This invention relates to, in general, the field of textile devices for body protection as well as the methods for obtaining such devices, these devices being more particularly underwear or elastic body bands or accessories such as socks.
More particularly, the invention relates to a textile device for body protection, comprising a knitted elastic structure comprising several meshes formed of at least one yarn, the device further comprising an elastic material pad at least according to its thickness, this pad being assembled with said knitted structure.
It is known to use textile devices comprising an elastic knitted structure with which is assembled an elastic and flexible pad intended to protect the wearer of the device from impacts or injuries.
Such a textile device for body protection of the type defined hereinabove is for example disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,332,224.
A problem linked to this type of device for body protection is the complexity of the assembly of the pad with the knitted elastic structure.
Another problem linked to this type of device is the necessity to have an assembly that is resistant and that does not cause injury to the wearer of the device.
In this context, this invention has for purpose to propose a device for body protection allowing for the protection of its wearer while still proposing a means of assembly that is resistant over time as well as a method for carrying out a textile device for body protection.
For this purpose, the device for body protection of the invention, moreover compliant with the generic definition that the preamble defined hereinabove gives of this, is substantially characterized in that the pad extends along a face of the knitted structure and in that certain meshes of the knitted structure pass inside said pad and are trapped by this elastic material of the pad thus forming a composite assembly and in that a portion of the pad is arranged outside of the knitted structure.
For the comprehension of the invention, the term pad designates an element used as protection, support or bearing and which can be deformed when a bearing is exerted on the element. Note that the term pad designates a block made of elastic material that does not necessarily comprise of flexible envelope surrounding the elastic block.
Preferentially this elastic material has a total thickness at least equal to that of the knitted structure which provides it with a substantial capacity of elastic deformation according to its thickness.
The elasticity of the pad according to its thickness allows the pad to be deformed when it is put into contact with a skin area of a user, the pad as such deformed and pressed elastically exerts forces distributed over the skin surface and hugs the forms as well as the movements of it.
Ideally the capacity of elastic deformation of the material constituting the pad according to its thickness is at least equal to 10% and preferentially at least equal to 30% of its thickness for an equally-distributed pressure on the pad of 5 newtons per square centimeter of pad surface.
It can also be arranged that the elastic material constituting the pad has a capacity of elongation at break greater than a capacity of elongation at break of the knitted structure.
Likewise, it can be arranged that the capacity of elongation at break of the elastic material be at least two times greater than the capacity of elongation at break of the knitted structure.
This characteristic of relative elongation of the material comprising the pad in relation to material comprising the knitted structure implies that the limit of elongation at break of the composite structure be determined mainly by the nature of the knitted structure.
The wearer of the device of the invention can as such deform it elastically in order to position it on his skin without the risk of rupturing the pad that thus remains sufficiently deformable and elastic to continue providing its function of elastic protection of the skin.
Ideally the capacity of elongation at break of the material comprising the pad is at least 5 times greater than the capacity of elongation at break of the knitted structure. Here the capacity of elongation at break of the material comprising the pas is preferentially greater than 500% and preferentially equal to 1000%, while the capacity of elongation at break of the knitted structure is preferentially between 30% and 100% and preferentially between 50 and 60%.
Viscoelastic gels of the polymer type are preferentially used as materials (these are preferentially mineral oil based tri-block copolymers preferentially of the HI type for medical use) able to protect the skin of burned persons and favor their healing, such as the products from the “MEDIGEL Z® range” brand which are non-invasive, do not come into contact with the damaged skin and comply with annex VII and the provision of French Law 94-43 of 18 Jan. 1994 and of Order 95-292 of 16 Mar. 1995 that apply to these products.
The presence of the composite assembly formed by meshes and the elastic material of the pad is particularly useful for the resistance of the device of the invention since only the breaking of the meshes of the structure and/or of the elastic material comprising the pad is able to allow for the separation of the knitted structure and of the pad. In general this assembly has a resistance that is greater than assemblies by gluing or welding of the pad on the knitted structure.
Indeed according to this invention the assembly consists in trapping and preferentially in hemming in the meshes of the knitted structure in the material of the pad thus in surrounding portions of yarn(s) of meshes with the pad material. Maintaining a yarn in the pad material is thus accomplished over the entire circumference of the yarn. The yarn assembled as such has a capacity of movement that is particularly reduced with regards to the material of the pad wherein it is trapped, the risk of shearing of the elastic material of the pad or of the yarn at the place of the composite assembly is therefore also reduced.
Contrary to this an assembly by simple gluing or welding would result in a pad material/yarn link that is particularly fragile since only limited to a portion of the circumferential surface of the assembled yarn.
This composite assembly is particularly resistant to wear and tear since the knitted structure as well as the pad material are elastic and can therefore be deformed together at least over a certain range of deformation.
The presence of a portion of the pad arranged outside of the knitted structure makes it possible to have a skin/pad contact area free of yarns of the knitted structure which is maintained at a distance from the skin by this portion of the pad. This characteristic makes it possible to avoid the risk of conflicts between the skin and the polymer beyond which the yarns would extend. In addition this spacing of the knitted elastic structure at the place of the portion of the pad implies a tension in the knitted structure which forces the pad as compression on the skin of the wearer of the device. The pad applied as such does not rub against the skin and protects it from the risk of irritation or from impact that can be caused by an exterior element. Such a pad maintained as such reduces the risk of the appearance of eschar or of cuts/injuries.
As mentioned hereinabove, the invention also relates to a method of manufacturing a textile device for body protection, characterized in that:
a knitted elastic structure is carried out comprising several meshes formed of at least one yarn; then
an elastic polymer material not yet polymerized is positioned along a face of the knitted structure in such a way that certain meshes of the knitted structure are located inside the said non-polymerized material and that a portion of the non-polymerized polymer material is located outside of the knitted structure; then
said polymer material in particular is polymerized by using heat as is the case for the product mentioned hereinabove of the “MEDIGEL Z® range” brand and a composite assembly is thus created comprised of the elastic polymer material and of the meshes of the elastic knitted structure.
This method of manufacturing makes it possible to assemble an elastic polymer material on the elastic knitted structure by creating a composite assembly that is advantageous in relation to:
an assembly by gluing which would require the addition of a particular material that is specific to the assembly;
an assembly by welding which would not allow to fully trap meshes in the material to be assembled and that would risk degrading the knitted structure as well as the material to be assembled; or
an assembly by sewing which would require an operation that is relatively long and costly and which generates the risk of injury to the skin par protruding seams.
This method of the invention makes possible the formation of a layer of polymer or preferentially of an elastic polymer pad according to its thickness. For the realization of this pad it is arranged in such a way as to limit the depositing of not yet polymerized polymer on a one portion only of the surface of a face of the elastic knitted structure.
It can also be arranged that the elastic polymer material of the composite assembly has a capacity of elongation at break greater than a capacity of elongation at break of the knitted structure. This embodiment makes it possible to form the pad having a capacity of elongation at break greater than that of the knitted structure, as mentioned hereinabove in reference to the device of the invention.
It can also be arranged that during the depositing of the polymer material this elastic polymer material does not fully pass through the knitted structure so that after polymerization of the polymer material the knitted structure comprises a face over which extends the elastic polymerized material and a face opposite the face over which extends the polymerized material, this opposite face being free of polymerized material.
Likewise and pertaining to the device, it can be arranged that the composite assembly formed by the elastic material of the pad and by meshes of the knitted structure extend over one portion only of the thickness of said knitted structure, the latter comprising a face opposite the face along which extends the pad, this opposite face being free of elastic material of the pad.
These latter two modes of carrying out the invention make it possible to have a face of the structure free of pad material which retains all of its technical and aesthetic characteristics and its feel. These modes of carrying out make it possible to limit the impact of the polymer material on the knitted structure which can as such retain a portion of its elasticity and its surface aspect.
It can also be arranged that the knitted structure form an elastic tube comprising at least one open end in such a way as to allow for an access inside the elastic tube, the portion of the pad arranged outside of the knitted structure being placed inside the elastic tube.
The elasticity of the knitted structure is at least circumferential, in such a way that the device can be pulled on by a user with the pad elastically thrust against the contact of his skin.
It can also be arranged that the knitted structure form a sock.
As such, according to the embodiments described hereinabove when the pad is placed inside the sock, the external face of the sock which is free of pad material can thus slide freely without any material of the pad coming to rub against or catch (for example when the wearer of the sock pulls on a shoe, the pad does not cause friction in the shoe).
Alternatively this knitted structure can be in the form of an annular band.
In the case where the structure is in the form of a sock it can be arranged that the pad extend along a kicking area of the sock and inside of this sock.
Preferentially it is arranged that the material comprising the pad be an elastic polymer material in all of its dimensions.
This characteristic makes it possible to carry out the device of the invention thanks to the aforementioned method of manufacturing that comprises a step of polymerization of the material comprising the pad while the material to be polymerized encloses meshes.
It can also be arranged that the material comprising the pad comprises a mineral oil.
The presence of the mineral oil combined with the elastic material comprising the pad provides it with an effect of prevention of injuries and of relief for the skin in contact with the pad.
Ideally the material comprising the pad is a copolymer combined with a mineral oil for medical use.
It can also be arranged that the pad comprises multiple perforations which cross through it entirely, these perforations extending substantially perpendicularly to the face of the knitted structure according to which extends the pad.
These perforations can be conformed in such a way that the pad has a honeycomb structure. The fact of having perforations crossing through the pad makes it possible to create aerations in certain places only of the pad while retaining the characteristics of prevention in all places where the pad is not perforated.
It can also be arranged that the knitted structure be of jersey knit.
It can also be arranged that the device textile of the invention comprises at least one area of loops extending along a surface of the elastic knitted structure, each loop of the area of loops being formed by a yarn extending from the knitted structure of which it is part of and comprising a curved portion arranged outside of the knitted structure.
It can also be arranged that said at least one area of loops delimits at least one area without loops over which extends said at least one pad.
The delimiting of an area without loops with loops favors the assembly of the pad.
In addition the area without loops is hollow in relation to the area with loops and can therefore be used as a mold for the conformation of the pad.
It will be arranged that the height of loops outside of the knitted structure be less than the height of the pad outside of this same structure.
It can also be arranged that loops be trapped in a peripheral portion of the pad.
The fact that the periphery of the pad be taken with loops favors the longevity of the device since the periphery of the pad is firmly maintained on the one hand thanks to the yarn(s) of meshes of the knitted structure and on the other hand thanks to loops extending inside the pad as well as inside the knitted structure.
Preferentially the area of loops extends from the periphery of pad made of polymer and only a peripheral fringe of loops of the area of loops being taken in the pad.
Preferentially it is arranged that the pad extend in part over an area without loops and that loops be trapped in a central portion of the pad.
The central portion of the pad is a portion placed inside a peripheral portion of the pad.
Thanks to the loops on the central portion of the pad, catching of the pad with the knitted structure is improved which favors the resistance to washings.
Preferentially it is arranged that the surface of the pad extending over the area without loops be greater than the surface of the pad extending over the area of loops.
This embodiment makes it possible to minimize the thickness of the composite assembly in selected areas that do not comprise loops (i.e. over the major surface of the pad) while still optimizing catching of the pad with the knitted structure in other selected areas of the pad where the loops are located.
Preferentially it is arranged that the loops trapped in the central portion of the pad form at least one line of loops.
The line of loops or strip of loops makes it possible to distribute the catching forces of the pad over the knitted structure over several aligned loops which improves the resistance of the device of the invention in relation to embodiments where the loops would not be aligned one in relation to the other. Preferentially the device comprises several strips of loops that are parallel and spaced one in relation to the other, these strips of loops being taken in the pad. Preferentially it is arranged that said at least one pad has a thickness greater than the height of the loops taken with the pad.
The loops making it possible to catch the pad therefore do not enter into contact with the skin of the user and therefore do not risk irritating it.
It can also be arranged that the device comprise several pads each having the shape of a band, these pads being separated one in relation to the other by areas of simple knitted structure (i.e. by an area of knitted structure free of pad material) or loops thus allowing for a circulation of air between the pads.
Other characteristics and advantages of the invention shall appear clearly from the description provided hereinafter, for the purposes of information and in no way limiting, in reference to the annexed drawings, wherein:
FIGS. 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d show four successive steps in the manufacturing of a device according to a first embodiment of the invention comprising several pads separated one from the other by loops;
FIG. 2a shows a device according to the invention wherein the pad is in the shape of a disk, this device having an area of loops distributed across the entire knitted structure except for a central portion of the pad, this figure is an A-A cross-section view of the sleeve in FIG. 6;
FIG. 2b shows a device similar to that in FIG. 2a but having an area of loops conformed in a ring around the pad;
FIG. 2c is a B-B cross-section view of the sock in FIG. 8 which comprises an upper elastic tubular area wherein extend several pads in the form of strips, these pads being separated one from the other by strips of loops;
FIG. 3a shows a detailed view of a composite assembly according to the invention comprising a knitted structure and a pad made of elastic polymer gel;
FIG. 3b shows an alternative view of the view in FIG. 3a wherein loops are carried out across the entire surface of the knitted structure including at the place where extends the pad and the composite structure;
FIG. 3c shows an alternative of the assembly in FIG. 3a where loops are carried out over a portion of the surface of the knitted structure and mostly outside the surface where extends the pad and the composite assembly;
FIG. 4 shows a device according to the invention which has a form of a sock inside of which are arranged strips of loops alternating with pads, these pads being arranged so as to come into contact against the top of the foot of the sock wearer, this sock being as such adapted to be worn in safety shoes in order to protect feet from injuries caused by the shell;
FIG. 5 is a top view of the sock in FIG. 4 with the latter turned over so that the strips of loops and pads are visible;
FIG. 6 is a device according to the invention in the form of a sleeve or annular band open at its ends and bearing a pad in the shape of a disk;
FIG. 7 shows a device according to the invention in the form of a sock at the end of which is arranged a pad intended to be facing the toes of the wearer, this sock is particularly recommended for playing “soccer”; and
FIG. 8 shows a device according to the invention in the form of a sock at the top of which are arranged strips of pads extending substantially in parallel to the leg of the sock wearer in order for example to protect the tibias and to avoid friction, this sock further comprising a circular pad arranged across from the place where is to be located the ankle bone of the sock wearer.
As announced hereinabove, the invention relates to a textile device for body protection 1. As shown in FIGS. 1c to 8, the device comprises a knitted elastic structure 2 that supports one or several flexible pads provided to be applied to the skin of a wearer of the device in order to:
protect it from external aggressions such as friction and lessen possible impacts; and
limit the risk of eschar appearing or contribute in absorbing eschars that may have appeared;
assist in healing it thanks to the distribution of bearing across the pad.
For this the pad must be elastic and deformable at least according to its thickness in order to be thrust against the portion of the skin to be protected of the wearer.
The thrusting of the pad against the skin is accomplished thanks to the elastic knitted structure which is conformed to be put on as a piece of clothing or underwear and to thrust against the skin. This structure 2 has for this at least one portion having a form of a sleeve or elastic tube 10 which can be for example a sock sleeve for the protection of the feet, an annular band for the protection of a portion of a member such as a knee or an elbow.
As shown in FIGS. 1c to 3c, the assembly of the pad(s) 5 on the knitted elastic structure 2 is accomplished by introducing polymer comprising the pad around a portion of yarns 6 of the meshes 3 of the structure 2 before this polymer has effectively polymerized. Once the polymer is polymerized, each yarn 6 is then hemmed in the polymer of the pad 5. The assembly carried out as such is a composite assembly 7 that is resistant and economical.
Preferentially the portion 8 of pad 5 which is free of fibers 6 is sufficiently thick to have an elastic deformation of at least 0.5 millimeters in variation of thickness of the pad 5 between the moment when the pad is not applied to the skin and the moment when the device is put on by a user, the pad then being thrust against the skin and maintained by an elastic force of the knitted structure.
Preferentially it is arranged that the device has an exterior face 9 opposite the face on which extends the pad 5 which is free of polymer. For this the composite assembly 7 extends over one portion only of the thickness of the structure 2.
Other than this assembly 7 the device 1 can also comprise areas of loops 14 provided to come into contact with the skin when the device is put on by the user.
These areas of loops protect areas of skin outside of the areas already protected by the pad 5 while still allowing for a respiration of the skin.
As shown in FIGS. 3b and 3c each loop is formed by a yarn 15 of which two portions of length cross through the knitted structure 2 and of which an intermediary portion 16 is curved in order to form a loop of yarn 16 that is elastic and deformable located outside of the thickness of the knitted structure 2.
Note that the areas of loops 14 can be located at the place of the pad 5 as in FIGS. 3b and 3c where loops are trapped in the pad. However as the insertion of loops into the pad 5 can modify the elastic characteristics of the polymer, it is preferable either to not have loops present in the pad as in FIG. 3a or preferable to have loops in the pad only in a peripheral area of the pad 5 as in FIG. 3c.
The device is preferentially provided to have areas knitted in jersey knit 13 free of loops where it is sought that the device have a thickness that is relatively thin in relation to its thickness at the place of the areas of loops. The area in jersey knit 13 free of loops and of polymer has a capacity of thermal dissipation of the heat produced by the wearer of the device that is higher in relation to what it is on the areas containing polymer or loops.
Preferentially the pad/structure assembly is carried out in such a way that the surface of the pad that is to be in contact with the skin is free of yarns and is comprised solely of polymer.
The positions and forms of the:
areas of jersey knit (knitted structure free of loops and pad polymer);
areas of loops (the loops being borne by the knitted structure en jersey); and
areas of pad(s);
are provided according to the destination of the device of the invention.
For example the device can take the form of a sock adapted to be worn in a safety shoe comprising a shell that can generate friction, micro traumatisms, a bearing that is poorly distributed and which can cause pathologies on the foot.
Such a safety sock is shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. This sock comprises a knitted elastic structure in the form of a sock, an area of loops 14 located on the heel in order to protect the heel and Achilles tendon and on the front of the sock across the entire periphery of the foot in order to protect the toes from the rear of the metatarsal heads to the upper portion of the toes at the proximal level of the first phalange. Pad strips 5 extend over a kicking area 12 parallel to the length of the foot. Strips of loops 18 are interposed between the strips of pads 5 in such a way as to allow for the circulation of air between the pads 5.
All of the areas free of loops or of pad are comprised solely by the knitted structure 13.
This sock thus makes it possible to prevent pathologies linked to the wearing of safety shoes.
In another application shown in FIG. 7 the device of the invention can have the form of a sock adapted for the playing of soccer. In this application only one pad 5 is arranged at the end of the foot in order to protect against frontal impacts. In this same application a single area of loops 14 is formed on heel with the rest of the sock being solely of jersey knit 13.
Another application can be devoted to the prevention of eschars for a bedridden patient. In this case the pad area will be preferentially located on the heel or ankle bones.
Another application is shown in FIG. 8 where a sports sock here for skiing comprises a pad area 5 located on the ankle bone (ankle bones) and pad areas 5 in interposed strips of loops 18 extending in parallel to the sleeve 10 of the sock and in the vicinity of its open end 11. This type of sock comprises an area of loops 14 on the heel and another area of loops on the front of the foot around the toes and under a front portion of the underneath of the feet.
In another application shown in FIG. 6, the device of the invention can have the form of a sleeve 10 open at its two ends 11 and adapted to be positioned as an elbow pad or a knee pad or an outside counter. This device comprises a circular pad 5 placed in the middle of an annular area of loops 14 of the sleeve.