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