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United States Patent Application 20170325640
Kind Code A1
Trokhan; Paul Dennis ;   et al. November 16, 2017

Stackable and Stacked Absorbent Paper Product

Abstract

An absorbent paper product. The absorbent paper product can be in a non-circular shape when unfolded and flattened, and folded in a stackable, non-planar form for dispensing. The absorbent paper product can be non-circular in shape when unfolded and flattened, and can be a tessellating shape or a non-tessellating shape.


Inventors: Trokhan; Paul Dennis; (Hamilton, OH) ; Mellin; Gustav Andre; (Amberly Village, OH) ; Baldridge; Devin William; (Cincinnati, OH) ; Sheehan; Jeffrey Glen; (Symmes Township, OH)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

The Procter & Gamble Company

Cincinnati

OH

US
Assignee: The Procter & Gamble Company

Family ID: 1000002815558
Appl. No.: 14/749675
Filed: June 25, 2015


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
62018103Jun 27, 2014
62094090Dec 19, 2014

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: A47K 10/16 20130101; A47K 10/421 20130101; B65D 83/0894 20130101; A47K 2010/428 20130101; B65B 5/00 20130101; D21H 27/002 20130101; D21H 27/02 20130101
International Class: A47K 10/16 20060101 A47K010/16

Claims



1. An absorbent paper product, the absorbent paper product being in a non-circular shape when flattened and unfolded, and being folded in a stackable, non-planar form for dispensing, the non-planar form having a first portion defining a base and a second portion defining a peak.

2. The absorbent paper product of claim 1, wherein the peak is in the shape of a pointed tip.

3. The absorbent paper product of claim 1, wherein the peak is in the shape of a ridge line.

4. The absorbent paper product of claim 1, wherein the non-circular shape is a non-tessellating shape.

5. The absorbent paper product of claim 1, wherein the non-circular shape is a tessellating shape.

6. The absorbent paper product of claim 1, wherein the absorbent product has a perimeter, the perimeter defining a first shape when the absorbent product is in a flattened, unfolded form and the perimeter defining a second shape when folded in the stackable, non-planar form, and wherein the first shape is different than the second shape.

7. The absorbent paper product of claim 6, wherein the second shape is non-polygonal with an aspect ratio greater than 1.

8. The absorbent paper product of claim 7, wherein the aspect ratio is between 1.1 and 5.

9. The absorbent paper product of claim 5, wherein the non-circular shape is selected from the group consisting of triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon and dodecahedron.

10. A stack of absorbent paper products, each said absorbent paper product having a perimeter, the perimeter defining a first shape when the absorbent product is in a flattened, unfolded form, and each said absorbent paper product being in a folded, non-planar form, the non-planar form having a first portion defining a base and a second portion defining a peak, the base defining a second shape, and wherein the first shape is different than the second shape.

11. The stack of absorbent paper products of claim 10, wherein the peak is in the shape of a pointed tip.

12. The stack of absorbent paper products of claim 10, wherein the peak is in the shape of a ridge line.

13. The stack of absorbent paper products of claim 10, wherein the second shape is non-polygonal with an aspect ratio greater than 1.

14. The absorbent paper product of claim 13, wherein the aspect ratio is between 1.1 and 5.

15. A plurality of absorbent paper products, each of the absorbent paper products being cut from a sheet of absorbent paper in a first, non-circular shape when flattened and unfolded, and each of the absorbent paper products being folded in a stackable, non-planar form for dispensing the non-circular shape, the non-planar form having a first portion having a base defining a second shape, and a second portion defining a peak, and wherein the first, non-circular shape is selected such that less than about 21% of the absorbent paper is unused as one of the plurality of absorbent paper products.

16. The absorbent paper product of claim 15, wherein the peak is in the shape of a pointed tip.

17. The absorbent paper product of claim 15, wherein the peak is in the shape of a ridge line.

18. The plurality of absorbent paper products of claim 15, wherein the first, non-circular shape is a tessellating shape.

19. The absorbent paper product of claim 15, wherein the second shape is non-polygonal with an aspect ratio greater than 1.

20. The absorbent paper product of claim 19, wherein the aspect ratio is between 1.1 and 5.
Description



FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The disclosure relates to absorbent paper products, such as bath tissue, facial tissue, and paper towels and to methods for making and marketing such paper products.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Absorbent paper products, such as bath tissue, facial tissue, and paper towels are well known. Such products are commonly used in households, businesses, restaurants, shops, and the like. Most often absorbent paper products are supplied on a roll for dispensing. For example, paper towels typically are marketed on a cardboard roll from which an end user can tear off one sheet at a time.

[0003] While rolled absorbent paper products in the form of bath tissue and paper towels are virtually ubiquitous, there are some shortcomings to such rolled configurations. First, for paper towels, for example, one-handed dispensing can be difficult. That is, the user often must hold the roll still with one hand while tearing off a single sheet with the other hand. Two-handed dispensing avoids the problem of inadvertently pulling off many sheets when only one sheet was intended. Often the reason one wishes to use paper towels is because his or her hands are wet, and two-handed dispensing can result in one hand, i.e., the "holding" hand getting portions of the roll of paper towels wet.

[0004] Secondly, when supplied in roll format, much of the volume of the product is empty air space. That is, the open core, typically in the form of a cardboard tube, is empty space that takes up volume but delivers no product to the consumer. This empty space must be packaged and shipped, and the cardboard tube is typically discarded as trash. Thus, current configurations have built-in costs not related to the actual benefit delivered to the consumer in the form of absorbent products.

[0005] Yet a third drawback of absorbent paper products in roll format is that they require another device, i.e., a roll holder, for operation. That is, paper towels, for example, are intended to be used with a horizontally- or vertically-disposed bar that holds the roll in place for dispensing. If such a device is not already present in the location a user desires to use the product, the user must purchase and/or mount the device prior to use of the absorbent paper product roll.

[0006] Circular, cone-shaped, stacked paper products are known. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 7,954,665, issued to Abbosh, et al., on Jun. 7, 2011, describes wipes being formed into non-planar form and stacked in a cone shape. However, the flat, round, disc-shaped wipes disclosed in Abbosh et al., result in waste when cut out of a web of paper because of the nature of circular shapes, which do not tessellate, i.e., the shape cannot be "tiled" in a two-dimensional plane with no overlaps and no gaps. Further, it is believed the circular shaped wipes and/or the cone-shaped stack of Abbosh et al., each or both can be perceived negatively by consumers. When utilized in a kitchen or bathroom, for example, a different shape of tissue/wipe or a different configuration of stacked tissues/wipes can provide for more pleasing aesthetics as well as other technical benefits related to dispensing and use.

[0007] Accordingly, it would be desirable to have an absorbent paper product manufactured and delivered in a form that facilitates easier one-handed dispensing.

[0008] Additionally, it would be desirable to have an absorbent paper product manufactured and delivered in a form not having a cardboard tube and the resulting non-paper filled volume and requirement for a second mounting device.

[0009] Further, it would be desirable to have a stacked paper product suitable for one-handed dispensing, but which lessens, minimizes, or avoids the problem of waste associated with circular-shaped wipes.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] An absorbent paper product is disclosed. The absorbent paper product can be in a non-circular shape when unfolded and flattened, and folded in a stackable, non-planar form for dispensing. The absorbent paper product can be non-circular in shape when unfolded and flattened, and can be a tessellating shape or a non-tessellating shape.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] FIG. 1 is a plan view of a prior art pattern for absorbent paper products.

[0012] FIG. 2 is an exemplary pattern of two-dimensional tessellating shapes useful for absorbent paper products.

[0013] FIG. 3 is an example of a non-circular, non-tessellating shape of an absorbent paper product.

[0014] FIG. 4 is an example of a folded, cone-shaped absorbent paper product.

[0015] FIG. 5 is an example of a two-dimensional shape before folding into a non-planar form.

[0016] FIG. 6 is an example of a stackable, non-planar form of the non-circular two-dimensional shape shown in FIG. 5.

[0017] FIG. 7 is an example of a stackable, non-planar form of the non-circular two-dimensional shape shown in FIG. 5.

[0018] FIG. 8 is an example of a stack of non-planar absorbent paper products.

[0019] FIG. 9 is cross-sectional view of Section 9-9 in FIG. 8.

[0020] FIG. 10 is an example of a pattern of non-circular, non-tessellating shaped absorbent paper products.

[0021] FIG. 11 is an example of a pattern of non-circular, tessellating shaped absorbent paper products.

[0022] FIG. 12 is an example of a pattern of non-circular, tessellating shaped absorbent paper products.

[0023] FIG. 13 is an example of a pattern of non-circular, tessellating shaped absorbent paper products.

[0024] FIG. 14 is an example of a fold pattern and method of folding an absorbent paper product from a two-dimensional planar form to a stackable non-planar form.

[0025] FIG. 15 is an example of a fold pattern and method of folding an absorbent paper product from a two-dimensional planar form to a stackable non-planar form.

[0026] FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the absorbent paper product shown in FIG. 15 showing an exemplary folding pattern from the bottom.

[0027] FIG. 17 is a plan view of a stack of stackable, non-planar absorbent paper products shown in FIGS. 15 and 16.

[0028] FIG. 18 is an example of a fold pattern and method of folding an absorbent paper product from a two-dimensional planar form to a stackable non-planar form.

[0029] FIG. 19A is a top view of an absorbent paper product folded into a stackable non-planar form.

[0030] FIG. 19B is a side view of an absorbent paper product folded into a stackable non-planar form.

[0031] FIG. 20 is a perspective view of an absorbent paper product folded into a stackable non-planar form.

[0032] FIG. 21 is an example of a non-circular two-dimensional shape of an absorbent paper product prior to folding into a non-planar form.

[0033] FIG. 22 is a perspective view of the absorbent paper product shown in FIG. 21 showing an exemplary folding pattern from the top.

[0034] FIG. 23 is a perspective view of the absorbent paper product shown in FIG. 21 showing an exemplary folding pattern from the bottom.

[0035] FIG. 24 is a plan view of a stack of stackable, non-planar absorbent paper products.

[0036] FIG. 25 is a perspective view of a stack of stackable, non-planar absorbent paper products.

[0037] FIG. 26 is a perspective view of a stack of stackable, non-planar absorbent paper products showing a flap for dispensing.

[0038] FIG. 27 is a perspective view of a stack of stackable, non-planar absorbent paper products.

[0039] FIG. 28 is a perspective view of a stack of stackable, non-planar absorbent paper products.

[0040] FIG. 29 is a perspective view of a package suitable for containing a stack of stackable, non-planar absorbent paper products.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0041] In an embodiment, the present invention is an absorbent paper product having at least one ply and manufactured and marketed such that each absorbent paper product is in a form characterized by being in a non-planar, three-dimensional configuration. In some embodiments each absorbent paper product is non-circular when in a flattened and unfolded state. In some embodiments each absorbent paper product has a shape which tessellates, that is, the shape can be repeated in a tiled configuration in two-dimensions without overlap and without gaps. At least some non-planar absorbent paper product can be folded in one or more creased folds to form the non-planar configuration. Each non-planar absorbent paper product can be stacked with other like products to form a stack of a plurality of absorbent paper products. The absorbent paper product can be a facial tissue, bath tissue, paper towel, napkin, or the like, and it is believed that the most utility for such a product is likely to be when the paper is designed for absorbency, that is, the paper is intended to absorb relatively high amounts of fluids such as water in cleaning and wiping tasks. Such absorbent paper products are currently provided in roll form, such as those marketed as BOUNTY.RTM. paper towels, for example.

[0042] The absorbent paper of the absorbent paper product can be any of known absorbent paper known for use as facial tissue, bath tissue, paper towel, napkin, or the like, and will not be described in detail herein. As used herein, the term "absorbent paper" is meant to include paper products, including paper products made with cellulosic fibers, having as a primary intended use absorbing liquids and/or cleaning. Absorbent paper products such as paper towels are intended to absorb liquids, but also function to clean or scrub, and can be combined with cleaners to have a primary intended use of cleaning. In an embodiment, the absorbent paper products of the present invention may exhibit a CRT absorbent capacity of from about 0.1 grams per square inch to about 1.5 grams per square inch, from about 0.2 grams per square inch to about 1.2 grams per square inch, when tested according to the Test Methods herein. Thus, substrates such as films, polymer films, foils, non-absorbent wipes, filter paper, paper utilized for paper cups, and other forms of substrates that do not have a primary intended purpose of absorbency are not considered absorbent paper as used herein. In general, any absorbent paper product made by known papermaking methods, including wet laying and through air drying, and which can be embossed, can be utilized in the present invention. Therefore, the description below is non-limiting with respect to the particular absorbent paper product to be used, the particular manufacturing method, or the particular format. The absorbent paper product can be embossed, creped and/or printed.

[0043] An example of a known shape for wipes that can be folded and stacked in a non-planar form is shown in FIG. 1. As shown, a portion of a web 10 can have cut out of it one or more circular shaped wipes 12 which regardless of how configured in a pattern on web 10, necessarily leave waste paper in the regions between the circular shapes, for example, the regions denoted as 14 in FIG. 1. This waste, which at minimum is about 21.4% of the starting sheet of absorbent paper, adds to the cost of the finished wipe product; even if it is recycled, the process of recycling itself adds cost to a finished product. The prior art circular-shaped product is known to be folded into a non-planar, conical-shaped stacked configuration, as disclosed in the aforementioned U.S. Pat. No. 7,954,665.

[0044] The current invention provides an improvement in non-planar, stacked forms of absorbent paper products. The absorbent paper products can be folded into non-planar forms for dispensing, and can be non-circular when unfolded and flattened. As disclosed in more detail below, the absorbent paper product of the invention can be further described in at least three distinct ways: (1) stackable, non-planar, absorbent paper products being in a non-circular shape when flattened and unfolded, and wherein the non-circular shape is a non-tessellating shape; (2) stackable, non-planar, absorbent paper products being in a non-circular shape when flattened and unfolded, and wherein the non-circular shape is a tessellating shape; and, (3) absorbent paper products having a first shape when flattened and unfolded, which when folded into a stackable, non-planar form has a first portion defining a base having a second shape and a second portion defining a peak. The second shape can be different from the first shape.

[0045] By "tessellating shape" as used herein is meant a shape for an individual absorbent paper product, e.g., a sheet of paper towel, which in identical, two-dimensional, planar forms can be repeated in a tiled pattern with no overlaps and no gaps. A simple example of a web 20 from which can be cut a plurality of absorbent paper products 22 being in a non-circular shape when flattened and unfolded, and wherein the non-circular shape is a tessellating shape, is shown in FIG. 2, which shows a repeating pattern 42 of square-shaped absorbent paper products 22.

[0046] By "stacked" or "stackable" as used herein is meant the property of folded, non-planar forms of absorbent paper products to be nested one to another to form a relatively compact stack from which one or more absorbent paper products can be independently removed. That is, the absorbent paper products are not connected, such as by perforated lines, but are each discrete and dispensable in a stacked, non-planar form, individually. Once dispensed, the absorbent paper product can be manipulated for use, including by being pressed back into a generally two-dimensional, planar form for wiping up spills, for example.

[0047] A simple example of a non-circular, non-tessellating shaped absorbent paper product 24 is shown in FIG. 3. For simplicity, only one absorbent paper product 24 is shown in its flattened, unfolded form and how it appears when cut from a larger web 20 of paper. Typically shaped absorbent paper products are cut, for example by die cutting, from a larger flat web 20 of paper. The web 20 can be made in a known paper-making process in which the web has an essentially endless length in the machine direction MD, which is the direction the web runs as it is reeled onto finished rolls. Likewise, the web has a cross-direction, CD, which is the direction associated with the width of web 20 during processing. As can be understood, a plurality of absorbent paper products 24 can be cut out of a given web 20, with the number being limited only by the size of the absorbent paper products 24 and the size of the web 20.

[0048] Of course, virtually any non-circular shape can be envisioned; the shape shown in FIG. 3 is exemplary only. As shown, rather than have a circular shape, the rounded overall shape of the absorbent paper product has a scalloped edge 36. The edge 36 could likewise be modified such that the edge 36 exhibits an overall impression of "flower-petal shaped" or "zig-zag shaped" or "star-burst shaped," with the common physical characteristic being that the edge 36 of the shape is not uniformly smooth and circular. Likewise, the overall shape need not approximate a circle, but could be oval, ellipsoid, diamond, square, and other geometric shapes that can be folded into non-planar forms for stacking as described herein.

[0049] The benefit to having a non-circular, non-tessellating shape as shown in FIG. 3 is not necessarily scrap reduction; this design, if repeated over a web and die cut could result in scrap generation. However, having an edge profile other than smooth and circular provides for additional gripping portions, i.e., tabs, which can aid in removing a single absorbent paper product from a stack of such products. For example, as shown in FIG. 4, a folded, cone-shaped absorbent paper product 26 having a non-circular, non-tessellating shape, can have downwardly extending tabs 28 formed by the non-circularity of the shape's edge 36. As such, each tab can function to provide a liftable portion of the product, such that a finger and/or thumb can more easily grasp the product for removable.

[0050] The non-circular, non-tessellating shaped absorbent paper product 24 can be folded to form a non-planar absorbent paper product 26 having a base portion 33 and a peak 37. As shown in FIG. 4, in a simple form, the non-circular, non-tessellating shaped absorbent paper product 24 can have two folds, a first fold 30 and a second fold 32 which form a single flap 38. Upon making the first fold and the second fold, each originating from a common interior portion 34 of the non-circular, non-tessellating shaped absorbent paper product 24 and extending to an edge 36, the non-circular, non-tessellating shaped absorbent paper product 24 is forced into a non-planar form having a base 33 and a peak 37, which is suitable for stacking with like-folded products. In general, the common interior portion 34 of the non-planar form will coincide with the peak 37, which in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 4 can be considered to be a pointed tip. By "pointed tip" is not meant necessarily a tip having a geometric point, but a tip generally having the appearance of a point based on the geometries of the folding pattern.

[0051] The non-circular shaped absorbent paper products, whether tessellating, 22, or non-tessellating 24, can be folded to be stackable in non-planar forms for dispensing. In general, any two or more folds that force an absorbent paper product into a non-planar form can be utilized in the present invention. However, for commercial purposes it is believed that certain fold patterns and aesthetic properties are beneficial. That is, when stacked, the stack of non-circular wipes can have a certain organization, consistency, or symmetry of products such that it appears to the end user in a pleasant, appealing manner, and as well presents a pleat (or flap) for grasping in an organized, consistent manner to ease in dispensing.

[0052] In general, for all the non-circular shapes disclosed herein, they can be folded with at least two folds to form at least one folded, flattened pleat, or flap 38, as shown in FIG. 4, and in more detail in FIGS. 5-7. In its simplest form, for a non-circular shape having a peripheral edge 36, a first fold 30 and a second fold 32 can each originate from the interior portion 34, and can originate from a center point 35 of the non-circular, non-tessellating shaped absorbent paper product 24, which coincides with the peak 37 of the non-planar form. Each fold can extend to the edge 36, and the second fold 32 can be folded in, or "tucked" under the first fold, which can be folded over to form a flap 38. The flap 38 can be used to grasp the topmost absorbent paper product of the stack for dispensing. In the illustrated embodiment, the angle subtended between the two folds determines the size of the flap 38 and, as well, the extent of non-planarity of the final, non-planar product. One way of characterizing non-planarity is to consider a height, H, of a single stackable, non-planar absorbent paper product, the height being measured from the base 33 to the peak 37. If the angle is relatively small, the flap width at the peripheral edge 36, W, will be relatively small, and the height, H, will be relatively low, as shown in FIG. 6. Likewise, if the angle is relatively large, the flap width at the perimeter, W, will be relatively large, and the height, H, will be relatively high, as shown in FIG. 7. For each shape of interest, the non-circular, non-tessellating shaped absorbent paper product 24 can then be forced into a non-planar form 40, which is suitable for stacking with like-folded products, as shown in FIG. 8.

[0053] As shown in FIG. 8, each of the folded, non-planar absorbent paper products 40 can be nested with other folded, non-planar absorbent paper products 40 to for a stack 42 of folded, non-planar absorbent paper products. In FIG. 8, there are four non-planar absorbent paper products 40 stacked. The lower-most absorbent paper product forms a stack base 44, which can rest on a counter top, for example, or in a dispensing device, and the stack can rest in a generally vertical orientation with a vertical axis V being generally orthogonal to a dispensing surface, such as a kitchen counter top. Depending on the shape of the absorbent paper products before folding, the fold pattern, and the stack configuration, the full perimeter 36 of the lowermost non-planar absorbent paper products 40 may not contact the dispensing surface. The top-most absorbent paper product is available for dispensing by, for example, pulling up on the exposed flap 38. As can be appreciated from the description herein, the stacked, nested absorbent paper products can form a cylindrical, or pyramidal, structure that eliminates a central void, as is present in current products rolled onto cores, such as rolled paper towels and toilet paper. The elimination of the central void permits better shipping, storage, and countertop efficiency. In essence, more paper per volume is produced, shipped, stored, and utilized by a consumer.

[0054] Importantly, and in accordance with an embodiment of the invention, the stack 42 need not be conical in shape. That is, the perimeter 36 of the lower-most absorbent paper product 44 that serves as the base need not form a circular shape. This is true even if the absorbent paper products are circular in their flattened, unfolded state. As shown in the cross-section of FIG. 9, the shape of the stack 42 can be flattened, so to speak, or altered from a conical shape that has a generally circular shape cross section, into a shape having an aspect ratio between a major dimension D1 and a minor dimension D2 which is less than dimension D1. That is, the aspect ratio AR, of D1/D2 can be greater than 1. AR can be between 1.1 and 10, or between 2 and 10, or between 3 and 5. In this manner, a stack 42 of absorbent paper product 44 can have a very different aesthetic look, and can have a lower "profile" in one dimension, such that it can sit closer to a wall on a kitchen counter, for example. As discussed above, depending on the shape of the absorbent paper products before folding, the fold pattern, and the stack configuration, the full perimeter 36 of the lowermost non-planar absorbent paper products 40 may not contact the dispensing surface. Therefore, the "shape" of the perimeter 36 of the lowermost non-planar absorbent paper product 40, i.e., shape of the base claimed as the second shape herein, can be considered to be the shape projected in cross-section and viewed from below, as shown in FIG. 9, and the aspect ratio need not be precisely determined, but in cases of general interest where a significant non-circular base shape is desired, can be considered greater than 1 based on a visual inspection of the relative, visually-ascertained dimensions D1 and D2.

[0055] Thus, in one embodiment, the invention can be described as a non-conical stack of absorbent paper products (which paper products can have a planar, two-dimensional shape that is circular, non-circular, tessellating or non-tessellating), each absorbent paper product being in a folded, non-planar form, the non-conical stack having a base portion in a shape having an aspect ratio greater than 1.

[0056] Virtually any other non-circular geometric shape, such as ovals and rhomboids (not shown), could be folded into a non-planar, stackable shape having a base portion and a peak. In an embodiment, the non-circular shape can be a polygonal shape approaching circular, thereby reducing the scrap generated when circular shapes are cut out of a web. For example, as shown in FIG. 10, a pattern 40 of non-circular, non-tessellating shaped absorbent paper products 24 in the shape of dodecagons can be arranged such that the area of the web not used for absorbent paper products, i.e., scraps areas 14, is less than that associated with circular shapes. As shown in the example of FIG. 10, for example, the triangular gaps between the dodecagons is scrap, but the area of scrap web can be significantly lessened, with the overall impression to a user of the absorbent paper product being that it is circular.

[0057] Accordingly, in an embodiment, the present invention can be described as an absorbent paper product being in a polygonal shape when flattened and unfolded, and being folded in a stackable, non-planar form for dispensing, the non-planar form having a first portion defining a base and a second portion defining a peak. Further, the non-circular shape can be a non-tessellating shape.

[0058] A simple example of a non-circular, tessellating pattern 42 of shaped absorbent paper products 22, shown in FIG. 2, is referred to again. Such shapes permit "tiling" of the shaped absorbent paper products 22 such that once cut, such as by die cutting, for example, from web 20, there is minimal scrap generated. In such patterns, the edges of one absorbent paper product 22 can be each coterminous with the edges of adjacent absorbent paper products 22.

[0059] FIG. 11 shows another exemplary pattern 42 of non-circular, tessellating shaped absorbent paper products 22 in the shape of triangles. The pattern can be cut from a web 20 of paper, such as by die cutting to form individual triangle-shaped absorbent paper products 22.

[0060] FIG. 12 shows another exemplary pattern 42 of non-circular, tessellating shaped absorbent paper products 22 in the shape of hexagons. The pattern can be cut from a web 20 of paper, such as by die cutting to form individual hexagon-shaped absorbent paper products 22.

[0061] FIG. 13 shows another exemplary pattern 42 of non-circular, tessellating shaped absorbent paper products 22 in the shape of irregular pentagons. The pattern can be cut from a web 20 of paper, such as by die cutting to form individual pentagon-shaped absorbent paper products 22.

[0062] An example of a stackable, non-planar absorbent paper product 40 suitable for stacked dispensing and made from a paper product in the shape of a hexagon is shown in FIG. 14. As shown in the sequence A-E of FIG. 14, a plurality of absorbent paper products 22 cut into a hexagon shape are shown in FIG. 14A. Cutting can be by die cutting as is known in the art, or other suitable cutting methods. As shown, waste between shapes is minimized and limited only to the edge regions of web 20. One such absorbent paper product 22 cut from web 20 is shown in FIG. 14B, and a representative fold pattern is shown in FIG. 14C. Once folded as shown in FIG. 14C, a non-planar absorbent paper product 40 is formed, the absorbent paper product 40 which in this case forms a pointed tip and which can be described as four-sided pyramid having a base 33, which in this case forms a square shape, and a peak 37. Also formed is a single flap 38 which can be grasped to dispense the topmost absorbent paper product 40 when a plurality of absorbent paper products 40 so formed are stacked for dispensing as shown in FIG. 14E. While the absorbent paper product 40 is shown having a base in the shape of a square, the shape can be modified such that the base shape is rhombus- or diamond-shaped. In either a square-shaped base or a rhombus-shaped base, the shape of the absorbent paper product when flattened and unfolded, i.e., hexagonal, is different from the shape of the base of the folded, non-planar form, i.e., square or rhombus.

[0063] FIGS. 15 and 16 show another exemplary absorbent paper product being in a non-circular shape when flattened and unfolded (FIG. 15A), and being folded in a stackable, non-planar form for dispensing, the non-planar form having a first portion defining a base 33 and a second portion defining a peak 37 (FIG. 16). In the example shown in FIGS. 15-16, the non-circular shape is a rectangle, which can be a square, and the non-planar form is a four-sided pyramidal shape. To obtain the four-sided pyramidal shape shown in FIG. 16, a generally square-shaped absorbent paper product can be folded as shown in FIG. 15 A-F. One difference between the four-sided pyramidal shape shown in FIG. 16, and the four-sided pyramidal shape shown in FIG. 14D is that the four-sided pyramidal shape shown in FIG. 16 has two flaps 38 for grasping by a user dispensing a topmost absorbent paper product 40 when a plurality of absorbent paper products 40 so formed are stacked for dispensing, as shown in FIG. 17. The presence of two flaps 38 provides the benefit of ensuring that at least one corner of the pyramidal shape having a flap is likely to be presented to a user desiring to grasp a flap for dispensing. Thus, a stack 42 of non-planar absorbent paper products folded as shown in FIGS. 15 and 16 can rest in virtually any orientation on a countertop, for example, while increasing the probability that for any given orientation a conveniently flap is presented for grasping.

[0064] Another example of an absorbent paper product being in a non-circular shape when flattened and unfolded, and being folded in a stackable, non-planar form for dispensing, the non-planar form having a first portion defining a base 33 and a second portion defining a peak 37 is shown in FIGS. 18-20. In the example shown in FIGS. 18-20, the non-circular shape of the absorbent paper product is a square, as shown in FIG. 18, and the non-planar form 40 of the absorbent paper product is a three-sided pyramidal shape having one flap 38, as shown in FIGS. 19A-B and FIG. 20.

[0065] To obtain the three-sided pyramidal shape shown in FIG. 20, a generally square-shaped absorbent paper product 22 can be folded along the fold lines 52 and 53 indicated as dashed lines in FIG. 18. To start, each corner 54 of absorbent paper product 22 can be folded along fold lines 52 to essentially meet at the common interior portion 34, i.e., folded down and under when in the orientation viewed in FIG. 18. When corners 54 are folded to meet essentially in the center, e.g., at portion 34, the shape is again a square, with the sides represented by fold lines 52, and having corners 54A. The shape as folded can be creased with folds along lines 53 for further manipulation, which includes bringing any two adjacent corners 54A together, such that an additional fold can be made at 55, which can form a tab or flap, which, when folded down forms flap 38 as shown in FIGS. 19A and B and FIG. 20. The resulting non-planar absorbent paper product is a stackable three-sided pyramidal shape having one flap 38, a base 33 and a peak 37, the peak being in the shape of generally pointed tip.

[0066] In general, the non-circular, tessellating shaped absorbent paper products 22 of the present invention can have any tessellating shape. For commercial purposes it is believed best if the shape lends itself to household tasks such as wiping up spills, cleaning counters and other household surfaces, including reaching into crevices, cracks, and other hard to clean areas. In general, therefore, the shape can be a polygon and can have a minimal cross sectional area of at least about 10 square inches to about 100 square inches.

[0067] Another representative example of a product of the present invention is described with reference to FIGS. 21-26. The example is described with respect to an absorbent paper product that is again square in its planar, two-dimensional shape, but the description, basic structure of the stack, and user benefits provided when folded, is the same for other shapes as well, including circular, and non-circular polygonal shapes, including tessellating and non-tessellating shapes. The folding and stacking described herein can be achieved by hand, or by machine.

[0068] As shown in FIG. 21, a square (when in a planar, unfolded, two-dimensional state) absorbent paper product 22, which can be a cellulosic substrate useful as a paper towel, can be folded with two diagonal folds 50 that cross at a common interior portion 34 which can be the center. The two diagonal folds 50 can each extend from opposite corners 54. For shapes other than square, two folds that cross at generally right angles to generally divide the absorbent paper product into quadrants can be used to achieve the same fold pattern as described herein. In general, it is not important that the folds be exactly from corner to corner, or be exactly orthogonal to one another. The basic fold pattern illustrated can be achieved with satisfactory finished product features when folds are inexact, but closely approximate the folds as described.

[0069] To form the absorbent paper product 22 into a stackable, non-planar form, another fold, indicated at 60 in FIG. 21 can be folded inwardly as indicated in FIG. 22, which in one configuration can be considered the top of the non-planar form. Corners 54 can be brought together in the direction indicated by arrows 62 in FIG. 22 and, in this manner, the two portions, or faces, 56 are folded adjacent one another and the two portions, or faces, 58 are folded adjacent one another. Once folded, the flaps formed by the faces 56 and 58 and their respective fold 60 can be moved to one side of the form, as indicated by arrows 64 in FIG. 23, which in this example, can be considered the bottom of the non-planar form.

[0070] A plan view, i.e., a top view in one embodiment, of a stackable, non-planar form of an absorbent paper product folded as described above, is shown in FIG. 24. As shown, perimeter 36 at the base of the product exhibits a non-circular shape, or footprint, which in this case is a diamond shape produced by additional folds 68, which are optional. In a simpler form, the perimeter 36 can form a footprint having a generally oval shape or a prolate spheroid shape with generally pointed ends where flap corners 54 meet. As shown, the shape has an aspect ratio AR of D1/D2 greater than 1. Although the representation in FIG. 24 is non-limiting with respect to dimensions, the approximate aspect ratio AR of 2 is representative of a commercial embodiment of a stack of non-planar absorbent products.

[0071] A stack 42 of non-planar absorbent paper products 26 is shown in FIG. 25. As shown, the non-planar form allows for each absorbent paper product 26 to nest with adjacent absorbent paper products to form a relatively compact stack that can used as is, or supplied and used with a dispenser 72, which can be a paper or plastic holding device that helps stabilize the stack during use. Some starting, two-dimensional shapes, such as a circle and the square described above, once formed into a non-planar shape having a non-circular perimeter shape, can result in a non-planar footprint, i.e., the perimeter of the lowermost product does not lie in a plane, which can result in stack instability due to a potential rocking (in the case of a generally circular shape) or tipping (in the case of a generally square shape) tendency, for example. The dispenser 72 can be formed as necessary to have a flat lower surface 74 for stable use on kitchen countertops, for example.

[0072] One advantage of the invention when folded as described herein is illustrated in FIG. 26. At least two flaps 70 are formed by the fold, the flaps being generally easily graspable by a user (in contrast to the single flap formed by the fold shown in FIGS. 8 and 9, for example). Flaps 70, also shown in FIG. 23, are formed by one of the sides 66 and one each of portions 56 and 58. Flaps can be formed by the pressure of folding and stacking to lie generally flat for stacking, but are easily separated for lifting and removal of the topmost product, as shown in FIG. 26. The presence of two or more flaps facilitates more flexible orientation of the stack so that a flap is more likely to be presented to a user without the user having to turn the stack to find a flap.

[0073] When an absorbent paper product 22 having a first shape that is square when flat and then folded as shown in FIGS. 21-23 into its non-planar form for stacking and dispensing, the peripheral edge 36 can be in a "football" shape, and the long edges tend to be arched into a curve between flap corners 54. That is, when folded as shown in FIGS. 21-23, the peripheral edge 36 forms a second shape that does not necessarily lie in a plane, and the folded paper product does not necessarily sit flat on a surface with substantially all of peripheral edge 36 in contact with the surface.

[0074] Another example of an absorbent paper product being in a non-circular shape when flattened and unfolded, and being folded in a stackable, non-planar form for dispensing, the non-planar form having a first portion defining a base 33 and a second portion defining a peak 37 is shown in FIGS. 27-29. In the example shown in FIGS. 27-29, the non-circular shape of the absorbent paper product is a rectangle which can be folded, such as C-folded, as shown in FIG. 27, and the non-planar form 40 of the absorbent paper product is an inverted V-shape as shown in FIG. 28. While the embodiment illustrated is in the form of a C-fold, the particular fold selected is not to be limiting. The absorbent paper product can be folded in any manner desired according to the desired finished product, including in MD and/or CD C-folds, I-folds, W-folds, or even unfolded. Additionally, the V-shaped absorbent paper towels can be stacked by sequentially stacking individual sheets, or by stacking in clips of sheets, as is known in the art, and then sequentially stacking the clips to form a stack of a desired height.

[0075] In the embodiment shown, in FIGS. 27 and 28, the peak 37 is not a pointed tip, but rather a ridge line. By ridge line it is not intended to mean a straight line, or a particular level of pointedness, but the ridge is distinguished over, for example, a U-shaped stack of facial tissues. The absorbent paper product, having a generally V-shaped fold can be stacked into a stack 42 for dispensing. In the embodiment of a non-planar form 40 of an absorbent paper product in an inverted V-shape, the base of the non-planar form can be considered to have the shape projected to the surface as the "footprint" of the stack. As such, the base of the non-planar form 40 illustrated in FIG. 27 can be considered to be rectangular, or square. A rectangular or square footprint of a package of stacked folded absorbent paper products, such as that shown in FIG. 28, offers a benefit of space efficiency in packaging and shipping. That is, being basically square, a plurality of packaged stacks 42 can be palletized side by side with minimal space between them, resulting in higher pallet density of packaged product. Closely spaced stacks, being in side to side contact can also offer more vertical stability for higher palletized stack heights. Once shipped to a retail customer, a plurality of packaged stacks 42 can be stacked on store shelves with similar stack density, thereby better utilizing retail shelf space.

[0076] In use, a user can grasp a flap formed by one of the C-folds and lift off the topmost absorbent paper product. A package base 80 can aid in keeping the stack in the desired V-shape. The base can be made of paper, plastic, or other suitably stiff material capable of holding the shape of the stack of absorbent paper products. The stack 42 can be housed for shipping and dispensing in a container 82, with the stack fitting snugly inside container 82, and extending at least partially above the top 84 of container 82. Further, the container 82 can have on at least one side a notch or opening 86 that exposes stacked absorbent products further down the stack, and permits a user to access such absorbent products more easily. In addition to permitting easier access to the stacked absorbent products, the notch 86 permits the user to reach in from the side and grab a plurality of stacked absorbent products in one grab. This "dosing" feature is a benefit of many embodiments of stacked absorbent products disclosed herein.

[0077] Again, the embodiments disclosed herein are exemplary only. The starting two-dimensional starting shapes could be circular or non-circular, polygonal, tessellating, and non-tessellating. Non-circular shapes provide distinct advantages such as providing for more aesthetically pleasing shapes as well as providing perimeter features such as the tabs 28 that can provide for easy grasping and lifting of the topmost product. Non-circular, tessellating shapes offer the distinct advantage of reducing or eliminate waste during production, as the shapes utilize the entirety of the starting web of material. Further, a stack having a non-circular stack cross-section, i.e., a non-circular footprint offers the distinct advantage of presenting a smaller dimension in at least one orientation such that the stack can be set on a kitchen counter closer to a wall or corner, to be out of the way.

[0078] Test Methods

[0079] Unless otherwise specified, all tests described herein including those described under the Definitions section and the following test methods are conducted on samples that have been conditioned in a conditioned room at a temperature of 23.degree. C..+-.1.0.degree. C. and a relative humidity of 50%.+-.2% for a minimum of 24 hours prior to the test. All plastic and paper board packaging articles of manufacture, if any, must be carefully removed from the samples prior to testing. The samples tested are "usable units." "Usable units" as used herein means sheets, flats from roll stock, pre-converted flats, fibrous structure, and/or single or multi-ply products. Except where noted all tests are conducted in such conditioned room, all tests are conducted under the same environmental conditions and in such conditioned room. Discard any damaged product. Do not test samples that have defects such as wrinkles, tears, holes, and like. All instruments are calibrated according to manufacturer's specifications.

[0080] Basis Weight Test Method

[0081] Basis weight of a fibrous structure is measured on stacks of twelve usable units using a top loading analytical balance with a resolution of .+-.0.001 g. The balance is protected from air drafts and other disturbances using a draft shield. A precision cutting die, measuring 8.890 cm.+-.0.00889 cm by 8.890 cm.+-.0.00889 cm is used to prepare all samples.

[0082] With a precision cutting die, cut the samples into squares. Combine the cut squares to form a stack twelve samples thick. Measure the mass of the sample stack and record the result to the nearest 0.001 g.

[0083] The Basis Weight is calculated in g/m.sup.2 as follows:

Basis Weight=(Mass of stack)/[(Area of 1square in stack).times.(No. of squares in stack)]

Basis Weight(g/m.sup.2)=Mass of stack (g)/[79.032(cm.sup.2)/10,000(cm.sup.2/m.sup.2).times.12]

[0084] Report result to the nearest 0.1 g/m.sup.2. Sample dimensions can be changed or varied using a similar precision cutter as mentioned above, so as at least 645 square centimeters of sample area is in the stack.

[0085] CRT Absorbency

[0086] This test incorporates the following CRT equipment absorbency calculation methods

[0087] The Slope of the Square Root of Time (SST 2-15) Test Method.

[0088] The Time Integrated CRTMax (TIR.005) Test Method

[0089] CRT Capacity Test Method

[0090] The SST method and CRTMax TIR method both measure rate over a wide spectrum of time to capture a view of the product pick-up rate over the useful lifetime. In particular, the SST method measures the absorbency rate via the slope of the mass versus the square root of time from 2-15 seconds. The CRTMAX TIR measures time integrated absorbency rate using a 0.005 g/sec threshold stop criteria.

[0091] Overview

[0092] The absorption (wicking) of water by a fibrous sample is measured over time. A sample is placed horizontally in the instrument and is supported by an open weave net structure that rests on a balance. The test is initiated when a tube connected to a water reservoir is raised and the meniscus makes contact with the center of the sample from beneath, at a small negative pressure. Absorption is controlled by the ability of the sample to pull the water from the instrument for approximately 20 seconds. Rate is determined as the slope of the regression line of the outputted weight vs. sqrt (time) from 2 to 15 seconds.

[0093] Apparatus

[0094] Conditioned Room--Temperature is controlled from 73.degree. F..+-.2.degree. F. (23.degree. C..+-.1.degree. C.). Relative Humidity is controlled from 50%.+-.2%

[0095] Sample Preparation--Product samples are cut using hydraulic/pneumatic precision cutter into 3.375 inch diameter circles for SST, CRT Max and 3 inch diameter circles for CRT capacity.

[0096] Capacity Rate Tester (CRT)--The CRT is an absorbency tester capable of measuring capacity and rate. The CRT consists of a balance (0.001 g), on which rests on a woven grid (using nylon monofilament line having a 0.014'' diameter) placed over a small reservoir with a delivery tube in the center. This reservoir is filled by the action of solenoid valves, which help to connect the sample supply reservoir to an intermediate reservoir, the water level of which is monitored by an optical sensor. The CRT is run with a -2 mm water column, controlled by adjusting the height of water in the supply reservoir.

[0097] Software--LabView based custom software specific to CRT Version 4.2 or later.

[0098] Water--Distilled water with conductivity<10 .mu.S/cm (target<5 .mu.S/cm) @ 25.degree. C.

[0099] Sample Preparation

[0100] For this method, a usable unit is described as one finished product unit regardless of the number of plies. Condition all samples with packaging materials removed for a minimum of 2 hours prior to testing. Discard at least the first ten usable units from the roll. Remove two usable units and cut one 3.375-inch (SST, CRTMax) or 3.0 inch (CRT Capacity) circular sample from the center of each usable unit for a total of 2 replicates for each test result. Do not test samples with defects such as wrinkles, tears, holes, etc. Replace with another usable unit which is free of such defects

[0101] Sample Testing

[0102] Pre-Test Set-Up [0103] 1. The water height in the reservoir tank is set -2.0 mm below the top of the support rack (where the towel sample will be placed). [0104] 2. The supply tube (8 mm I.D.) is centered with respect to the support net. [0105] 3. Test samples are cut into circles of 33/8'' SST, CRTMax) or 3'' (CRT Capacity) diameter and equilibrated at Tappi environment conditions for a minimum of 2 hours.

[0106] Test Description [0107] 1. After pressing the start button on the software application, the supply tube moves to 0.33 mm below the water height in the reserve tank. This creates a small meniscus of water above the supply tube to ensure test initiation. A valve between the tank and the supply tube closes, and the scale is zeroed. [0108] 2. The software prompts you to "load a sample". A sample is placed on the support net, centering it over the supply tube, and with the side facing the outside of the roll placed downward. [0109] 3. Close the balance windows, and press the "OK" button--the software records the dry weight of the circle. [0110] 4. The software prompts you to "place cover on sample". The plastic cover is placed on top of the sample, on top of the support net. The plastic cover has a center pin (which is flush with the outside rim) to ensure that the sample is in the proper position to establish hydraulic connection. Four other pins, 1 mm shorter in depth, are positioned 1.25-1.5 inches radially away from the center pin to ensure the sample is flat during the test. The sample cover rim should not contact the sheet. Close the top balance window and click "OK". [0111] 5. The software re-zeroes the scale and then moves the supply tube towards the sample. When the supply tube reaches its destination, which is 0.33 mm below the support net, the valve opens (i.e., the valve between the reserve tank and the supply tube), and hydraulic connection is established between the supply tube and the sample. Data acquisition occurs at a rate of 5 Hz, and is started about 0.4 seconds before water contacts the sample. [0112] 6. The test runs for at least 20 seconds. For CRTMax test is stopped when rate of increase of water absorbed falls below 0.005 g/s otherwise test stops at 300 seconds. For CRT Capacity the test is stopped when rate of increase of water absorbed falls below 0.0015 g/s otherwise test stops at 300 secs. After this, the supply tube pulls away from the sample to break the hydraulic connection. [0113] 7. The wet sample is removed from the support net. Residual water on the support net and cover are dried with a paper towel. [0114] 8. Repeat until all samples are tested. [0115] 9. After each test is run, a *.txt file is created (typically stored in the CRT/data/rate directory) with a file name as typed at the start of the test. The file contains all the test set-up parameters, dry sample weight, and cumulative water absorbed (g) vs. time (sec) data collected from the test.

[0116] Calculating CRT Capacity g/sq inch

Capacity(g/sq in)=0.14147.times.Final Weight(g water absorbed)

[0117] Where 0.14147 is the inverse of the area of the 3 inch circle and this multiplier converts values to a per square inch basis

[0118] Calculation of Rate of Uptake

[0119] Take the raw data file that includes time and weight data.

[0120] First, create a new time column that subtracts 0.4 seconds from the raw time data to adjust the raw time data to correspond to when initiation actually occurs (about 0.4 seconds after data collection begins).

[0121] Second, create a column of data that converts the adjusted time data to square root of time data (e.g., using a formula such as SQRT( ) within Excel).

[0122] Third, calculate the slope of the weight data vs the square root of time data (e.g., using the SLOPE( ) function within Excel, using the weight data as the y-data and the sqrt(time) data as the x-data, etc.). The slope should be calculated for the data points from 2 to 15 seconds, inclusive (or 1.41 to 3.87 in the sqrt(time) data column)

[0123] Calculation of Slope of the Square Root of Time (SST 2-15)

[0124] The start time of water contact with the sample is estimated to be 0.4 seconds after the start of hydraulic connection is established between the supply tube and the sample (CRT Time). This is because data acquisition begins while the tube is still moving towards the sample, and incorporates the small delay in scale response. Thus, "time zero" is actually at 0.4 seconds in CRT Time as recorded in the *.txt file.

[0125] The slope of the square root of time (SST) from 2-15 seconds is calculated from the slope of a linear regression line from the square root of time between (and including) 2 to 15 seconds (x-axis) versus the cumulative grams of water absorbed. The units are g/sec.sup.0.5.

[0126] Reporting Results

[0127] Report the average slope to the nearest 0.01 g/s.sup.0.5.

[0128] Calculation of Time Integrated Rate with 0.005 g/s threshold (CRTMax TIR 0.005)

[0129] CRTMax TIR.0.005, aka "time integrated rate using a 0.005 g/sec threshold", is calculated by integrating the area under the rate (g/sec, y-axis) vs. time (sec, x-axis) curve, starting at "CRT time"=0.4, until the "Time Average Rate" is 0.005 g/sec or less (referencing "Time Average Rate" beginning at CRT Time=1.4 sec).

CRT Max TIR.0.005=.SIGMA.[(CA(i)-CA(i-1))*IR(i)]+[(CA(i)-CA(i-1))*(IR(i-- 1)-IR(i))*0.5)]

[0130] Where:

[0131] i=CRT Time increment, starting at 0.4 sec, until the "CRT Time" when Time Average Rate (at 1.4 seconds and after), is equal to or below 0.005 g/sec.

[0132] CA=cumulative water absorbed (g)

[0133] IR=instantaneous rate (g/sec)

[0134] Elongation/Tensile Strength/TEA/Tangent Modulus Test Method

[0135] Elongation (Stretch), Tensile Strength, TEA and Tangent Modulus are measured on a constant rate of extension tensile tester with computer interface (a suitable instrument is the EJA Vantage from the Thwing-Albert Instrument Co. Wet Berlin, N.J.) using a load cell for which the forces measured are within 10% to 90% of the limit of the load cell. Both the movable (upper) and stationary (lower) pneumatic jaws are fitted with smooth stainless steel faced grips, with a design suitable for testing 1 inch wide sheet material (Thwing-Albert item #733GC). An air pressure of about 60 psi is supplied to the jaws.

[0136] Eight usable units of fibrous structures are divided into two stacks of four usable units each. The usable units in each stack are consistently oriented with respect to machine direction (MD) and cross direction (CD). One of the stacks is designated for testing in the MD and the other for CD. Using a one inch precision cutter (Thwing-Albert JDC-1-10, or similar) take a CD stack and cut one, 1.00 in .+-.0.01 in wide by 3-4 in long stack of strips (long dimension in CD). In like fashion cut the remaining stack in the MD (strip's long dimension in MD), to give a total of 8 specimens, four CD and four MD strips. Each strip to be tested is one usable unit thick, and will be treated as a unitary specimen for testing.

[0137] Program the tensile tester to perform an extension test, collecting force and extension data at an acquisition rate of 20 Hz as the crosshead raises at a rate of 2.00 in/min (5.08 cm/min) until the specimen breaks. The break sensitivity is set to 80%, i.e., the test is terminated when the measured force drops to 20% of the maximum peak force, after which the crosshead is returned to its original position.

[0138] Set the gage length to 1.00 inch. Zero the crosshead and load cell. Insert the specimen into the upper and lower open grips such that at least 0.5 inches of specimen length is contained in each grip. Align specimen vertically within the upper and lower jaws, then close the upper grip. Verify specimen is aligned, then close lower grip. The specimen should be fairly straight between grips, with no more than 5.0 g of force on the load cell. Add a pre-tension force of 3 g. This tension is applied to the specimen to define the adjusted gauge length, and, by definition is the zero strain point. Start the tensile tester and data collection. Repeat testing in like fashion for all four CD and four MD specimens. Program the software to calculate the following from the constructed force (g) versus extension (in) curve.

[0139] Eight samples are run on the Tensile Tester (four to the MD and four to the CD) and average of the respective dry total tensile, dry Fail TEA and dry Fail Stretch is reported as the Dry Total Tensile, Dry Fail TEA and Dry Fail Stretch. Fail TEA is defined as tensile energy absorbed (area under the load vs. strain tensile curve) from zero strain to fail force point, with units of g/in. Dry Fail Stretch is defined as the percentage strain measured after the web is strained past its peak load point, where the force drops to exactly 50% of its peak load force.

[0140] The dry Fail TEA is then divided by the basis weight of the strip from which it was tested to arrive at the TEA of the present invention, and is calculated as follows:

[0141] TEA=Fail TEA/Basis Weight of Strip (g/m.sup.2)

[0142] The MD and CD dry tensile strengths are determined using the above equipment and calculations in the following manner.

[0143] Tensile Strength in general is the maximum peak force (g) divided by the specimen width (1 in), and reported as Win to the nearest 1 Win.

Average Tensile Strength=sum of tensile loads measures(MD)/(Number of tensile stripes tested(MD)*Number of useable units or plys per tensile stripe)

[0144] This calculation is repeated for cross direction testing.

Dry Total Tensile=Average MD tensile strength+Average CD tensile strength

[0145] The Dry Tensile value is then normalized for the basis weight of the strip from which it was tested. The normalized basis weight used is 24 g/m.sup.2, and is calculated as follows:

Normalized {DTT}={DTT}*24 (g/m.sup.2)/Basis Weight of Strip (g/m.sup.2)

[0146] The various values are calculated for the four CD specimens and the four MD specimens. Calculate an average for each parameter separately for the CD and MD specimens.

[0147] In the interests of brevity and conciseness, any ranges of values set forth in this specification are to be construed as written description support for claims reciting any sub-ranges having endpoints which are whole number values within the specified range in question. By way of a hypothetical illustrative example, a disclosure in this specification of a range of 1-5 shall be considered to support claims to any of the following sub-ranges: 1-4; 1-3; 1-2; 2-5; 2-4; 2-3; 3-5; 3-4; and 4-5.

[0148] 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."

[0149] 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.

[0150] 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.

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