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Glow in the dark absorbent article

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Title: Glow in the dark absorbent article.
Abstract: The present invention provides an article to be worn about a wearer including features that glow in the dark, are illuminative, are light emitting, or are reflective. Theses features may assist in the identification, location, entertainment, or changing of the wearer, as well as assist in the location of a fresh diaper for changing in a low light environment. ...


USPTO Applicaton #: #20100100068 - Class: 60438523 (USPTO) - 04/22/10 - Class 604 
Surgery > Means And Methods For Collecting Body Fluids Or Waste Material (e.g., Receptacles, Etc.) >Absorbent Pad For External Or Internal Application And Supports Therefor (e.g., Catamenial Devices, Diapers, Etc.) >Having Specific Design, Shape, Or Structural Feature >Hourglass Shape >Absorbent Means Interposed Between Pervious Topsheet And Impervious Backsheet

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20100100068, Glow in the dark absorbent article.

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US 20100100068 A1 20100422 US 12644073 20091222 12 20060101 A
A
61 F 13 45 F I 20100422 US B H
US 60438523 Glow in the Dark Absorbent Article US 10379857 00 20030305 US 7659440 A US 12644073 US PCT/US01/25986 00 20010820 PENDING US 10379857 US 60231603 00 20000911 Rodriguez Jose
Parsippany NJ US
omitted US
Toerner William Joseph
Wyoming OH US
omitted US
Roe Donald Carroll
West Chester OH US
omitted US
THE PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY;Global Legal Department - IP
Sycamore Building - 4th Floor, 299 East Sixth Street CINCINNATI OH 45202 US

The present invention provides an article to be worn about a wearer including features that glow in the dark, are illuminative, are light emitting, or are reflective. Theses features may assist in the identification, location, entertainment, or changing of the wearer, as well as assist in the location of a fresh diaper for changing in a low light environment.

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a divisional of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/379,857, filed Mar. 5, 2003, which is a continuation of International Application PCT/US01/25986 filed on Aug. 20, 2001, which claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/231,603, filed Sep. 11, 2000.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to an absorbent article with glow in the dark indicia features.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Absorbent articles for personal care products such as diapers are widely used consumer products. The major function of diapers and other absorbent articles is to prevent bodily waste from soiling, wetting, or otherwise contaminating clothing or other articles, such as bedding. The large demand for such products has inspired manufacturers to provide improved versions of the products. In the past considerable effort has been made to increase the comfort and performance of absorbent articles such as diapers. Effort has also been made to improve the visual appeal and use of absorbent articles by the consumer.

Absorbent articles often incorporate features to either assist the caregiver fitting the article to a wearer, or provide an appearance that is aesthetically pleasing. Further, absorbent articles, particularly diapers, are often changed by a caregiver in a low light or dimly lit environment in order to minimize the disturbance to the wearer. Therefore, it may be desirable to provide a product incorporating features that generates appeal to the wearer. The illuminative substance may optionally providing a useful function for the person fitting or removing the article from the wearer, particularly in a low light environment.

One desirable advantage of the present invention is to provide an absorbent article having useful illuminative properties which particularly include a visible surface that glows in the dark. The surface may be fully illuminative, partially illuminative, or contain illuminative designs or indicia. Yet another desirable characteristic of the Applicant's invention is to provide illuminative designs to entertain small children. Another desirable characteristic may be to assist the caregiver in providing care in a low light environment. Another desirable characteristic of the Applicant's invention may be o provide an illuminative absorbent article that may be easily and efficiently manufactured and marketed. It is a further desirable characteristic of the present invention to provide a new cost effective illuminative absorbent article which is of a durable and reliable construction.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an absorbent article such as a diaper comprising a topsheet, a backsheet and an absorbent core interposed between the topsheet and the backsheet including at least one illuminative substance. The illuminative substance used may be phosphorescent, fluorescent, reflective, or other illuminative type as disclosed herein. The illuminative substance may enhance the appearance of the article and/or assist in the application and removal of the article from the wearer.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is hereinafter fully described and claimed. The accompanying drawings and the following disclosure describe in detail the invention. Such drawings and disclosure illustrate but one of the various ways in which the invention may be practiced. These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention as described and claimed will become better understood with the accompanying drawings where:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of an absorbent article of the present invention having a portion cut away to reveal a possible underlying structure, the body-facing surface of the article facing the viewer.

FIG. 2 is a view of an absorbent article outer-surface with a landing zone.

FIG. 3 is a view of an absorbent article backsheet and optional additional second sheet of material interface and structure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is intended to provide a new absorbent article including glow in the dark features that exhibit decorative and/or functional attributes. The glow in the dark features described herein are equally applicable to absorbent articles such as training pants, adult incontinence products, or a preferred embodiment, diapers.

As used herein, the term “absorbent article” refers to devices which absorb and contain body exudates and, more specifically, refers to devices which are placed against or in proximity to the body of the wearer to absorb and contain the various exudates discharged from the body. The term ‘disposable’ is used herein to describe absorbent articles which generally are not intended to be laundered or otherwise restored or reused as absorbent articles (i.e., they are intended to be discarded after a single use and, preferably, to be recycled, composted or otherwise discarded in an environmentally compatible manner). A “unitary” absorbent article refers to absorbent articles which are formed of separate parts united together to form a coordinated entity so that they do not require separate manipulative parts like a separate holder and/or liner. A preferred embodiment of an absorbent article of the present invention is the unitary disposable absorbent article, diaper 20, shown in FIG. 1. As used herein, the term “diaper” refers to an absorbent article generally worn by infants and incontinent persons about the lower torso. The present invention is also applicable to other absorbent articles such as incontinence briefs, incontinence undergarments, absorbent inserts, diaper holders and liners, feminine hygiene garments, wipes, mops, bandages and the like.

FIG. 1 is a plan view of the diaper 20 of the present invention in a flat-out, state with portions of the structure being cut-away to more clearly show the construction of the diaper 20. The portion of the diaper 20 which faces the wearer is oriented towards the viewer. As shown in FIG. 1, the diaper 20 preferably comprises a liquid previous topsheet 24; a liquid impervious backsheet 26; an absorbent core 28 which is preferably positioned between at least a portion of the topsheet 24 and the backsheet 26; side panels 30; elasticized leg cuffs 32; an elastic waist feature 34; and a fastening system generally designated 40. The diaper 20 is shown in FIG. 1 to have a first waist region 36, a second waist region 38 opposed to the first waist region 36 and a crotch region 37 located between the first waist region 36 and the second waist region 38. The periphery of the diaper 20 is defined by the outer edges of the diaper 20 in which longitudinal edges 50 run generally parallel to the longitudinal centerline 100 of the diaper 20 and end edges 52 run between the longitudinal edges 50 generally parallel to the lateral centerline 110 of the diaper 20.

The chassis 22 of the diaper 20 comprises the main body of the diaper 20. The chassis 22 comprises at least a portion of the absorbent core 28 and preferably an outer covering including the topsheet 24 and/or the backsheet 26. If the absorbent article comprises a separate holder and a liner, the chassis 22 generally comprises the holder and the liner. (For example, the bolder may comprise one or more layers of material to form the outer cover of the article and the liner may comprise an absorbent assembly including a topsheet, a backsheet, and an absorbent core. In such cases, the holder and/or the liner may include a fastening element which is used to hold the liner in place throughout the time of use.) For unitary absorbent articles, the chassis comprises the main structure of the diaper with other features added to form the composite diaper structure. While the topsheet 24, the backsheet 26, and the absorbent core 26 may be assembled in a variety of well known configurations, preferred diaper configurations are described generally in U.S. Pat. No. 3,860,003 entitled “Contractible Side Portions for Disposable Diaper” issued to Kenneth B. Buell on Jan. 14, 1975; U.S. Pat. No. 5,151,092 issued to Buell on Sep. 9, 1992; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,221,274 issued to Buell on Jun. 22, 1993; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,554,145 entitled “Absorbent Article With Multiple Zone Structural Elastic-Like Film Web Extensible Waist Feature” issued to Roe et al. on Sep. 10, 1996; U.S. Pat. No. 5,569,234 entitled “Disposable Pull-On Pant” issued to Buell et al. on Oct. 29, 1996; U.S. Pat. No. 5,580,411 entitled Zero Scrap Method For Manufacturing Side Panels For Absorbent Articles” issued to Nease et al. on Dec. 3, 1996; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,004,306 entitled “Absorbent Article With Multi-Directional Extensible Side Panels” issued to Robles et al. on Dec. 21, 1999; each of which is incorporated herein by reference.

The backsheet 26 is generally that portion of the diaper 20 positioned adjacent garment facing surface 45 of the absorbent core 28 which prevents the exudates absorbed and contained therein from soiling articles which may contact the diaper 20, such as bedsheets and undergarments. In preferred embodiments, the backsheet 26 is impervious to liquids (e g urine) and comprises a thin plastic film such as a thermoplastic film having a thickness of about 0.012 mm (0.5 mil) to about 0.051 mm (2.0 mils).

Suitable backsheet films include those manufactured by Tredegar Industries Inc. of Terre Haute, Ind. and sold under the trade names X15306, X0962 and X10964. Other suitable backsheet materials may include breathable materials which permit vapors to escape from the diaper 20 while still preventing exudates from passing through the backsheet 26. Exemplary' breathable materials may include materials such as woven webs, nonwoven webs, composite materials such as film-coated nonwoven webs, microporous films such as manufactured by Mitsui Toatsu Co., of Japan under the designation ESPOIR NO and by Exxon Chemical Co., of Bay City, Tex., under the designation EXXAIRE, and monolithic films such as manufactured by Clopay Corporation, Cincinnati, Ohio under the name HYTREL blend P18-3097. Some breathable composite materials are described in greater detail in PCT Application No. WO 95/16746 30 published on Jun. 22, 1995 in the name of E. I. DuPont; U.S. Pat. No. 5,938,648 issued on Aug. 17, 1999 to LaVon et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,865,823 issued on Feb. 2, 1999 in the name of Curro; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,571,096 issued to Dobrin et al. on Nov. 5, 1996. Each of these references is hereby incorporated by reference herein.

The backsheet 26, or any portion thereof, may be elastically extensible in one or more directions. In one embodiment, the backsheet 26 may comprise a structural elastic-like film (“SELF”) web. A structural elastic-like film web is an extensible material that exhibits an elastic-like behavior in the direction of elongation without the use of added elastic materials and is described in more detail in U.S. Pat. No. 5,518,801 entitled “Web Materials Exhibiting Elastic-Like Behavior” issued to Chappell, et al. on May 21, 1996, and which is incorporated herein by reference. In alternate embodiments, the backsheet 26 may comprise elastomeric films, foams, strands, or combinations of these or other suitable materials with nonwovens or synthetic films.

The backsheet 26 may be joined to the topsheet 24, the absorbent core 28 or any other element of the diaper 20 by any attachment means known in the art. (As used herein, the term “joined” encompasses configurations whereby an element is directly secured to another element by affixing the element directly to the other element, and configurations whereby an element is indirectly secured to another element by affixing the element to intermediate member(s) which in turn are affixed to the other element.) For example, the attachment means may include a uniform continuous layer of adhesive, a patterned layer of adhesive, or an array of separate lines, spirals, or spots of adhesive. One preferred attachment means comprises an open pattern network of filaments of adhesive as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,573,986 entitled “Disposable Waste-Containment Garment”, which issued to Minetola et al. on Mar. 4, 1986. Other suitable attachment means include several lines of adhesive filaments which are swirled into a spiral pattern, as is illustrated by the apparatus and methods shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,911,173 issued to Sprague, Jr. on Oct. 7, 1975; U.S. Pat. No. 4,785,996 issued to Ziecker, et al. on Nov. 22, 1978; and U.S. Pat. No. 4,842,666 issued to Werenicz on Jun. 27, 1989. Each of these patents is incorporated herein by reference. Adhesives which have been found to be satisfactory are manufactured by H. B, Fuller Company of St. Paul, Minn. and marketed as HL-1620 and HL-1358-XZP. Alternatively, the attachment means may comprise heat bonds, pressure bonds, ultrasonic bonds, dynamic mechanical bonds, or any other suitable attachment means or combinations of these attachment means as are known in the art.

The topsheet 24 is preferably positioned adjacent body surface 47 of the absorbent core 28 and may be joined thereto and/or to the backsheet 26 by any attachment means known in the art. Suitable attachment means are described above with respect to means for joining the backsheet 26 to other elements of the diaper 20. In one preferred embodiment of the present invention, the topsheet 24 and the backsheet 26 are joined directly to each other in some locations and are indirectly joined together in other locations by directly joining them to one or more other elements of the diaper 20.

The topsheet 24 is preferably compliant, soft-feeling, and non-irritating to the wearer's skin. Further, at least a portion of the topsheet 24 is liquid previous, permitting liquids to readily penetrate through its thickness. A suitable topsheet may be manufactured from a wide range of materials, such as porous foams, reticulated foams, apertured plastic films, or woven or nonwoven materials of natural fibers (e.g., wood or cotton fibers), synthetic fibers (e.g., polyester or polypropylene fibers), or a combination of natural and synthetic fibers. If the topsheet 24 includes fibers, the fibers may be spunbond, carded, wet-laid, meltblown, hydroentangled, or otherwise processed as is known in the art. One suitable topsheet 24 comprising a web of staple-length polypropylene fibers is manufactured by Veratec, Inc., a Division of International Paper Company, of Walpole, Mass. under the designation P-8.

Suitable formed film topsheets are described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,929,135, entitled “Absorptive Structures Having Tapered Capillaries” issued to Thompson on Dec. 30, 1975; U.S. Pat. No. 4,324,246 entitled “Disposable Absorbent Article Having A Stain Resistant Topsheet” issued to Mullane, et al. on Apr. 13, 1982; U.S. Pat. No. 4,342,314 entitled “Resilient Plastic Web Exhibiting Fiber-Like Properties” issued to Radel, et al. on Aug. 3, 1982; U.S. Pat. No. 4,463,045 entitled “Macroscopically Expanded Three-Dimensional Plastic Web Exhibiting Non-Glossy Visible Surface and Cloth-Like Tactile Impression” issued to Ahr, et al. on Jul. 31, 1984; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,006,394 “Multilayer Polymeric Film” issued to Baird on Apr. 9, 1991. Other suitable topsheets 30 may be made in accordance with U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,609,518 and 4,629,643 issued to Curro et al. on Sep. 2, 1986 and Dec. 16, 1986, respectively, and both of which are incorporated herein by reference. Such formed films are available from The Procter & Gamble Company of Cincinnati, Ohio as “DRI-WEAVE” and from Tredegar Corporation of Terre Haute, Ind. as “CLIFF-T.”

Preferably, at least a portion of the topsheet 24 is made of a hydrophobic material or is treated to be hydrophobic in order to isolate the wearer's skin from liquids contained in the absorbent core 28. If the topsheet 24 is made of a hydrophobic material, preferably at least a portion of the upper surface of the topsheet 24 is treated to be hydrophilic so that liquids will transfer through the topsheet more rapidly. The topsheet 24 can be rendered hydrophilic by treating it with a surfactant or by incorporating a surfactant into the topsheet. Suitable methods for treating the topsheet 24 with a surfactant include spraying the topsheet 24 material with the surfactant and/or immersing the material into the surfactant. A more detailed discussion of such a treatment and hydrophilicity is contained in U.S. Pat. No. 4,988,344 entitled “Absorbent Articles with Multiple Layer Absorbent Layers” issued to Reising, et al. on Jan. 29, 1991 and U.S. Pat. No. 4,988,345 entitled “Absorbent Articles with Rapid Acquiring Absorbent Cores” issued to Reising on Jan. 29, 1991. A more detailed discussion of some suitable methods for incorporating a surfactant in the topsheet 24 can be found in U.S. Statutory Invention Registration No. H1670 published on Jul. 1, 1997 in the names of Aziz et al. Each of these references is hereby incorporated by reference herein. Alternatively, the topsheet 24 may include an apertured web or film which is hydrophobic. This may be accomplished by eliminating the hydrophilizing treatment step from the production process and/or applying a hydrophobic treatment to the topsheet 24, such as a polytetraflouroethylene compound like SCOTCHGUARD or a hydrophobic lotion composition, as described below. In such embodiments, it is preferred that the apertures he large enough to allow the penetration of aqueous fluids like urine without significant resistance.

Any portion of the topsheet 24 may be coated with a lotion as is known in the art. Examples of suitable lotions include those described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,607,760 entitled “Disposable Absorbent Article Having A Lotioned Topsheet Containing an Emollient and a Polyol Polyester Immobilizing Agent” issued to Roe on Mar. 4, 1997; U.S. Pat. No. 5,609,587 entitled “Diaper Having A Lotion Topsheet Comprising A Liquid Polyol Polyester Emollient And An Immobilizing Agent” issued to Roe on Mar. 11, 1997; U.S. Pat. No. 5,635,191 entitled “Diaper Having A Lotioned Topsheet Containing A Polysiloxane Emollient” issued to Roe et al, on Jun. 3, 1997; U.S. Pat. No. 5,643,588 entitled “Diaper Having A Lotioned Topsheet” issued to Roe et al. on Jul. 1, 1997; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,968,025 entitled “Absorbent Article Having a Lotioned Topsheet” issued to Roe et al. on Oct. 19, 1999. The lotion may function alone or in combination with another agent as the hydrophobizing treatment described above. The topsheet 24 may also include or be treated with antibacterial agents, some examples of which are disclosed in PCT Publication No, WO 95/24173 entitled “Absorbent Articles Containing Antibacterial Agents in the Topsheet For Odor Control” which was published on Sep. 14, 1995 in the name of Theresa Johnson, Further, the topsheet 24, the backsheet 26 or any portion of the topsheet or backsheet may be embossed and/or matte finished to provide a more cloth like appearance.

The topsheet 24 may comprise one or more apertures 80 to ease penetration of exudates therethrough, such as urine and/or feces (solid, semi-solid, or liquid). The size of at least the primary aperture 80 is important in achieving the desired waste encapsulation performance. If the primary aperture 80 is too small, the waste may not pass through the aperture, either due to poor alignment of the waste source and the aperture location or due to fecal masses having a diameter greater than the aperture 80. If the aperture 80 is too large, the area of skin that may be contaminated by “rewet” from the article is increased. Typically, the aperture 80 should have an area of between about 10 cm2 and about 50 cm2. The aperture 80 preferably has an area of between about 15 cm2 and 35 cm2.

Further, the topsheet 24 may be fully or partially elasticated or may be foreshortened so as to provide a void space between the topsheet 24 and the core 28. Exemplary structures including elasticized or foreshortened topsheets are described in more detail in U.S. Pat. No. 4,892,536 issued to DesMarais et al. on Jan. 9, 1990 entitled “Absorbent Article Having Elastic Strands”; U.S. Pat. No. 4,990,147 issued to Freeland on Feb. 5, 1991 entitled “Absorbent Article With Elastic Liner For ‘Waste Material Isolation”; U.S. Pat. No. 5,037,416 issued to Allen et al. on Aug. 6, 1991 entitled “Disposable Absorbent Article Having Elastically Extensible Topsheet”; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,269,775 issued to Freeland et al. on Dec. 14, 1993 entitled “Trisection Topsheets For Disposable Absorbent Articles and Disposable Absorbent Articles Having Such Trisection Topsheets”; each of which is incorporated by reference herein.

The absorbent core 28 may comprise any absorbent material which is generally compressible, conformable, non-irritating to the wearer's skin, and capable of absorbing and retaining liquids such as urine and other certain body exudates. The absorbent core 28 may be manufactured in a wide variety of sizes and shapes (e.g., rectangular, hourglass, “T”-shaped, asymmetric, etc.) and may comprise a wide variety of liquid-absorbent materials commonly used in disposable diapers and other absorbent articles such as comininuted wood pulp, which is generally referred to as airfelt. Examples of other suitable absorbent materials include creped cellulose wadding; meltblown polymers, including coform; chemically stiffened, modified or cross-linked cellulosic fibers; tissue, including tissue wraps and tissue laminates; absorbent foams; absorbent sponges; superabsorbent polymers; absorbent gelling materials; or any other known absorbent material or combinations of materials.

The configuration and construction of the absorbent core 28 may also be varied (e.g., the absorbent core(s) or other absorbent structure(s) may have varying caliper zones, hydrophilic gradient(s), a superabsorbent gradient(s), or lower average density and lower average basis weight acquisition zones; or may comprise one or more layers or structures). Exemplary absorbent structures for use as the absorbent core 28 are described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,610,678 entitled “High-Density Absorbent Structures’ issued to Weisman et al. on Sep. 9, 1986; U.S. Pat. No. 4,673,402 entitled “Absorbent Articles With Dual-Layered Cores” issued to Weisman et al. on Jun. 16, 1987; U.S. Pat. No. 4,834,735 entitled “High Density Absorbent Members Having Lower Density and Lower Basis Weight Acquisition Zones” issued to Alemany et al. on May 30, 1989; U.S. Pat. No. 4,888,231 entitled “Absorbent Core Having A Dusting Layer issued to Angstadt on Dec. 19, 1989; U.S. Pat. No. 5,137,537 entitled “Absorbent Structure Containing Individualized, Polycarboxylic Acid Crosslinked Wood Pulp Cellulose Fibers” issued to Herron et al. on Aug. 11, 1992; U.S. Pat. No. 5,147,345 entitled “High Efficiency Absorbent Articles For Incontinence Management” issued to Young et al. on Sep. 15, 1992; U.S. Pat. No. 5,342,338 entitled “Disposable Absorbent Article For Low-Viscosity Fecal Material” issued to Roe on Aug. 30, 1994; U.S. Pat. No. 5,260,345 entitled “Absorbent Foam Materials For Aqueous Body Fluids and Absorbent Articles Containing Such Materials” issued to DesMarais et al. on Nov. 9, 1993; U.S. Pat. No. 5,387,207 entitled “Thin-Until-Wet Absorbent Foam Materials For Aqueous Body Fluids And Process For Making Same” issued to Dyer et al. on Feb. 7, 1995; and U.S. Pat. No, 5,625,222 entitled “Absorbent Foam Materials For Aqueous Fluids Made From High Internal Phase Emulsions Having Very High Water-To-Oil Ratios” issued to DesMarais et al. on Jul. 22, 1997. Each of these patents is incorporated herein by reference.

The diaper 20 may also include a sublayer disposed between the topsheet 24 and the 20 backsheet 26. (As used herein, the tent “disposed” is used to mean that an element(s) of the diaper is formed (joined and positioned) in a particular place or position as a unitary structure with other elements of the diaper or as a separate element joined to another element of the diaper.) The sublayer may be any material or structure capable of accepting, storing or immobilizing bodily exudates. Thus, the sublayer may include a single material or a number of materials operatively associated with each other. Further, the sublayer may be integral with another element of the diaper 20 or may be one or more separate elements joined directly or indirectly with one or more elements of the diaper 20. Further, the sublayer may include a structure that is separate from the core 28 or may include or be part of at least a portion of the core 28.

Suitable materials for use as the sublayer may include large cell open foams, macroporous compression resistant nonwoven highlofts, large size particulate forms of open and closed cell foams (macro and/or microporous), highloft nonwovens, polyolefin, polystyrene, polyurethane foams or particles, structures comprising a multiplicity of vertically oriented looped strands of fibers, absorbent core structures described above having punched holes or depressions, and the like. (As used herein, the term “microporous” refers to materials which are capable of transporting fluids by capillary action. The term “macroporous” refers to materials having pores too large to effect capillary transport of fluid, generally having pores greater than about 0.5 mm in diameter and, more specifically, having pores greater than about 1.0 mm in diameter.) One embodiment of a sublayer includes a mechanical fastening loop landing element, having an uncompressed thickness of about 1.5 millimeters available as XPL-7124 from the 3M Corporation of Minneapolis, Minn. Another embodiment includes a 6 denier, crimped and resin-bonded nonwoven highloft having a basis weight of 110 grams per square meter and an uncompressed thickness of 7.9 millimeters which is available from the Glit Company of Wrens, Ga. Other suitable absorbent and nonabsorbent sublayers are described in European Patent Application No. EP 0 847 738 A1 entitled “Disposable Absorbent Article Having Capacity to Store Low-Viscosity Fecal Material” published Jun. 17, 1998 in the name of Roe and U.S. Pat. No. 5,941,864 entitled “Disposable Absorbent Article Having Improved Fecal Storage” issued to Roe on Aug. 24, 199, both of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein. Further, the sublayer, or any portion thereof, may include or be coated with a lotion or other known substances to add, enhance or change the performance or other characteristics of the element.

The diaper 20 may also comprise at least one elastic waist feature 34 that helps to provide improved fit and containment. The elastic waist feature 34 is generally intended to elastically expand and contract to dynamically fit the wearer's waist. The elastic waist feature 34 preferably extends at least longitudinally outwardly from at least one waist edge 62 of the absorbent core 28 and generally forms at least a portion of the end edge 52 of the diaper 20. Disposable diapers are often constructed so as to have two elastic waist features, one positioned in the first waist region 36 and one positioned in the second waist region 38. Further, while the elastic waist feature 34 or any of its constituent elements may comprise one or more separate elements affixed to the diaper 20, the elastic waist feature 34 may be constructed as an extension of other elements of the diaper 20, such as the backsheet 26, the topsheet 24, or both the backsheet 26 and the topsheet 24.

The elastic waist feature 34 may be constructed in a number of different configurations 30 including those described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,515,595 issued to Kievit et al. on May 7, 1985; U.S. Pat. No. 4,710,189 issued to Lash on Dec. 1, 1987; U.S. Pat No. 5,151,092 issued to Buell on Sep. 9, 1992; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,221,274 issued to Buell on Jun. 22, 1993. Other suitable waist configurations may include waistcap features such as those described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,026,364 issued to Robertson on Jun. 25, 1991 arid U.S. Pat. No. 4,816,025 issued to Foreman on Mar. 28, 1989. All of the above mentioned references are incorporated herein by reference.

The diaper 20 may also include a fastening system 40. The fastening system 40 preferably maintains the first waist region 36 and the second waist region 38 in a configuration so as to provide lateral tensions about the circumference of the diaper 20 to hold the diaper 20 on the wearer. The fastening system 40 preferably comprises a surface fastener such as tape tabs, hook and loop fastening components and/or hermaphroditic fastening components, although any other known fastening means are generally acceptable. Some exemplary surface fastening systems are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,848,594 entitled ‘Tape Fastening System for Disposable Diaper” issued to Buell on Nov. 19, 1974; U.S. Pat. No. E1 4,662,875 entitled “Absorbent Article” issued to Hirotsu et al, on May 5, 1987; U.S. Pat. No. 4,846,815 entitled “Disposable Diaper Having Au Improved Fastening Device” issued to Scripps on Jul. 11, 1989; U.S. Pat. No. 4,894,060 entitled “Disposable Diaper With improved hook Fastener Portion” issued to Nestegard on Jan. 16, 1990; U.S. Pat. No. 4,946,527 entitled “Pressure-Sensitive Adhesive Fastener And Method of Making Same” issued to Battrell on Aug. 7, 1990; the herein before referenced U.S. Pat. No. 5,151,092 issued to Buell on Sep. 9, 1992; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,221,274 issued to Buell on Jun. 22, 1993. An exemplary interlocking fastening system is disclosed in co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. 09/143,184 entitled “Absorbent Article Fastening Device” in the names of Kline et al. filed on Aug. 8, 1998. The fastening system 40 may also provide a means for holding the article in a disposal configuration as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,963,140 issued to Robertson et al. on Oct. 16, 1990. The fastening system may also include primary and secondary fastening systems, as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,699,622 entitled “Disposable Diaper Having An Improved Side Closure” issued to Toussant et al. on Oct. 13, 1987. to reduce shifting of overlapped portions or to improve fit as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,242,436 entitled “Absorbent Article With Fastening System Providing Dynamic Elasticized Waistband Fit” issued to Weil et al. on Sep. 7, 1993; U.S. Pat. No. 5,499,978 entitled “Absorbent Article With Dynamic Elastic Waist Feature Having A Predisposed Resilient Flexural Hinge” issued to Buell et al. on Mar. 19, 1996; U.S. Pat. No. 5,507,736 entitled “Absorbent Article With Dynamic Elastic Waist Feature Comprising An Expansive Tummy Panel” issued to Clear et al. on Apr. 16, 1996; U.S. Pat. No. 5,591,152 entitled “Absorbent Article With Dynamic Elastic Waist Feature Having A Predisposed Resilient Flexural Hinge” issued to Buell et al, on Jan. 7, 1997. Each of these patents and the co-pending application are incorporated herein by reference. In alternative embodiments, opposing sides of the article may be seamed or welded to form a pant. This allows the article to be used as a pull-on type diaper, such as a training pant.

The diaper 20 may also comprise side panels 30. The side panels 30 may be elastic or extensible to provide a more comfortable and contouring fit by initially conformably fitting the diaper 20 to the wearer and sustaining this fit throughout the time of wear well past when the diaper 20 has been loaded with exudates since the elasticized side panels 30 allow the sides of the diaper 20 to expand and contract. The side panels 30 may also provide more effective application of the diaper 20 because even if the diaperer pulls one elasticized side panel 30 farther than the other during application, the diaper 20 will “self-adjust” during wear.

While the diaper 20 of the present invention preferably has the side panels 30 disposed in the second waist region 38, the diaper 20 may he provided with side panels 30 disposed in the first waist region 36 or in both the first waist region 36 and the second waist region 38. The side panels 30 may he constructed in any suitable configurations. Examples of diapers with elasticized side panels ale disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,857,067, entitled “Disposable Diaper having Shined Ears” issued to Wood, et al. on Aug. 15, 1989; U.S. Pat. No. 4,381,781 issued to Sciaraffa, et al. on May 3, 1983; U.S. Pat. No. 4,938,753 issued to Van Gompel, et al. on Jul. 3, 1990; the herein before referenced U.S. Pat. No. 5,151,092 issued to Buell on Sep. 9, 1992; U.S. Pat. No. 5,221,274 issued to Buell on Jun. 22, 1993; U.S. Pat. No. 5,669,897 issued to LaVon, et al. on Sep. 23, 1997 entitled “Absorbent Articles Providing Sustained Dynamic Fit”; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,004,306 entitled “Absorbent Article With Multi-Directional Extensible Side Panels” issued to Robles et al, on Dec. 21, 1999; each of which is incorporated herein by reference.

The diaper 20 preferably further includes leg cuffs 32 which provide improved containment of liquids and other body exudates. Leg cuffs 32 may also be referred to as leg bands, side flaps, barrier cuffs, or elastic cuffs. U.S. Pat. No. 3,860,003 describes a disposable diaper which provides a contractible leg opening having a side flap and one or more elastic members to provide an elasticized leg cuff (a gasketing cuff), U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,808,178 and 4,909,803 issued to Aziz et al. on Feb. 28, 1989 and Mar. 20, 1990, respectively, describe disposable diapers having “stand-up” elasticized flaps (barrier cuffs) which improve the containment of the leg regions. U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,695,278 and 4,795,454 issued to Lawson on Sep. 22, 1987 and to Dragoo on Jan. 3. 1989, respectively, describe disposable diapers having dual cuffs, including gasketing cuffs and barrier cuffs. In some embodiments, it may be desirable to treat all or a portion of the leg cuffs 32 with a lotion, as described above.

Embodiments of the present invention may also include pockets for receiving and containing waste, spacers which provide voids for waste, barriers for limiting the movement of waste in the article, compartments or voids which accept and contain waste materials deposited in the diaper 20, and the like, or any combinations thereof. Examples of pockets and spacers for use in absorbent products are described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,514,121 issued to Roe et al. or May 7, 1996, entitled “Diaper Having Expulsive Spacer”; U.S. Pat. No. 5,171,236 issued to Dreier et al. on Dec. 15. 1992 entitled “Disposable Absorbent Article Having Core Spacers’; U.S. Pat. No. 5,397,318 issued to Dreier on Mar. 14, 1995 entitled “Absorbent Article Having A Pocket Cuff'; U.S. Pat. No. 5,540,671 issued to Dreier on Jul. 30, 1996 entitled “Absorbent Article Having A Pocket Cuff With An Apex”; PCT Application WO 93/25172 published Dec. 3, 1993 entitled “Spacers For Use In hygienic Absorbent Articles And Disposable Absorbent Articles Having Such Spacer”; U.S. Pat. No. 5,306,266 entitled ‘Flexible Spacers For Use In Disposable Absorbent Articles” issued to Freeland on Apr. 26, 1994; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,997,520 entitled “Disposable Absorbent Article With Selectively Expandable or Inflatable Component” issued to Ahr et al. on Dec. 7, 1999. Examples of compartments or voids are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,968,312 entitled “Disposable Fecal Compartmenting Diaper” issued to Khan on Nov. 6, 1990; U.S. Pat. No. 4,990,147 entitled “Absorbent Article With Elastic Liner For Waste Material Isolation” issued to Freeland on Feb. 5, 1991; U.S. Pat. No. 5,062,840, entitled “Disposable Diapers” issued to Holt et al on Nov. 5, 1991; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,269,755 entitled “Trisection Topsheets For Disposable Absorbent Articles And Disposable Absorbent Articles Having Such Trisection Topsheets” issued to Freeland et al on Dec. 14, 1993. Examples of suitable transverse barriers are described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,554,142 entitled “Absorbent Article Having Multiple Effective Height Transverse Partition” issued Sep. 10, 1996 in the name of Dreier et al.; PCT Patent WO 94/14395 entitled “Absorbent Article Having An Upstanding Transverse Partition” published Jul. 7, 1994 in the name of Freeland. et al.; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,653,703 Absorbent Article Having Angular Upstanding Transverse Partition issued Aug. 5, 1997 to Roe, et al. Examples of other structures especially suitable for management of low viscosity feces are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,941,864 issued to Roe et al. on Aug. 24, 1999; U.S. Pat. No. 5,977,430 issued to Roe et al. on Nov. 2, 1999 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,013,063 issued to Roe et al, on Jan. 11, 2000. All of the above-cited references are hereby incorporated by reference herein.

The absorbent article of the present invention may also at least one illuminative substance. For example, the illuminative substance may be a fluorescent substance, or a phosphorescent substance, or a reflective substance which glows in the dark or is reflective. The illuminative substance may be disposed on an absorbent article surface or incorporated into any material used in the absorbent article.

Possible applications of the illuminative substance may include helping the caregiver in locating or identifying the wearer. The illuminative substance may also assist the caregiver in fastening the article about the wearer. For example, the illuminative substance may aid in the engaging and disengaging of fasteners, as well as aligning the article with the wearer during fitting. In one embodiment the absorbent article may comprise a first waist region 36 or second waist region 38 which contain one or more illuminative substances. For embodiments including leg cuffs 32, the leg cuffs 32 may include one or more illuminative substances. Further, any part of the fastening system 40 may also include one or more illuminative substances. In one embodiment, one or more of the fastening tabs, landing zone 70, or both, may comprise one or more illuminative substances.

The illuminative substance may comprise any suitable material which glows or is reflective in a low light environment. Low light environments may vary from less than typical visible ambient light to a substantially dark environment. Examples of the illuminative substance include phosphorescent, long after glow phosphorescent, reflective, light emitter, or fluorescent substances. The illuminative substance may be for example a polycrystalline inorganic zinc sulphide which can create a green illumination or an alkaline earth sulphide which can create a red or blue illumination. In one embodiment the illuminative substance may further may be a Safe-Glo™ or premium Sparkle-Glo™ film available from Coburn Corp. in New Jersey, or any of a family of photo-chemical compounds. Global Trade Alliance, Inc. in Arizona also provides a series of phosphorescent substances that result in different colors and are considered a long after glow phosphorescent. Commercial examples include PLO-7, PLO-6, PLO-4, PLB-7, PLB-6, SBG-8, SB-8, RR-7, RO-7, PLR-4, PLY-4, PLG-4, PLB-4. LUMI long afterglow photoluminescent pigment is an example of a new type of long decay phosphor that may also be used. The illuminative substance is also available from Global Trade Alliance in Arizona. Other suppliers of suitable illuminative substance include Crystal Print Inc.

The absorbent article may also comprise two or more illuminative substances having contrasting illuminative properties. The contrast may be treated by combining any of the above substances e.g. phosphorescent and fluorescent. Alternatively contrast may be treated by using two different illuminative substances, using two or more different brightnesses of the same illuminative substance, using different colors of illuminative substance, or by varying the application of the illuminative substance.

The illuminative substance may be included on any surface of the absorbent article. For example, the illuminative substance maybe coated on the backsheet outer-surface 261, the outermost surface of a second sheet of material 701 attached to the backsheet outer-surface 261, the innermost surface 702 of an additional second sheet of material 70, or anyplace else desired. Alternatively, the illuminative substance may be contained within any material which makes up a portion of the article. For example the illuminative substance may be contained in a clear, semi-clear, or opaque material used either as a backsheet 26, or as an outer second sheet of material 70 attached to the backsheet outer-surface 261, e.g., an outer second sheet of material 70 used as a fastener landing zone. In another example, the illuminative substance may be located between the optional second sheet of material inner-surface 702 and the backsheet outer-surface 261.

A suitable backsheet 26 may comprise a backsheet inner-surface 262 which faces the absorbent core 28 and a backsheet outer-surface 261 which forms all, or part of the exterior of the absorbent article. The backsheet outer-surface 261 may further comprise at least one illuminative substance. The backsheet may also comprise a second sheet of material 70 on the backsheet outer-surface 261 which may serve as a fastening landing zone. The landing zone 70 may have an outermost surface 701 facing away from the article and an innermost surface 702 facing the backsheet outer-surface 261. An example is shown in FIG. 3.

The backsheet 26 or second sheet of material 70 may further comprise indicia 77 formed by the illuminative substance. This indicia may be most visible when illuminated by the illuminative substance in a low light environment, but may also alternatively be visible under normal light conditions. In one alternative the absorbent article 20 indicium elements are visually related to each other such that the indicium viewed under normal ambient lighting is different than when viewed in the dark. For example an animal's eyes may appear open during the day and shut at night. Alternatively, other light sources such as for example ultraviolet light may also have the effect of changing or enhancing the indicia observed.

The absorbent article may also contain an outer second sheet of material 70 on the backsheet outer-surface 261 which is treated with an illuminative substance. The illuminative substance may be on the outer surface of the second sheet of material 701, a component of the second sheet of material 70, or on the second sheet of material inner surface 702 facing the backsheet outer surface 261. Any alternative, could further include a transparent or semi-transparent component of the covering material. The illuminative effect maybe phosphorescent or fluorescent. In one embodiment the backsheet does not have a second sheet of material 70 attached. Another embodiment would have the second sheet of material 70 integrated into the absorbent article landing zone attached to the backsheet 26. Still another embodiment would incorporate illuminative properties on to the absorbent article fastening tabs to facilitate changing the article in a low light environment.

The dimensions and values disclosed herein are not to be understood as being strictly limited to the exact numerical values recited. Instead, unless otherwise specified, each such dimension is intended to mean both the recited value and a functionally equivalent range surrounding that value. For example, a dimension disclosed as “40 mm” is intended to mean “about 40 mm.”

Every document cited herein, including any cross referenced or related patent or application, is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety unless expressly excluded or otherwise limited. The citation of any document is not an admission that it is prior art with respect to any invention disclosed or claimed herein or that it alone, or in any combination with any other reference or references, teaches, suggests or discloses any such invention. Further, to the extent that any meaning or definition of a term in this document conflicts with any meaning or definition of the same term in a document incorporated by reference, the meaning or definition assigned to that term in this document shall govern.

While particular embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated and described, it would be obvious to those skilled in the art that various other changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. It is therefore intended to cover in the appended claims all such changes and modifications that are within the scope of this invention.

What is claimed is: 1. An absorbent article comprising a topsheet, a backsheet including a liquid impervious material having an outer surface; an absorbent core interposed between the topsheet and the backsheet; and at least one illuminative substance selected from the group consisting of phosphorescent, fluorescent and combinations thereof disposed on at least a portion of said outer surface of said liquid impervious material. 2. An absorbent article as described in claim 1, wherein the illuminative substance is reflective. 3. An absorbent article as described in claim 1, including at least two illuminative substances having contrasting illuminative properties. 4. An absorbent article as in claim 1, further comprising at least a second sheet of material attached to the backsheet outer-surface. 5. An absorbent article as described in claim 4, wherein the second sheet of material is clear or semi-clear. 6. A absorbent article comprising a topsheet, a backsheet including a liquid impervious material having an outer-surface and a second sheet material having an outermost surface and an innermost surface wherein said innermost surface faces said outer surface of said liquid impervious material; an absorbent core interposed between the topsheet and the backsheet; and at least one illuminative substance selected from the group consisting of phosphorescent, fluorescent and combinations thereof disposed between said liquid impervious material and said second sheet material. 7. An absorbent article as described in claim 6 wherein said illuminative substance is disposed on said outer surface of said liquid impervious material. 8. An absorbent article as described in claim 6 wherein said illuminative substance is disposed on said innermost surface of said second sheet material. 9. An absorbent article comprising: a topsheet, a liquid impervious backsheet including a film layer having an outer surface and a nonwoven layer having an outermost surface and an innermost surface facing said outer surface of said film layer; an absorbent core interposed between the topsheet and the backsheet; and at least one illuminative substance selected from the group consisting of phosphorescent, fluorescent and combinations thereof disposed on at least a portion of said outermost surface of said nonwoven layer. 10. An absorbent article as described in claim 1 which is in the form of a pull-on diaper. 11. An absorbent article as described in claim 1 which is in the form of a training pant. 12. An absorbent article as described in claim 1 which is in the form of a disposable diaper. 13. A training pant comprising a topsheet, a backsheet including a liquid impervious material having an outer-surface and a nonwoven material having an outermost surface and an innermost surface wherein said innermost surface faces said outer surface of said liquid impervious material; an absorbent core interposed between the topsheet and the backsheet; and at least one illuminative substance selected from the group consisting of phosphorescent, fluorescent and combinations thereof disposed on a portion of said liquid impervious material.


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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20100100068 A1
Publish Date
04/22/2010
Document #
12644073
File Date
12/22/2009
USPTO Class
60438523
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
61F13/45
Drawings
3



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