polyvinyl chloride (Firegard® Seating Barriers, Intek; Firegard® Brand Products, Chiquola Fabrics, LLC, Alessandra flame resistant barrier cloth, McKinnon-Land, LLC)
  • 3) A nonwoven hydroentangled spunlace flame barrier made of 100% p-aramid (Thermablock™ Kevlar® Z-11, DuPont Company)
  • 4) A nonwoven flame resistant highloft barrier made from blends of inherently flame resistant or chemically treated fibers and fibers containing halogenated monomers (Protech™ flame resistant Highloft, Carpenter Co., Fire Resistant High Loft, Dupont, Esyntial Safe, Western Nonwovens Inc.)

The disadvantages of the above mentioned flame barrier solutions for more stringent open-flame applications in upholstered furniture, mattress, foundations and other fiber-filled applications include:

    • a) Woven flame barriers, especially when coated with fire retardant chemicals, impart a stiff “hand” to the composite article, which negatively affect the feel of the final product.
    • b) Many woven, nonwoven and conventional knit flame barriers must be either laminated to the decorative fabric or double upholstered during manufacturing. This increases the number and complication of the dress cover fabrics, thereby increasing manufacturing costs.
    • c) 100% fiberglass flame barriers have poor durability due to glass-to-glass abrasion.
    • d) Natural fiber wrapped core-spun yarn fabrics require additional fire retardant chemical treatments and/or coatings of a thermoplastic polyvinyl halide composition, such as polyvinyl chloride to be effective in passing the more stringent open-flame tests. This negatively impacts the workplace by having to handle these chemicals and increases the exposure of chemicals to the consumer who uses the composite article.
    • f) Hydroentangled nonwoven spunlace flame barriers, containing significant amounts of p-aramid fibers, which impart a yellow color to the flame barrier and negatively effect the look of the composite article, especially when used directly under white or light-colored decorative upholstery and/or mattress ticking fabrics and are negatively affected by UV light. They also are difficult to cut when manufacturing the quilt panels of mattresses or the upholstering a piece of furniture.
    • g) Flame resistant highloft barrier fabric, although well suited for applications where fill power and bulk are desired characteristics, are a detriment in barrier applications where thin barrier materials are desired for increased manufacturing speed and/or aesthetic appeal.
    • h) All the above described solutions have to be included in the manufacture of the composite article as an additional barrier layer, whereas a the subject of this invention can be utilized as a replacement of existing cover fabric on a mattress or upholstered article.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

To overcome or conspicuously ameliorate the disadvantages of the related art, it is an object of the present invention to provide a novel flame resistant three-layer double-knit (matelasse) fabric that is easily applied to articles for which flame resistant protection is desired. In its preferred usage in the present application, the term “flame resistant” means a product which helps to reduce the level of flammability of the final article to the point at which it is able to pass a large open flame composite type flammability test, such as: California Test Bulletin 129 (TB129) or California Test Bulletin 603 (TB603) for mattresses and foundations and California Test Bulletin 133 (TB133) for upholstered furniture. The flame resistant matelasse fabric, of the present invention, allows for the continued use of conventional fill materials such as polyester fiberfill and polyurethane foams, while still passing these stringent large open flame tests. It is understood by someone skilled in the art that flame resistant matelasse fabrics of different constructions then mentioned specifically in this invention, can be designed and produced to pass less stringent open flame tests such California's Revised Test Bulletin 117 (TB117—draft 02/02 version) and British Standard 5852, etc.

The invention relates to the use of a flame resistant three-layer double-knit fabric, also know as a matelasse fabric. The top layer is of standard non-flame resistant face yarn, the middle layer is of flame resistant filler yarn and the bottom layer is of flame resistant core wrap spun yarn. This flame resistant matelasse fabric can be used to protect a mattress, foundation, upholstery cushion, pillow, office panel, mattress pad, pillow, comforter, transportation seat or any other article requiring flame resistant protection. In this invention, a matelasse fabric is formed by circular double knitting a flame resistant core spun yarn into the bottom portion of the fabric, utilizing a heavy cotton count flame resistant filler yarns for the middle layer and using conventional non-flame resistant yarns for the top layer.

The invention has particular applicability in the formation of flame resistant mattresses and foundations that require passage of large open flame tests such as California's Test Bulletin 603, CPSC's 16 CFR part 1633, and Test Bulletin 129 and in the formation of flame resistant upholstered furniture that requires passage of California's Test Bulletin 133 or British Standard 5852 using the crib 5 ignition source or higher.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In accordance with the first aspect of the invention, three different types of spun yarns are manufactured, which are knit into a three-layer matelasse fabric. The top layer of the matelasse fabric is comprised of standard non-flame resistant face yarns, such as those made from cotton, rayon, lyocell, polyesters, acrylic, nylons, wool, silk, mohair, cashmere, kenaf, jute, sisal, polyolefins, cellulose acetates, triacetate and polylactides or any combination thereof. Normally these yarns are spun into 20/1-36/1 cotton count range. The middle layer is comprised of flame resistant filler yarns, such as those made from fiber blends of polyester/modacrylic, cotton/modacrylic, acrylic/modacrylic, rayon/modacrylic, lyocell/modacrylic or nylon/modacrylic, etc. Modacrylic fibers are flame resistant acrylic fibers as is known in the industry. Chloropolymeric fibers such as polyvinylchloride fibers can also be substituted for the modacrylic fiber in the fiber blends used to make these filler yarns. Normally the filler yarns are heavy spun yarns in the 2/1-6/1 cotton count range. The bottom layer is comprised of flame resistant core wrap spun yarns, in the 10/1-26/1 cotton count range, such as ALES SANDRA (McKinnon-Land LLC), a nylon and glass core wrap spun yarn, or FIREGARD (Springs Industries), a glass core wrap spun yarn. These three yarn types are brought together on a circular double knit machine to form the matelasse fabric.

EXAMPLE I

A flame resistant corespun yarn (ALESSANDRA, by McKinnon Land LLC) is produced on a Murata air-jet spinning frame, consisting of a dual core of continuous filament fiberglass and continuous nylon yarn wrapped with a triblend sliver of modacrylic (PROTEX-W, Kaneka Corporation), melamine (BASOFIL, by Basofil Fibers LLC) and polyester staple fibers to form a corespun yarn with a yarn cotton count of 14/1. This core spun yarn is then double knit, in a three-layer construction, as the bottom layer of the matelasse fabric.

A filler yarn consisting of a blend of 25% (PROTEX-W, Kaneka Corporation)/75% polyester standard staple fiber, with a cotton count of 2/1 is utilized as the middle layer of the matelasse fabric.

A face yarn consisting of a 100% cotton spun yarn, with a cotton count of 26/1, is utilized as the top layer of the matelasse fabric.

The three yarns described above are brought together on a circular double knit machine to form a 14 ounce per square yard matelasse knit fabric.

The matelasse knit fabric, as described above, is quilted, with layers of polyurethane foam and polyester fiber, as a mattress ticking panel and border with standard mattress quilting machines.

Mattress and foundation articles are manufactured with the quilted flame resistant matelasse knit panels and borders and tested at Underwriters Laboratories (Northbrook, Ill.) according to California Test Bulletin 603. The Peak Rate of Heat Release was 39 KW (maximum allowable rate of heat release is 200 KW) and the Total Heat Release was 5 MJ (maximum allowable in first 10 minutes is 25 MJ). This test was considered a significant pass of CAL TB 603.

While the embodiments of the invention described herein are presently preferred, various modifications and improvements can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The scope of the invention is indicated in the appended claims, and all embodiments that fall within the meaning and the range of equivalents are intended to be embraced therein.