(19)
(11)EP 2 971 321 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
29.08.2018 Bulletin 2018/35

(21)Application number: 14765782.9

(22)Date of filing:  14.03.2014
(51)Int. Cl.: 
D04H 13/00  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2014/028836
(87)International publication number:
WO 2014/144427 (18.09.2014 Gazette  2014/38)

(54)

METHOD OF FORMING A WEB FROM FIBROUS MATERIALS

VERFAHREN ZUR HERSTELLUNG EINES NETZES AUS FASERMATERIALIEN

PROCÉDÉ DE FORMATION D'UN FILM À PARTIR DE MATÉRIAUX FIBREUX


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 15.03.2013 US 201313839350

(43)Date of publication of application:
20.01.2016 Bulletin 2016/03

(73)Proprietor: Owens Corning Intellectual Capital, LLC
Toledo, OH 43659 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • HALEY, Glenn
    Granville, OH 43023 (US)
  • GAUL, David, J.
    Granville, OH 43023 (US)
  • PELLEGRIN, Michael, T.
    Newark, OH 43055 (US)

(74)Representative: D Young & Co LLP 
120 Holborn
London EC1N 2DY
London EC1N 2DY (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A2- 1 669 485
WO-A1-96/09427
US-A- 4 300 931
US-A1- 2003 208 891
US-A1- 2013 084 445
WO-A1-96/09427
WO-A2-2013/049835
US-A- 6 113 818
US-A1- 2005 233 107
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND



    [0001] Fibrous material can be formed into various products including webs, packs, batts and blankets. Packs of fibrous material can be used in many applications, including the non-limiting examples of insulation and sound-proofing for buildings and building components, appliances and aircraft. Packs of fibrous material are typically formed by processes that include fiberizers, forming hoods, ovens, trimming and packaging machines. Typical processes also include the use of wet binders, binder reclaim water and washwater systems.
    WO 2013/049835 A2 discloses fibrous material webs and methods of making the fibrous material webs. Binderless webs can be formed in a continuous process where fiber material, such as glass, is melted and formed into fibers. The fibers are formed into a web of binderless glass fibers or a web with a dry binder. The binderless web or the web with dry binder can be layered and/or the fibers that make up the web can be mechanically entangled, for example, by needling. WO 2013/049835 A2 is citable as prior art under Article 54(3) EPC.
    EP 1 669 485 A2 discloses a glass wool molded product comprising a layered body of glass wools. The layered body does not contain any binder, is needle punched in a direction (Y) orthogonal to a longitudinal direction (X) of the wools thereof, and is integrally formed. The wools have an average diameter of 3 to 7 µm, and each of the wools has a length between 10 and 200 mm. US 2003/208891 A1 discloses insulative fabrics including a plurality of web layers. Each of the web layers comprises monostaple fibers having a length between about 0.5 and 2 inches. The plurality of web layers is positioned in overlying relationship and interconnected to each other (often through needle punching). WO 96/09427 A1 provides an irregularly shaped glass fiber and the processing of wool packs having such irregularly shaped fibers directly through needling to form a nonwoven material without intervening steps such as carding or blending of fibers which accompany conventional glass fiber processing operations. Also described is a nonwoven material including irregularly shaped fibers in a generally continuous wool tow, which is produced by "unwinding" a fiberglass wool pack collected by a direct forming method.

    SUMMARY



    [0002] The present application discloses multiple exemplary embodiments of fibrous material webs and methods of making the fibrous material webs. Binderless webs or webs with dry binder can be formed in a continuous process where fiber material, such as glass is melted and formed into fibers. The fibers are formed into a web of binderless glass fibers or a web with a dry binder. The binderless web or the web with dry binder can be layered and/or the fibers that make up the web can be mechanically entangled, for example, by needling.

    [0003] Other advantages of the webs, batts, and methods of producing the webs and batts will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description, when read in view of the accompanying drawings.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0004] 

    Figure 1A is a flowchart of an exemplary embodiment of method for forming a binderless layered web or pack of glass fibers;

    Figure 1B is a flowchart of an exemplary embodiment of a method for forming a binderless entangled web of glass fibers;

    Figure 1C is a flowchart of an exemplary embodiment of a method for forming a binderless layered and entangled web or pack of glass fibers;

    Figure 2A is a flowchart of an exemplary embodiment of method for forming a layered web or pack of glass fibers with dry binder;

    Figure 2B is a flowchart of an exemplary embodiment of a method for forming a binderless entangled web of glass fibers with dry binder;

    Figure 2C is a flowchart of an exemplary embodiment of a method for forming a binderless layered and entangled web or pack of glass fibers with dry binder;

    Figure 2D is a flowchart of an exemplary embodiment of a method for forming a binderless layered and entangled web or pack of glass fibers with dry binder;

    Figure 3A is a schematic illustration of an exemplary apparatus for forming a binderless layered web or pack of glass fibers;

    Figure 3B is a schematic illustration of an exemplary apparatus for forming a binderless entangled web of glass fibers;

    Figure 3C is a schematic illustration of an exemplary apparatus for forming a binderless layered and entangled web or pack of glass fibers;

    Figure 3D is a schematic illustration of an exemplary apparatus for forming a binderless layered and entangled web or pack of glass fibers;

    Figure 3E is a schematic illustration of an exemplary accumulating arrangement;

    Figure 3F is a schematic illustration of an exemplary diverting arrangement;

    Figure 4 is a schematic illustration of a forming apparatus for forming a web of glass fibers;

    Figure 5 is a schematic illustration of an exemplary apparatus for forming a web or pack of glass fibers with a dry binder;

    Figure 5A is a schematic illustration of an exemplary apparatus for forming a web or pack of glass fibers with a dry binder;

    Figure 58 is a schematic illustration of an exemplary apparatus for forming a web or pack of glass fibers with a dry binder;

    Figure 6 is a schematic representation, in elevation of a process for forming a pack of fibrous materials;

    Figure 7 is a schematic representation, in plan view, of a process for forming a pack from fibrous materials

    Figures 8 is a schematic illustration of an exemplary apparatus for forming a web or pack of glass fibers with a dry binder;

    Figure 9A is a sectional illustration taken along lines 9A-9A in Figure 8;

    Figure 9B is a sectional illustration taken along lines 9A-9A in Figure 8;

    Figure 10A is a schematic illustration of an exemplary embodiment of an insulation product;

    Figure 10B is a schematic illustration of an exemplary embodiment of an insulation product;

    Figure 10C is a schematic illustration of an exemplary embodiment of an insulation product;

    Figure 10D is a schematic illustration of an exemplary embodiment of an insulation product;

    Figure 10E is a schematic illustration of an exemplary embodiment of an insulation product;

    Figure 10F is a schematic illustration of an exemplary embodiment of an insulation product;

    Figure 10G is a schematic illustration of an exemplary embodiment of an insulation batt or pack;

    Figure 10H is a schematic illustration of an exemplary embodiment of an insulation batt or pack;

    Figure 10I is a schematic illustration of an exemplary embodiment of an insulation batt or pack;

    Figure 11 is a schematic illustration of an arrangement for producing staple fibers;

    Figure 12 is a perspective view of a cooking range;

    Figure 12A is a perspective view of a cooking range;

    Figure 13 is a front sectional view illustrating an exemplary embodiment of fiberglass insulation in a range;

    Figure 13A is a front sectional view illustrating an exemplary embodiment of fiberglass insulation in a range;

    Figure 14 is a side sectional view illustrating an exemplary embodiment of fiberglass insulation in a range;

    Figure 14A is a side sectional view illustrating an exemplary embodiment of fiberglass insulation in a range;

    Figures 15A-15C illustrate an exemplary embodiment of a method of making a compression molded fiberglass product from a binderless or dry binder fiberglass batt; and

    Figures 16A-16C illustrate an exemplary embodiment of a method of making a vacuum molded fiberglass product from a binderless or dry binder fiberglass batt.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



    [0005] The present invention will now be described with occasional reference to the specific exemplary embodiments of the invention. This invention may, however, be embodied in different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein. Rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art.

    [0006] Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. The terminology used in the description of the invention herein is for describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting of the invention. As used in the description of the invention and the appended claims, the singular forms "a," "an," and "the" are intended to include the plural forms as well, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

    [0007] Unless otherwise indicated, all numbers expressing quantities of dimensions such as length, width, height, and so forth as used in the specification and claims are to be understood as being modified in all instances by the term "about." Accordingly, unless otherwise indicated, the numerical properties set forth in the specification and claims are approximations that may vary depending on the desired properties sought to be obtained in embodiments of the present invention. Notwithstanding that the numerical ranges and parameters setting forth the broad scope of the invention are approximations, the numerical values set forth in the specific examples are reported as precisely as possible. Any numerical values, however, inherently contain certain errors necessarily resulting from error found in their respective measurements.

    [0008] The description and figures disclose an improved method of forming a pack from fibrous materials. Generally, the improved continuous methods replace the traditional methods of applying a wet binder to fiberized materials with new methods of making a batt or pack of fibers without any binder (i.e. material that binds fibers together) and/or new methods of making a batt or pack of fibers with dry binders.

    [0009] The term "fibrous materials", as used herein, is defined to mean any material formed from drawing or attenuating molten materials. The term "pack", as used herein, is defined to mean any product formed by fibrous materials that are joined together by an adhesive and/or by mechanical entanglement.

    [0010] Figures 1A and 3A illustrate a first exemplary embodiment of a continuous process or method 100 of forming a pack 300 (see Figure 3A) from fibrous materials. The dashed line 101 around the steps of the method 100 indicates that the method is a continuous method, as will be described in more detail below. The methods and packs will be described in terms of glass fibers, but the methods and packs are applicable as well to the manufacture of fibrous products formed from other mineral materials, such as the non-limiting examples of rock, slag and basalt.

    [0011] Referring to Figure 1A, glass is melted 102. For example, Figure 3A schematically illustrates a melter 314. The melter 314 may supply molten glass 312 to a forehearth 316. Melters and forehearths are known in the art and will not be described herein. The molten glass 312 can be formed from various raw materials combined in such proportions as to give the desired chemical composition.

    [0012] Referring back to Figure 1A, the molten glass 312 is processed to form 104 glass fibers 322. The molten glass 312 can be processed in a variety of different ways to form the fibers 322. For example, in the example illustrated by Figure 3A, the molten glass 312 flows from the forehearth 316 to one or more rotary fiberizers 318. The rotary fiberizers 18 receive the molten glass 312 and subsequently form veils 320 of glass fibers 322. As will be discussed in more detail below, the glass fibers 322 formed by the rotary fiberizers 318 are long and thin. Accordingly, any desired fiberizer, rotary or otherwise, sufficient to form long and thin glass fibers 322 can be used. While the embodiment illustrated in Figure 3A shows one rotary fiberizer 318, it should be appreciated that any desired number of rotary fiberizers 318 can be used. In another exemplary embodiment, the fibers 322 are formed by flame attenuation.

    [0013] The long and thin fibers may take a wide variety of different forms. In an exemplary embodiment, the long and thin fibers have a length in a range of from about 0.64 cm to 25.4 cm (about 0.25 inches to about 10.0 inches) and a diameter dimension in a range of from about 2.3 micrometers to 8.9 micrometers (about 9 HT to about 35 HT, where HT stands for hundred thousandths of an inch). In an exemplary embodiment, the fibers 322 have a length in a range of from about 2.54 cm to about 12.7 cm (about 1.0 inch to about 5.0 inches) and a diameter dimension in a range of from about 3.5 micrometers to about 6.3 micrometers (about 14 HT to about 25 HT). In an exemplary embodiment, the fibers 322 have a length of about 7.62 cm (about 3 inches) and an average diameter of about 4.1-4.3 micrometers (about 16-17 HT). While not being bound by the theory, it is believed the use of the relatively long and thin fibers advantageously provides a pack having better thermal and acoustic insulative performance, as well as better strength properties, such as higher tensile strength and/or higher bond strength, than a similar sized pack having shorter and thicker fibers.

    [0014] In exemplary embodiments where the fibers are glass fibers, the term binderless means that the fibrous material, web, and/or pack comprises 99% or 100% glass only or 99% or 100% glass plus inert content. Inert content is any material that does not bind the glass fibers together. For example, in exemplary binderless embodiments described herein, the glass fibers 322 can optionally be coated or partially coated with a lubricant after the glass fibers are formed. For example, the glass fibers 322 can be coated with any lubricating material that does not bind the glass fibers together. In an exemplary embodiment, the lubricant can be a silicone compound, such as siloxane, dimethyl siloxane and/or silane. The lubricant can also be other materials or combinations of materials, such as, oil or an oil emulsion. The oil or oil emulsion may be a mineral oil or mineral oil emulsion and/or a vegetable oil or vegetable oil emulsion.

    [0015] The glass fibers can be coated or partially coated with a lubricant in a wide variety of different ways. For example, the lubricant can be sprayed onto the glass fibers 322. In an exemplary embodiment, the lubricant is configured to prevent damage to the glass fibers 322 as the glass fibers 322 move through the manufacturing process and come into contact with various apparatus as well as other glass fibers. The lubricant can also be useful to reduce dust in the manufacturing process. The application of the optional lubricant can be precisely controlled by any desired structure, mechanism or device.

    [0016] Referring to Figure 1A, a web 321 of fibers without a binder or other material that binds the fibers together is faulted 106. The web 321 can be formed in a wide variety of different ways. In the example illustrated by Figure 3A, the glass fibers 322 are gathered by an optional gathering member 324. The gathering member 324 is shaped and sized to receive the glass fibers 322. The gathering member 324 is configured to divert the glass fibers 322 to a duct 330 for transfer to downstream processing stations, such as for example forming apparatus 332, which forms the web 321. In other embodiments, the glass fibers 322 can be gathered on a conveying mechanism (not shown) to form the web.

    [0017] The forming apparatus 332 can be configured to form a continuous dry web 321 of fibrous material having a desired thickness. In one exemplary embodiment, the dry webs 321 disclosed in this application can have a thickness in the range of about 0.64 cm to about 10.16 cm (about 0.25 inches to about 4 inches) thick and a density in the range of about 3.20 kg/m3 to about 9.61 kg/m3 (about 0.2 lb/ft3 to about 0.6 lb/ft3). In one exemplary embodiment, the dry webs 321 disclosed in this application can have a thickness in the range of about 2.54 cm to about 7.62 cm (about 1 inch to about 3 inches) thick and a density in the range of about 4.81 kg/m3 to 8.01 kg/m3 (about 0.3 lb/ft3 to about 0.5 lb/ft3). In one exemplary embodiment, the dry webs 321 disclosed in this application can have a thickness of about 3.81 cm (about 1.5 inches) and a density of about 6.41 kg/m3 (about 0.4 lb/ft3). The forming apparatus 332 can take a wide variety of different forms. Any arrangement for forming a dry web 321 of glass fibers can be used.

    [0018] In one exemplary embodiment, the forming apparatus 332 includes a rotating drum with forming surfaces and areas of higher or lower pressure. Referring to Figure 4, the pressure P1 on a side 460 of the forming surface 462 where the fibers 322 are collected is higher than the pressure P2 on the opposite side 464. This pressure drop ΔP causes the fibers 322 to collect on the forming surface 462 to form the dry web 321. In one exemplary embodiment, the pressure drop ΔP across the forming surface 462 is controlled to be a low pressure and produce a low area weight web. For example, the pressure drop ΔP can be from about 1.27 cm (about 0.5 inches) of water and 76.2 cm (30 inches) of water. A velocity V of the air traveling through the web being formed that results in this low pressure drop ΔP may be up to 5.08 metres per second (1,000 feet per minute).

    [0019] A low area weight web 321 having an area weight of about 53.82 to about 538.2 grams per square metre (about 5 to about 50 grams per square foot). The low area weight web may have the density and thickness ranges mentioned above. The low area weight web may have a thickness in the range of about 0.64 cm to about 10.16 cm (about 0.25 inches to about 4 inches) thick, about 2.54 cm to about 7.62 cm (about 1 inch to about 3 inches) thick, or about 3.81 cm (about 1.5 inches). The low area weight web may have a density in the range of about 3.2 kg/m3 to about 9.61 kg/m3 (about 0.2 lb/ft3 to about 0.6 lb/ft3), about 4.81 kg/m3 to about 8.01 kg/m3 (about 0.3 lb/ft3 to about 0.5 lb/ft3) or about 6.41 kg/m3 (about 0.4 lb/ft3). Referring to Figure 3A, the dry web 321 leaves the forming apparatus 332. In one exemplary embodiment, the low area weight web 321 has a measured area weight distribution Coefficient of Variation = Sigma (One Standard Deviation)/Mean (Average) x 100% = of between 0 and 40%. In exemplary embodiments, the weight distribution Coefficient of Variation is less than 30%. Less than 20% or less than 10%. In one exemplary embodiment, the weight distribution Coefficient of Variation is between 25% and 30%, such as about 28%. In one exemplary embodiment, the weight distribution Coefficient of Variation is about 28%. The weight distribution Coefficient of Variation is obtained by measuring multiple small sample area sizes, for example, 5.08 cm x 5.08cm (2" x 2"), of a large sample, for example a 1.83m by 3.05m (6ft by 10 ft) sample with a light table.

    [0020] In the example illustrated by Figure 1A, the web 321 or multiple webs are layered 108. For example, a single web 321 may be lapped in the machine direction or cross-lapped at ninety degrees to the machine direction to form a layered web 350. In another embodiment, the web may be cut into portions and the portions are stacked on top of one another to form the layered web. In yet another exemplary embodiment, one or more duplicate fiberizers 318 and forming apparatus 332 can be implemented such that two or more webs are continuously produced in parallel. The parallel webs are then stacked on top of each other to form the layered web.

    [0021] In one exemplary embodiment, the layering mechanism 332 is a lapping mechanism or a cross-lapping mechanism that functions in association with a conveyor 336. The conveyor 336 is configured to move in a machine direction as indicated by the arrow D1. The lapping or cross-lapping mechanism is configured to receive the continuous web 321 and deposit alternating layers of the continuous web on the first conveyer 336 as the first conveyor moves in machine direction D1. In the deposition process, a lapping mechanism 334 would form the alternating layers in a machine direction as indicated by the arrows D1 or the cross-lapping mechanism 334 would form the alternating layers in a cross-machine direction. Additional webs 321 may be formed and lapped or cross-lapped by additional lapping or cross-lapping mechanisms to increase the number of layers and throughput capacity.

    [0022] In one exemplary embodiment, a cross-lapping mechanism is configured to precisely control the movement of the continuous web 321 and deposit the continuous web on the conveyor 336 such that the continuous web is not damaged. The cross-lapping mechanism can include any desired structure and can be configured to operate in any desired manner. In one exemplary embodiment, the cross-lapping mechanism includes a head (not shown) configured to move back and forth at 90 degrees to the machine direction D1. In this embodiment, the speed of the moving head is coordinated such that the movement of the head in both cross-machine directions is substantially the same, thereby providing uniformity of the resulting layers of the fibrous body. In an exemplary embodiment, the cross-lapping mechanism comprises vertical conveyors (not shown) configured to be centered with a centerline of the conveyor 336. The vertical conveyors are further configured to swing from a pivot mechanism above the conveyor 336 such as to deposit the continuous web on the conveyor 336. While multiple examples of cross lapping mechanisms have been described above, it should be appreciated that the cross-lapping mechanism can be other structures, mechanisms or devices or combinations thereof.

    [0023] The layered web 350 can have any desired thickness. The thickness of the layered web is a function of several variables. First, the thickness of the layered web 350 is a function of the thickness of the continuous web 321 formed by the forming apparatus 332. Second, the thickness of the layered web 350 is a function of the speed at which the layering mechanism 334 deposits layers of the continuous web 321 on the conveyer 336. Third, the thickness of the layered web 334 is a function of the speed of the conveyor 336. In the illustrated embodiment, the layered web 350 has a thickness in a range of from about 0.25 cm to about 50.8 cm (about 0.1 inches to about 20.0 inches). In an exemplary embodiment, a cross lapping mechanism 334 may form a layered web 350 having from 1 layer to 60 layers. Optionally, a cross-lapping mechanisms can be adjustable, thereby allowing the cross-lapping mechanisms 334 to form a pack having any desired width. In certain embodiments, the pack can have a general width in a range of from about 2.48 m to about 5.99 m (about 98.0 inches to about 236.0 inches).

    [0024] In one exemplary embodiment, the layered web 350 is produced in a continuous process indicated by dashed box 101 in Figure 1A. The fibers produced by the fiberizer 318 are sent directly to the forming apparatus 332 (i.e. the fibers are not collected and packed and then unpacked for use at a remote forming apparatus). The web 321 is provided directly to the layering device 352 (i.e. the web is not formed and rolled up and then unrolled for use at a remote layering device 352). In an exemplary embodiment of the continuous process, each of the processes (forming and layering in Figure 1A) are connected to the fiberizing process, such that fibers from the fiberizer are used by the other processes without being stored for later use. In another exemplary embodiment of the continuous process, the fiberizer or fiberizers 318 may have more throughput than is needed by the forming apparatus 332 and the layering device 352. As such, the fibers need not be continuously supplied by the fiberizer 318 to the forming apparatus 332 for the process to be continuous. For example, the fiberizer 318 can produce batches of fibers that are accumulated and provided to the forming apparatus 332 in the same factory in the continuous process, but the fibers are not compressed, shipped, and reopened in the continuous process. As another example of continuous process, the fibers produced by the fiberizer 318 can alternately be diverted to the forming apparatus 332 and to another forming apparatus or for some other use or product. In another example of continuous process, a portion of the fibers produced by the fiberizer 318 are continuously directed to the forming apparatus 332 and a remainder of the fibers are directed to another forming apparatus or for some other use or product.

    [0025] Figure 3E illustrates that the fibers 322 can be collected by an accumulator 390 in any of the examples illustrated by Figures 3A-3D. Arrow 392 indicates that the fibers 322 are provided by the accumulator 390 in a controlled manner to the forming apparatus 332. The fibers 322 may dwell in the accumulator 390 for a predetermined period of time before being provided to the forming apparatus 332 to allow the fibers to cool. In one exemplary embodiment, the fibers 322 are provided by the accumulator 390 to the forming apparatus 332 at the same rate the fibers 322 are provided to the accumulator 390. As such, in this exemplary embodiment, the time that the fibers dwell and cool in the accumulator is determined by the amount of fibers 322 in the accumulator. In this example, the dwell time is the amount of fibers in the accumulator divided by the rate at which the fibers are provided by the accumulator to the forming apparatus 332. In another exemplary embodiment, the accumulator 390 can selectively start and stop dispensing the fibers and/or adjust the rate at which the fibers are dispensed.

    [0026] Figure 3F illustrates that fibers 322 can be selectively diverted between the forming station 332 and a second forming station 332' by a diverting mechanism 398 in any of the examples illustrated by Figures 3A-3D. In one exemplary embodiment, the embodiments illustrated by Figures 3A-3D may have both the accumulator 390 and the diverting mechanism 398.

    [0027] In one exemplary embodiment, the web 321 is relatively thick and has a low area weight, yet the continuous process has a high throughput and all of the fibers produced by the fiberizer are used to make the web. For example, a single layer of the web 321 may have an area weight of about 53.82 to about 538.2 grams per square metre (about 5 to about 50 grams per square foot). The low area weight web may have the density and thickness ranges mentioned above. The high output continuous process may produce between about 340.2 kg/hr and 680.4 kg/hr (between about 750 lbs/hr and 1500 lbs/hr), such as at least 408.2 kg/hr (900 lbs/hr) or at least 567.0 kg/hr (1250 lbs/hr). The layered web 350 can be used in a wide variety of different applications.

    [0028] Figures 1B and 3B illustrate a second exemplary embodiment of a method 150 of forming a pack 300 (see Figure 3B) from fibrous materials without the use of a binder. The dashed line 151 around the steps of the method 150 indicates that the method is a continuous method. Referring to Figure 1B, glass is melted 102. The glass may be melted as described above with respect to Figure 3A. The molten glass 312 is processed to form 104 glass fibers 322. The molten glass 312 can be processed as described above with respect to Figure 3A to form the fibers 322. A web 321 of fibers without a binder or other material that binds the fibers together is formed 106. The web 321 can be formed as described above with respect to Figure 3A.

    [0029] Referring to Figure 1B, the fibers 322 of the web 321 are mechanically entangled 202 to form an entangled web 352 (see Figure 3B). Referring to Figure 3B, the fibers of the web 321 can be mechanically entangled by an entangling mechanism 345, such as a needling device. The entanglement mechanism 345 is configured to entangle the individual fibers 322 of the web 321. Entangling the glass fibers 322 ties the fibers of the web together. The entanglement causes mechanical properties of the web, such as for example, tensile strength and shear strength, to be improved. In the illustrated embodiment, the entanglement mechanism 345 is a needling mechanism. In other embodiments, the entanglement mechanism 345 can include other structures, mechanisms or devices or combinations thereof, including the non-limiting example of stitching mechanisms.

    [0030] The entangled web 352 can have any desired thickness. The thickness of the entangled web is a function of the thickness of the continuous web 321 formed by the forming apparatus 332 and the amount of compression of the continuous web 321 by the entanglement mechanism 345. In an exemplary embodiment, the entangled web 352 has a thickness in a range of from about 0.25 cm to about 5.08 cm (about 0.1 inches to about 2.0 inches). In an exemplary embodiment, the entangled web 352 has a thickness in a range of from about 1.27 cm to about 4.45 cm (about 0.5 inches to about 1.75 inches). For example, in one exemplary embodiment, the thickness of the entangled web is about 1.27 cm (about ½").

    [0031] In one exemplary embodiment, the entangled web 352 is produced in a continuous process 151. The fibers produced by the fiberizer 318 are sent directly to the forming apparatus 332 (i.e. the fibers are not collected and packed and then unpacked for use at a remote forming apparatus). The web 321 is provided directly to the entangling device 345 (i.e. the web is not formed and rolled up and then unrolled for use at a remote entangling device 345). The entangled web 352 can be used in a wide variety of different applications. In an exemplary embodiment of the continuous process, each of the processes (forming and entangling in Figure 1B) are connected to the fiberizing process, such that fibers from the fiberizer are used by the other processes without being stored for later use. In another exemplary embodiment of the continuous process, the fiberizer or fiberizers 318 may have more throughput than is needed by the forming apparatus 332 and/or the entangling device 345. As such, the fibers need not be continuously supplied by the fiberizer 318 to the forming apparatus 332 for the process to be continuous. For example, the fiberizer 318 can produce batches of fibers that are accumulated and provided to the forming apparatus 332 in the same factory in the continuous process, but the fibers are not compressed, shipped, and reopened in the continuous process. As another example of continuous process, the fibers produced by the fiberizer 318 can alternately be diverted to the forming apparatus 332 and to another forming apparatus or for some other use or product. In another example of continuous process, a portion of the fibers produced by the fiberizer 318 are continuously directed to the forming apparatus 332 and a remainder of the fibers are directed to another forming apparatus or for some other use or product.

    [0032] Figure 3D illustrates an exemplary embodiment of an apparatus that is similar to the embodiment illustrated by Figure 3B for forming a single layer high density pack 300. For example, the embodiment illustrated by Figure 3D can produce packs 300 that are more dense than the densest pack produced by the embodiment illustrated by Figure 3B. The apparatus of Figure 3D corresponds to the embodiment of Figure 3B, except a compressing mechanism 375 is provided between the forming station 332 and the entangling mechanism 345 and/or the entangling mechanism 345 includes a compressing mechanism. The compressing mechanism 375 compresses the web 321 as indicated by arrows 377 before the web is provided to the entangling mechanism 345 and/or the web 321 is compressed at the inlet of the compressing mechanism. The entangled web 352 that is formed has a high density. The compressing mechanism can take a wide variety of different forms. Examples of compressing mechanisms 345 include, but are not limited to, rollers, belts, rotary tackers, additional needling mechanisms, perforated belt(s) with negative pressure applied to the side of the belt that is opposite the entangled web 352 (see the similar example illustrated by FIG. 4), any mechanism that includes any combination of the listed compression mechanisms, any mechanism that includes any combination of any of the features of the listed compression mechanisms, and the like. Any arrangement for compressing the web can be used. When the entangling mechanism 345 includes a compressing mechanism, the compressing mechanism 375 can be omitted in the single layer high density pack 300 embodiment illustrated by Figure 3D. The compressing performed by the compressing mechanism 375 and/or the entangling mechanism 345 can be any combination of compressing and/or needling, which compresses the pack in addition to entangling the fibers. Examples of compressing and needling sequences for producing a high density pack include, but are not limited to, compressing with rollers and then needling, needling twice, compressing with rollers and then needling twice, needling three times, pre-needling - needling from the top -needling from the bottom, pre-needling - needling from the bottom - needling from the top, compressing with rollers -needling from the top - needling from the bottom, and compressing with rollers -needling from the bottom - needling from the top.

    [0033] The high density entangled web 352 of Figure 3D can have any desired thickness. The thickness of the entangled web is a function of the thickness of the continuous web 321 fanned by the forming apparatus 332 and the amount of compression of the continuous web 321 by the compressing mechanism 375 and the entanglement mechanism 345. In an exemplary embodiment, the high density entangled web 352 of Figure 3D has a thickness in a range of from about 0.25 cm to about 12.7 cm (about 0.1 inches to about 5 inches). In an exemplary embodiment, the high density entangled web 352 has a thickness in a range of from about 0.64 cm to about 7.62 cm (about 0.250 inches to about 3.0 inches). In an exemplary embodiment, the high density entangled web has a density in a range from 6.41 kg/m3 to about 192.22 kg/m3 (0.4 lb/ft3 to about 12 lb/ft3). In one exemplary embodiment, the high density entangled web 352 of Figure 3D is produced in a continuous process in a similar manner to that described with respect to Figure 3B.

    [0034] Figures 1C and 3C illustrate another exemplary embodiment of a method 170 of forming a pack 370 (see Figure 3C) from fibrous materials without the use of a binder. Referring to Figure 1C, glass is melted 102. The dashed line 171 around the steps of the method 170 indicates that the method is a continuous method The glass may be melted as described above with respect to Figure 3A. Referring back to Figure 1C, the molten glass 312 is processed to form 104 glass fibers 322. The molten glass 312 can be processed as described above with respect to Figure 3A to form the fibers 322. Referring to Figure 1C, a web 321 of fibers without a binder or other material that binds the fibers together is formed 106. The web 321 can be formed as described above with respect to Figure 3A. Referring to Figure 1C, the web 321 or multiple webs are layered 108. The web 321 or multiple webs can be layered as described above with respect to Figure 3A. Referring to Figure 1C, the fibers 322 of the layered webs 350 are mechanically entangled 302 to form an entangled pack 370 of layered webs.

    [0035] Referring to Figure 3C, the fibers of the layered webs 350 can be mechanically entangled by an entangling mechanism 345, such as a needling device. The entanglement mechanism 345 is configured to entangle the individual fibers 322 forming the layers of the layered web. Entangling the glass fibers 322 ties the fibers of the layered webs 350 together to form the pack. The mechanical entanglement causes mechanical properties, such as for example, tensile strength and shear strength, to be improved. In the illustrated embodiment, the entanglement mechanism 345 is a needling mechanism. In other embodiments, the entanglement mechanism 345 can include other structures, mechanisms or devices or combinations thereof, including the non-limiting example of stitching mechanisms.

    [0036] The entangled pack 370 of layered webs 350 can have any desired thickness. The thickness of the entangled pack is a function of several variables. First, the thickness of the entangled pack is a function of the thickness of the continuous web 321 formed by the forming apparatus 332. Second, the thickness of the entangled pack 370 is a function of the speed at which the lapping or cross-lapping mechanism 334 deposits layers of the continuous web 321 on the conveyer 336. Third, the thickness of the entangled pack 370 is a function of the speed of the conveyor 336. Fourth, the thickness of the entangled pack 370 is a function of the amount of compression of the layered webs 350 by the entanglement mechanism 345. The entangled pack 370 can have a thickness in a range of from about 0.25 cm to about 50.8 cm (about 0.1 inches to about 20.0 inches). In an exemplary embodiment, the entangled pack 370 may having from 1 layer to 60 layers. Each entangled web layer 352 may be from 0.25 to 5.08 cm (0.1 to 2 inches) thick. For example, each entangled web layer may be about 1.27 cm (about 0.5 inches) thick.

    [0037] In one exemplary embodiment, the entangled pack 370 is produced in a continuous process. The fibers produced by the fiberizer 318 are sent directly to the forming apparatus 332 (i.e. the fibers are not collected and packed and then unpacked for use at a remote forming apparatus). The web 321 is provided directly to the layering device 352 (i.e. the web is not formed and rolled up and then unrolled for use at a remote layering device 352). The layered web 350 is provided directly to the entangling device 345 (i.e. the layered web is not formed and rolled up and then unrolled for use at a remote entangling device 345). In an exemplary embodiment of the continuous process, each of the processes (forming, layering, and entangling in Figure 1C) are connected to the fiberizing process, such that fibers from the fiberizer are used by the other processes without being stored for later use. In another exemplary embodiment of the continuous process, the fiberizer or fiberizers 318 may have more throughput than is needed by the forming apparatus 332, the layering device 352, and/or the entangling device. As such, the fibers need not be continuously supplied by the fiberizer 318 to the forming apparatus 332 for the process to be continuous. For example, the fiberizer 318 can produce batches of fibers that are accumulated and provided to the forming apparatus 332 in the same factory in the continuous process, but the fibers are not compressed, shipped, and reopened in the continuous process. As another example of continuous process, the fibers produced by the fiberizer 318 can alternately be diverted to the forming apparatus 332 and to another forming apparatus or for some other use or product. In another example of continuous process, a portion of the fibers produced by the fiberizer 318 are continuously directed to the forming apparatus 332 and a remainder of the fibers are directed to another forming apparatus or for some other use or product.

    [0038] In one exemplary embodiment, the entangled pack 370 of layered webs is made from a web 321 or webs that is relatively thick and has a low area weight, yet the continuous process has a high throughput and all of the fibers produced by the fiberizer are used to make the entangled pack. For example, a single layer of the web 321 may have the area weights, thicknesses, and densities mentioned above. The high output continuous process may produce between about 340.19 kg/hour and 680.39 kg/hr (between about 750 lbs/hr and 1500 lbs/hr), such as at least 408.23 kg/hr (900 lbs/hr) or at least 567.0 kg/hr (1250 lbs/hr). In an exemplary embodiment, the combination of high web throughput and mechanical entanglement, such as needling, of a continuous process is facilitated by layering of the web 321, such as lapping or cross-lapping of the web. By layering the web 321, the linear speed of the material moving through the layering device is slower than the speed at which the web is formed. For example, in a continuous process, a two layer web will travel through the entangling apparatus 345 at ½ the speed at which the web is formed (3 layers -1/3 the speed, etc.). This reduction in speed allows for a continuous process where a high throughput, low area weight web 321 is formed and converted into a multiple layer, mechanically entangled pack 370. The entangled pack 370 of layered webs can be used in a wide variety of different applications.

    [0039] In an exemplary embodiment, the layering and entangling of the long, thin fibers results in a strong web 370. For example, the entanglement of the long, thin glass fibers described in this application results in a layered, entangled web with a high tensile strength and a high bond strength. Tensile strength is the strength of the web 370 when the web is pulled in the direction of the length or width of the web. Bond strength is the strength of the web when the web 370 is pulled apart in the direction of the thickness of the web.

    [0040] Tensile strength and bond strength may be tested in a wide variety of different ways. In one exemplary embodiment, a machine, such as an Instron machine, pulls the web 370 apart at a fixed speed (30.48 cm (12 inches) per second in the examples described below) and measures the amount of force required to pull the web apart. Forces required to pull the web apart, including the peak force applied to the web before the web rips or fails, are recorded.

    [0041] In one method of testing tensile strength, the tensile strength in the length direction is measured by clamping the ends of the web along the width of the web, pulling the web 370 along the length of the web with the machine at the fixed speed (30.48 cm (12 inches) per second in the examples provided below), and recording the peak force applied in the direction of the length of the web. The tensile strength in the width direction is measured by clamping the sides of the web along the width of the web, pulling the web 370 along the width of the web at the fixed speed (30.48 cm (12 inches) per second in the examples provided below), and recording the peak force applied. The tensile strength in the length direction and the tensile strength in the width direction are averaged to determine the tensile strength of the sample.

    [0042] In one method of testing bond strength, a sample of a predetermined size (15.24 cm by 15.24 cm (6" by 6") in the examples described below) is provided. Each side of the sample is bonded to a substrate, for example by gluing. The substrates on the opposite side of the sample are pulled apart with the machine at the fixed speed (30.48 cm (12 inches) per second in the examples provided below), and recording the peak force applied. The peak force applied is divided by the area of the sample (15.24 cm by 15.24 cm (6" by 6") in the examples described below) to provide the bond strength in terms of force over area.

    [0043] The following examples are provided to illustrate the increased strength of the layered, entangled web 370. In these examples, no binder is included. That is, no aqueous or dry binder is included. These examples do not limit the scope of the present invention, unless expressly recited in the claims. Examples of layered, entangled webs having 4, 6, and 8 layers are provided. However, the layered entangled web 370 may be provided with any number of layers. The layered, entangled web 370 sample length, width, thickness, number of laps, and weight may vary depending on the application for the web 370. In the dense, single layer embodiment illustrated by Figure 3D, the single layer high density pack 300 may have a weight per square metre (weight per square foot) that is higher, such as two or more times higher, than in the examples in the following six paragraphs for the same thicknesses listed.

    [0044] In one exemplary embodiment, a web 370 sample that is 15.24 cm by 30.48 cm (6 inches by 12 inches), has multiple layers, such as two laps (i.e. four layers), is between 1.27 cm (0.5 inches) thick and 5.08 cm (2.0 inches) thick, has a weight per square metre between 0.49 and 1.46 kg/sq m (a weight per square foot between 0.1 and 0.3 lbs/sq ft), has a tensile strength that is greater than 13.34 N (3 lbf), and has a tensile strength to weight ratio that is greater than 392.27 N/kg (40 lbf/lbm), such as from about 392.27 N/kg to about 1176.8 N/kg (about 40 to about 120 lbf/lbm). In an exemplary embodiment, a bond strength of this sample is greater than 0.49 kg/m2 (0.1 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 22.24 N (5 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 33.36 N (7.5 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 44.48 N (10 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 55.6 N (12.5 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 61.16 N (13.75 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is between 13.34 and 66.72 N (between 3 and 15 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 9.76 kg/m2 (2 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 24.41 kg/m2 (5 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 48.82 kg/m2 (10 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 73.24 kg/m2 (15 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 97.65 kg/m2 (20 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 22.24 N (5 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 9.76 kg/m2 (2 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 33.36 N (7.5 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 36.62 kg/m2 (7.5 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 44.48 N (10 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 48.82 kg/m2 (10 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 55.6 N (12.5 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 73.24 kg/m2 (15 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 61.16 N (13.75 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 97.65 kg/m2 (20 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is between 13.34 and 66.72 N (between 3 and 15 lbf) and the bond strength is between 1.46 and 146.47 kg/m3 (between 0.3 and 30 lbs/ sq ft).

    [0045] In one exemplary embodiment, a web 370 sample that is 15.24 cm by 30.48 cm (6 inches by 12 inches), has multiple layers, such as two laps (i.e. four layers), is between 1.27 cm (0.5 inches) thick and 4.45 cm (1.75 inches) thick, has a weight per square metre between 0.59 and 1.32 kg/m2 (a weight per square foot between 0.12 and 0.27 lbs/sq ft), has a tensile strength that is greater than 13.34 N (3 lbf), and has a tensile strength to weight ratio that is greater than 392.27 N/kg (40 lbf/lbm), such as from about 392.27 N/kg to about 1176.8 N/kg (about 40 to about 120 lbf/lbm), and a bond strength that is greater than 4.88 kg/m2 (1 lb/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 22.24 N (5 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 33.36 N (7.5 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 44.48 N (10 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 55.6 N (12.5 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 61.16 N (13.75 lbf). In one exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is between 13.34 and 66.72 N (between 3 and 15 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 9.76 kg/m2 (2 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 24.41 kg/m2 (5 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 48.82 kg/m2 (10 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 73.24 kg/m2 (15 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 97.65 kg/m2 (20 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 22.24 N (5 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 9.76 kg/m2 (2 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 33.36 N (7.5 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 36.62 kg/m2 (7.5 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 44.48 N (10 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 48.82 kg/m2 (10 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 55.6 N (12.5 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 73.24 kg/m2 (15 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 61.16 N (13.75 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 97.65 kg/m2 (20 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is between 13.34 and 66.72 N (between 3 and 15 lbf) and the bond strength is between 1.46 and 146.47 kg/m3 (between 0.3 and 30 lbs/ sq ft).

    [0046] In one exemplary embodiment, a web 370 sample that is 15.24 cm by 30.48 cm (6 inches by 12 inches), has multiple layers, such as two laps (i.e. four layers), is between 1.27 cm (0.5 inches thick) and 3.18 cm (1.25 inches) thick, has a weight per square metre between 0.98 and 1.46 kg/m2 (a weight per square foot between 0.2 and 0.3 lbs/sq ft), has a tensile strength that is greater than 44.48 N (10 lbf), and has a tensile strength to weight ratio that is greater than 735.50 N/kg (75 lbf/lbm), such as from about 735.50 to about 1176.8 N/kg (about 75 to about 120 lbf/lbm). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 55.6 N (12.5 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 61.16 N (13.75 lbf). In one exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is between 13.34 and 66.72 N (between 3 and 15 lbf). In one exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 14.65 kg/m2 (3 lb/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 48.82 kg/m2 (10 lb/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 73.24 kg/m2 (15 lb/sq ft). In one exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 44.48 N (10 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 14.65 kg/m2 (3 lb/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 55.6 N (12.5 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 48.82 kg/m2 (10 lb/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 61.16 N (13.75 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 73.24 kg/m2 (15 lb/sq ft).

    [0047] In one exemplary embodiment, a web 370 sample that is 15.24 cm by 30.48 cm (6 inches by 12 inches), has multiple layers, such as three laps (i.e. six layers), is between 2.54 cm (1.0 inches) thick and 5.72 cm (2.25 inches) thick, has a weight per square metre between 0.73 and 1.95 kg/m2 (a weight per square foot between 0.15 and 0.4 lbs/sq ft), has a tensile strength that is greater than 22.24 N (5 lbf), and has a tensile strength to weight ratio that is greater than 392.27 N/kg (40 lbf/lbm), such as from about 392.27 to about 1372.93 N/kg (about 40 to about 140 lbf/lbm). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of this sample is greater than 0.49 kg/m2 (0.1 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 33.36 N (7.5 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 44.48 N (10 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 55.60 N (12.5 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 61.16 N (13.75 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is between 22.24 and 88.96 N (between 5 and 20 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 2.44 kg/m2 (0.5 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 4.88 kg/m2 (1.0 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 7.32 kg/m2 (1.5 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 9.76 kg/m2 (2.0 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 12.21 kg/m2 (2.5 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 14.65 kg/m2 (3.0 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 33.36 N (7.5 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 1.95 kg/m2 (0.40 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 44.48 N (10 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 2.93 kg/m2 (0.6 lbs/ sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 55.60 N (12.5 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 4.39 kg/m2 (0.9 lbs/ sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is between 22.24 and 88.96 N (between 5 and 20 lbf) and the bond strength is between 0.49 and 19.53 kg/m2 (between 0.1 and 4 lbs/sq ft).

    [0048] In one exemplary embodiment, a web 370 sample that is 15.24 cm by 30.48 cm (6 inches by 12 inches), has multiple layers, such as three laps (i.e. six layers), is between 2.54 cm (1.0 inches) thick and 3.81 cm (1.50 inches) thick, and has a weight per square metre between 1.22 and 1.95 kg/m2 (a weight per square foot between 0.25 and 0.4 lbs/sq ft), has a tensile strength that is greater than 40.03 N (9 lbf), and has a tensile strength to weight ratio that is greater than 490.33 N/kg (50 lbf/lbm), such as from about 490.33 to about 1372.93 N/kg (about 50 to about 140 lbf/lbm). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 55.60 N (12.5 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 61.16 N (13.75 lbf). In one exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is between 40.03 and 66.72 N (between 9 and 15 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 2.44 kg/m2 (0.5 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 4.88 kg/m2 (1.0 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 7.32 kg/m2 (1.5 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 9.76 kg/m2 (2.0 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 12.21 kg/m2 (2.5 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 14.65 kg/m2 (3.0 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 40.03 N (9 lbf) and a bond strength that is greater than 2.44 kg/m2 (0.5 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 55.60 N (12.5 lbf) and a bond strength that is greater than 4.88 kg/m2 (1.0 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 61.16 N (13.75 lbf) and a bond strength that is greater than 9.76 kg/m2 (2 lbs/sq ft).

    [0049] In one exemplary embodiment, a web 370 sample that is 15.24 cm by 30.48 cm (6 inches by 12 inches), has multiple layers, such as four laps (i.e. eight layers), is between 2.22 cm (0.875 inches) thick and 5.08 cm (2.0 inches) thick, and has a weight per square foot between 0.73 and 19.53 kg/m2 (0.15 and 0.4 lbs/sq ft), has a tensile strength that is greater than 13.34 N (3 lbf), and has a tensile strength to weight ratio that is greater than 392.27 N/kg (40 lbf/lbm), such as from about 392.27 to about 1274.86 N/kg (about 40 to about 130 lbf/lbm). In one exemplary embodiment, the web has a bond strength that is greater than 1.46 kg/m2 (0.3 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of this sample is greater than 0.49 kg/m2 (0.1 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 33.36 N (7.5 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 44.48 N (10 lbf). In one exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is between 13.34 and 66.72 N (between 3 and 15 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 2.44 kg/m2 (0.5 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 4.88 kg/m2 (1.0 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 9.76 kg/m2 (2 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 14.65 kg/m2 (3 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 19.53 kg/m2 (4 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 24.41 kg/m2 (5 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 48.82 kg/m2 (10 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 33.36 N (7.5 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 2.44 kg/m2 (.5 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 44.48 N (10 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 4.88 kg/m2 (1.0 lbs/sq ft). In one exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is between 13.34 and 66.72 N (between 3 and 15 lbf) and the bond strength is between 1.46 and 73.24 kg/m2 (0.3 and 15 lbs/sq ft).

    [0050] In one exemplary embodiment, a web 370 sample that is 15.24 cm by 30.48 cm (6 inches by 12 inches), has multiple layers, such as four laps (i.e. eight layers), is between 2.54 cm (1.0 inches) thick and 5.08 cm (2.0 inches) thick, and has a weight per square metre between 0.49 and 1.46 kg/m2 (a weight per square foot between 0.1 and 0.3 lbs/sq ft), has a tensile strength that is greater than 40.03 N (9 lbf), and has a tensile strength to weight ratio that is greater than 686.47 N/kg (70 lbf/lbm). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 44.48 N (10 lbf). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 2.44 kg/m2 (0.5 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 4.88 kg/m2 (1.0 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 9.76 kg/m2 (2 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 14.65 kg/m2 (3 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 19.53 kg/m2 (4 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 24.41 kg/m2 (5 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the bond strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 48.82 kg/m2 (10 lbs/sq ft). In an exemplary embodiment, the tensile strength of the sample described in this paragraph is greater than 44.48 N (10 lbf) and the bond strength is greater than 24.41 kg/m2 (5 lbs/sq ft).

    [0051] In one exemplary embodiment, an entangled web made in accordance Figures 1A-1C and Figures 3A-3C have combined physical properties in the ranges set forth in following Table 1.
    Table 1
    PropertyMinMax
    Fiber Composition Conventional glass compositions, for example the glass compositions disclosed by US Published Application Pub. No. 2010/0151223; and/or US Patent Nos. 6527014; 5932499; 5523264; and/or 5055428.
    Diameter 38.1 mm (15 HT (Hundred Thousanth of an inch)) 48.26 mm (19 HT)
    LOI • LOI (loss on ignition) due to binder loss will not be present, since the entangled web is binderless. Measured LOI is related to small amounts of processing aids.
    Laps (1 Lap = 2 1 4
    Square metre weight (Square Foot Weight) 0.54 kg/m2 (0.11 lb/ft2) 1.86 kg/m2 (0.38 lb/ft2)
    Square metre weight (Square Foot Weight) 0.49 kg/m2 (0.10 lb/ft2) 0.73 kg/m2 (0.15 lb/ft2)
    Thickness (total pack) 0.95 cm (0.375 in) 3.81 cm (1.5 in)
    Thickness (single lap) 0.95 cm (0.375 in) 2.16 (0.85 in.)
    Density 14.42 kg/m3 (0.9 lb/ft3 ) 67.28 kg/m3 (4.2 lb/ft3)
    k-value @ 297.04 K (75F) 0.047 W/K.m (0.333 btu-in/[hr•ft2•°F]) 0.028 W/K.m (0.203 btu-in/[hr•ft2•°F])
    k-value @ 533.15 K (500F) 0.089 W/K.m (0.634 btu-in/[hr•ft2•°F]) 0.054 W/K.m (0.387 btu-in/[hr•ft2•°F])
    Tensile (total pack) 13.34 N (3.0 lb-f) 88.96 N (20.0 lb-f)
    Tensile (single lap) 13.34 N (3.0 lb-f) 66.72 N (15.0 lb-f)
    Bond (total pack) 0.49 kg/m2 (0.1 lb/ft2) 45 lb/ft2
    Bond (single lap) 0.49 kg/m2 (0.1 lb/ft2) 73.24 kg/m2 (15 lb/ft2)


    [0052] In one exemplary embodiment, the fiber diameters and fiber lengths identified in this application refer to a majority of the fibers of a group of fibers that are provided by a fiberizer or other fiber forming apparatus, but are not otherwise processed after formation of the fibers. In another exemplary embodiment, the fiber diameters and fiber lengths identified in this application refer a group of fibers that are provided by a fiberizer or other fiber forming apparatus, but are not otherwise processed after formation of the fibers, where a minority or any number of the fibers have the fiber diameter and/or fiber length.

    [0053] Figures 2A-2C illustrate exemplary embodiments of methods that are similar to the embodiments of Figures 1A-1C, except the web 521 (see Figure 5) is formed 260 with a dry or non-aqueous binder. The method 200 of Figure 2A generally corresponds to the method 100 of Figure 1A. The method 250 of Figure 2B generally corresponds to the method 150 of Figure 1B. The method 270 of Figure 2C generally corresponds to the method 170 of Figure 1C.

    [0054] Figure 2D illustrates a method 290 that is similar to the method 270 of Figure 2C. In Figure 2D, the steps in boxes with dashed lines are optional. In the exemplary embodiment illustrated by Figure 2D, the dry binder can optionally be added to the web step 292 and/or the layered web at step 294, instead of (or in addition to) before the web is formed. For example, if step 292 is included, the web may be formed without a dry binder, and then the dry binder is added to the web before layering and/or during layering. If step 294 is included, the web may be formed and layered without a dry binder, and then the dry binder is added to the layered web.

    [0055] Referring to Figure 5, the dry binder (indicated by the large arrows) can be added to the fibers 322 and/or the web 521 at a variety of different points in the process. Arrow 525 indicates that the dry binder can be added to the fibers 322 at or above the collecting member. Arrow 527 indicates that the dry binder can be added to the fibers 322 in the duct 330. Arrow 529 indicates that the dry binder can be added to the fibers 322 in the forming apparatus 332. Arrow 531 indicates that the dry binder can be added to the web 321 after the web leaves the forming apparatus 332. Arrow 533 indicates that the dry binder can be added to the web 321 as the web is layered by the layering apparatus 334. Arrow 535 indicates that the dry binder can be added to the web 321 after the web is layered. Arrow 537 indicates that the dry binder can be added to the web 321 or layered web in the oven 550. Referring to Figure 8, arrow 827 indicates that the dry binder can be added to the fibers 322 in the duct 330 at a position near the fiberizer. Arrow 829 indicates that the dry binder can be added to the fibers 322 in the duct 330 at an elbow of the duct. Arrow 831 indicates that the dry binder can be added to the fibers in the duct 330 at an exit end of the duct. Arrow 833 indicates that the dry binder can be added to the fibers 322 in a forming apparatus 332 having a drum shaped forming surface. The dry binder can be added to the fibers 322 or the web 321 to form a web 521 with dry binder in any manner.

    [0056] Figure 5A is an embodiment similar to the embodiment of Figure 5, except the fibers 322 are collected by an accumulator 590. Arrow 592 indicates that the fibers 322 are provided by the accumulator 590 in a controlled manner to the forming apparatus 332. The fibers 322 may dwell in the accumulator 590 for a predetermined period of time before being provided to the forming apparatus 332 to allow the fibers to cool. In one exemplary embodiment, the fibers 322 are provided by the accumulator 590 to the forming apparatus 332 at the same rate the fibers 322 are provided to the accumulator 590. As such, in this exemplary embodiment, the time that the fibers dwell and cool in the accumulator is determined by the amount of fibers 322 in the accumulator. In this example, the dwell time is the amount of fibers in the accumulator divided by the rate at which the fibers are provided by the accumulator to the forming apparatus 332. In another exemplary embodiment, the accumulator 390 can selectively start and stop dispensing the fibers and/or adjust the rate at which the fibers are dispensed. The dry binder can be applied to the fibers 322 at any of the locations indicated by Figure 5. In addition, the dry binder can be applied to the fibers 322 in the accumulator as indicated by arrow 594 and/or as the fibers are transferred from the accumulator 590 to the forming apparatus 332 as indicated by arrow 596.

    [0057] Figure 5B is an embodiment similar to the embodiment of Figure 5, except the fibers 322 can be selectively diverted between the forming apparatus 332 and a second forming apparatus and/or for some other use by a diverting mechanism 598. In one exemplary embodiment, the embodiment illustrated by Figure 5 may have both the accumulator 590 and the diverting mechanism 598. The dry binder can be applied to the fibers 322 at any of the locations indicated by Figure 5. In addition, the dry binder can be applied to the fibers 322 in the diverting mechanism as indicated by arrow 595 and/or as the fibers are transferred from the diverting mechanism 598 to the forming apparatus 332 as indicated by arrow 597.

    [0058] In one exemplary embodiment, the dry binder is applied to the fibers 322 at a location that is significant distance downstream from the fiberizer 318. For example, the dry binder may be applied to the fibers at a location where the temperature of the fibers and/or a temperature of the air surrounding the fibers is significantly lower than the temperature of the fibers and the surrounding air at the fiberizer. In one exemplary embodiment, the dry binder is applied at a location where a temperature of the fibers and/or a temperature of air that surrounds the fibers is below a temperature at which the dry binder melts or a temperature at which the dry binder fully cures or reacts. For example, a thermoplastic binder may be applied at a point in the production line where a temperature of the fibers 322 and/or a temperature of air that surrounds the fibers are below the melting point of the thermoplastic binder. A thermoset binder may be applied at a point in the production line where a temperature of the fibers 322 and/or a temperature of air that surrounds the fibers are below a curing temperature of the thermoset binder. That is, the thermoset binder may be applied at a point where a temperature of the fibers 322 and/or a temperature of air that surrounds the fibers is below a point where the thermoset binder fully reacts or full cross-linking of the thermoset binder occurs. In one exemplary embodiment, the dry binder is applied at a location in the production line where the temperature of the fibers 322 and/or a temperature of air that surrounds the fibers are below 148.89°C (300 degrees F). In one exemplary embodiment, the dry binder is applied at a location in the production line where the temperature of the fibers 322 and/or a temperature of air that surrounds the fibers are below 121.11°C (250 degrees F). In one exemplary embodiment, the temperature of the fibers and/or a temperature of air that surrounds the fibers at the locations indicated by arrows 527, 529, 531, 533, and 535 in Figure 5 is below a temperature at which the dry binder melts or fully cures.

    [0059] In one exemplary embodiment, the binder applicator is a sprayer configured for dry powders. The sprayer may be configured such that the force of the spray is adjustable, thereby allowing more or less penetration of the dry powder into the continuous web of fibrous material. Alternatively, the binder applicator can be other structures, mechanisms or devices or combinations thereof, such as for example a vacuum device, sufficient to draw the dry binder into the continuous web 321 of glass fibers. For example, the dry binder may comprise binder fibers that are provided in bale form. The binder applicator comprises a bale opener and blower that opens the bale, separates the binder fibers from one another, and blows the binder fibers into the duct where the binder is mixed with the fiberglass fibers. The dry binder may comprise a powder. The binder applicator may comprise a screw delivery device that delivers the binder powder to an air nozzle that delivers the binder powder into the duct, where the binder powder is mixed with the fibers. The dry binder may comprise a non-aqueous liquid. The binder applicator may comprise a nozzle that delivers the liquid binder into the duct, where the binder is mixed with the fibers.

    [0060] Figures 9, 9A, and 9B, illustrate an exemplary embodiment where binder 900, such as binder in fiber or powder form, fiber form, or non-aqueous liquid form, is applied with a modified air lapper 902. Air lappers are well known in the art. Examples of air lappers are disclosed in U.S. Patent Nos. 4,266,960; 5,603,743; and 4,263,033 and PCT International Publication Number WO 95/30036. Any of the features of the air lappers disclosed by U.S. Patent Nos. 4,266,960; 5,603,743; and 4,263,033 and PCT International Publication Number WO 95/30036 can be used in the air lapper 902 that is schematically illustrated in this patent application. One existing type of air lapper 902 is an Air Full Veil Lapper (AFVL). The air lapper 902 illustrated by Figures 9, 9A, and 9B differs from conventional air tappers in that the air lapper is configured to apply the binder 900.

    [0061] Figure 8 illustrates the a rotary fiberizer 318, optional gathering member 324, duct 330, and forming apparatus 332. The apparatus illustrated by Figure 8 will typically also include the melter 314, and forehearth 316 illustrated by Figure 5. The melter 314, forearth, and other components illustrated in Figure 5 are omitted in Figure 8 to simplify the drawing.

    [0062] Referring to Figure 8, the forming apparatus 332 can be configured to form a continuous web 321 of fibrous material having a desired thickness. The forming apparatus 332 can take a wide variety of different forms. Any arrangement for forming a web 321 of glass fibers can be used. In the exemplary embodiment illustrated by Figure 8, the forming apparatus 332 includes a rotating drum 910 with forming surfaces 462 and areas of higher or lower pressure. The collection of the fibers using a pressure drop ΔP across the surface 462 is as described with respect to Figure 4.

    [0063] Referring to Figures 9A and 9B, the air lapper 902 includes a first blower 920 and a second blower 922. The air lapper operates by blowing, such as alternately blowing with the first and second blowers 920, 922. The blower 920 provides airflow against fibers traveling in the duct toward the forming surface 462, while the blower 922 does not provide airflow (See Figures 9A and 9B). After a controlled amount of time, the blower 922 provides airflow against fibers traveling in the duct toward the forming surface 462, while the blower 920 does not provide airflow. This alternate operation by the first and second blowers 920, 922 provides an even distribution of fibers 322 collected on the forming surface 462.

    [0064] The air lapper 902 illustrated by Figures 9, 9A, and 9B differ from conventional air lappers in that each of the blowers 920, 922 include one or more binder introduction devices 904. The binder introduction devices 904 can take a wide variety of different forms. For example, the binder introduction devices 904 can provide binder 900 into an interior 930 of a housing 932 of the blowers 920, 922 as illustrated, or the binder introduction device may be positioned to introduce binder 900 into the airflow of the blowers 920, 922. For example, a nozzle of a binder introduction device may dispense binder into an airflow stream of the blowers 920, 922. Examples of binder introduction devices include, but are not limited to, nozzles, and blowers that provide less airflow than the blowers 920, 922. In one exemplary embodiment, the binder introduction device 904 injects the binder 900 into the interior 930 of the housing 932 when the blower 920 or 922 is not blowing. Then, when the blower 920 or 922 is turned on, the interior 930 is pressurized and the binder 900 is carried from the interior 930 into the fiber air stream. In the airstream, the air from the air lapper will move the fibers to provide a forming effect on the distribution of fibers on the forming surface 462 and the air will also inject the binder to mix with the fibers in the airstream.

    [0065] Referring to Figures 9A and 9B, the air lapper 902 mixes binder 900 into the fibers 322 that collect on the forming surface 462 to form the web 321. In one exemplary embodiment, when the blower 920 provides airflow 921 against fibers traveling in the duct toward the forming surface 462, the binder introduction device 904 introduces binder 900 to the blower 920 and the airflow 921 provided by the blower 920 mixes the binder with the fibers 322 (Shown in Figures 9A and 9B). Similarly, in this embodiment when the blower 922 provides airflow 921 against fibers traveling in the duct toward the forming surface 462, the binder introduction device 904 introduces binder 900 to the blower 922 and the airflow 921 provided by the blower 922 mixes the binder with the fibers 322 (Airflow provided by blower 922 is not shown, but is the same as airflow provided by blower 920). As a result, the binder 900 is uniformly mixed with the fibers 322

    [0066] The dry binder can take a wide variety of different forms. Any non-aqueous medium that holds the fibers 322 together to form a web 521 can be used. In one exemplary embodiment, the dry binder, while being initially applied to the fibers, is comprised of substantially 100% solids. The term "substantially 100% solids", as used herein, means any binder material having diluents, such as water, in an amount less than or equal to approximately two percent, and preferably less than or equal to one percent by weight of the binder (while the binder is being applied, rather than after the binder has dried or cured). However, it should be appreciated that certain embodiments, the binder can include diluents, such as water, in any amount as desired depending on the specific application and design requirements. In one exemplary embodiment, the dry binder is a thermoplastic resin-based material that is not applied in liquid form and further is not water based. In other embodiments, the dry binder can be other materials or other combinations of materials, including the non-limiting example of polymeric thermoset resins. The dry binder can have any form or combinations of forms including the non-limiting examples of powders, particles, fibers and/or hot melt. Examples of hot melt polymers include, but are not limited to, ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer, ethylene-acrylate copolymer, low density polyethylene, high density polyethylene, atactic polypropylene, polybutene-1, styrene block copolymer, polyamide, thermoplastic polyurethane, styrene block copolymer, polyester and the like. In one exemplary embodiment, the dry binder is a no added formaldehyde dry binder, which means that the dry binder contains no formaldehyde. However, formaldehyde may be formed if the formaldehyde free dry binder is burned. In one exemplary embodiment, sufficient dry binder is applied such that a cured fibrous pack can be compressed for packaging, storage and shipping, yet regains its thickness - a process known as "loft recovery" - when installed.

    [0067] In the examples illustrated by Figures 2A-2D and 5, the glass fibers 322 can optionally be coated or partially coated with a lubricant before or after the dry binder is applied to the glass fibers. In an exemplary embodiment, the lubricant is applied after the dry binder to enhance the adhesion of the dry binder to the glass fibers 322. The lubricant can be any of the lubricants described above.

    [0068] Referring to Figure 5, the continuous web with unreacted dry binder 521 is transferred from the forming apparatus 332 to the optional layering mechanism 334. The layering mechanism may take a wide variety of different forms. For example, the layering mechanism may be a lapping mechanism that layers the web 321 in the machine direction D1 or a cross-lapping mechanism that laps the web in a direction that is substantially orthogonal to the machine direction. The cross-lapping device described above for layering the binderless web 321 can be used to layer the web 521 with unreacted dry binder.

    [0069] In an exemplary embodiment, the dry binder of the continuous web 521 is configured to be thermally set in a curing oven 550. In an exemplary embodiment, the curing oven 550 replaces the entanglement mechanism 345, since the dry binder holds the fibers 322 together. In another exemplary embodiment, both a curing oven 550 and an entanglement mechanism 345 are included.

    [0070] Figures 6 and 7 schematically illustrate another exemplary embodiment of a method for forming a pack from fibrous materials is illustrated generally at 610. Referring to Figure 6, molten glass 612 is supplied from a melter 614 to a forehearth 616. The molten glass 612 can be formed from various raw materials combined in such proportions as to give the desired chemical composition. The molten glass 612 flows from the forehearth 616 to a plurality of rotary fiberizers 618.

    [0071] Referring to Figure 6, the rotary fiberizers 618 receive the molten glass 612 and subsequently form veils 620 of glass fibers 622 entrained in a flow of hot gases. As will be discussed in more detail below, the glass fibers 622 formed by the rotary fiberizers 618 are long and thin. Accordingly, any desired fiberizer, rotary or otherwise, sufficient to form long and thin glass fibers 22 can be used. While the embodiment illustrated in Figures 6 and 7 show a quantity of two rotary fiberizers 618, it should be appreciated that any desired number of rotary fiberizers 18 can be used.

    [0072] The flow of hot gases can be created by optional blowing mechanisms, such as the non-limiting examples of annular blowers (not shown) or annular burners (not shown). Generally, the blowing mechanisms are configured to direct the veil 620 of glass fibers 622 in a given direction, usually in a downward manner. It should be understood that the flow of hot gasses can be created by any desired structure, mechanism or device or any combination thereof.

    [0073] As shown in Figure 6, optional spraying mechanisms 626 can be positioned beneath the rotary fiberizers 618 and configured to spray fine droplets of water or other fluid onto the hot gases in the veils 620 to help cool the flow of hot gases, protect the fibers 622 from contact damage and/or enhance the bonding capability of the fibers 622. The spraying mechanisms 626 can be any desired structure, mechanism or device sufficient to spray fine droplets of water onto the hot gases in the veils 620 to help cool the flow of hot gases, protect the fibers 622 from contact damage and/or enhance the bonding capability of the fibers 22. While the embodiment shown in Figure 6 illustrates the use of the spraying mechanisms 626, it should be appreciated that the use of the spraying mechanisms 626 is optional and the method of forming the pack from fibrous materials 610 can be practiced without the use of the spraying mechanisms 626.

    [0074] Optionally, the glass fibers 622 can be coated with a lubricant after the glass fibers are formed. In the illustrated embodiment, a plurality of nozzles 628 can be positioned around the veils 620 at a position beneath the rotary fiberizers 618. The nozzles 628 can be configured to supply a lubricant (not shown) to the glass fibers 622 from a source of lubricant (not shown).

    [0075] The application of the lubricant can be precisely controlled by any desired structure, mechanism or device, such as the non-limiting example of a valve (not shown). In certain embodiments, the lubricant can be a silicone compound, such as siloxane, dimethyl siloxane, and/or silane. The lubricant can also be other materials or combinations of materials, such as for example an oil or an oil emulsion. The oil or oil emulsion may be a mineral oil or mineral oil emulsion and/or a vegetable oil or vegetable oil emulsion. In an exemplary embodiment, the lubricant is applied in an amount of about 1.0 percent oil and/or silicone compound by weight of the resulting pack of fibrous materials. However, in other embodiments, the amount of the lubricant can be more or less than about 1.0 percent oil and/or silicone compound by weight.

    [0076] While the embodiment shown in Figure 6 illustrates the use of nozzles 628 to supply a lubricant (not shown) to the glass fibers 622, it should be appreciated that the use of nozzles 628 is optional and the method of forming the pack from fibrous materials 610 can be practiced without the use of the nozzles 628.

    [0077] In the illustrated embodiment, the glass fibers 622, entrained within the flow of hot gases, can be gathered by an optional gathering member 624. The gathering member 624 is shaped and sized to easily receive the glass fibers 622 and the flow of hot gases. The gathering member 624 is configured to divert the glass fibers 622 and the flow of hot gases to a duct 630 for transfer to downstream processing stations, such as for example forming apparatus 632a and 632b. In other embodiments, the glass fibers 622 can be gathered on a conveying mechanism (not shown) such as to form a blanket or batt (not shown). The batt can be transported by the conveying mechanism to further processing stations (not shown). The gathering member 624 and the duct 630 can be any structure having a generally hollow configuration that is suitable for receiving and conveying the glass fibers 622 and the flow of hot gases. While the embodiment shown in Figure 6 illustrates the use of the gathering member 624, it should be appreciated that the use of gathering member 624 to divert the glass fibers 622 and the flow of hot gases to the duct 630 is optional and the method of forming the pack from fibrous materials 610 can be practiced without the use of the gathering member 624.

    [0078] In the embodiment shown in Figures 6 and 7, a single fiberizer 618 is associated with an individual duct 630, such that the glass fibers 622 and the flow of hot gases from the single fiberizer 618 are the only source of the glass fibers 622 and the flow of hot gasses entering the duct 630. Alternatively, an individual duct 630 can be adapted to receive the glass fibers 622 and the flow of hot gases from multiple fiberizers 618 (not shown).

    [0079] Referring again to Figure 6, optionally, a header system (not shown) can be positioned between the forming apparatus 632a and 632b and the fiberizers 618. The header system can be configured as a chamber in which glass fibers 622 and gases flowing from the plurality of fiberizers 618 can be combined while controlling the characteristics of the resulting combined flow. In certain embodiments, the header system can include a control system (not shown) configured to combine the flows of the glass fibers 622 and gases from the fiberizers 618 and further configured to direct the resulting combined flows to the fowling apparatus 632a and 632b. Such a header system can allow for maintenance and cleaning of certain fiberizers 618 without the necessity of shutting down the remaining fiberizers 618. Optionally, the header system can incorporate any desired means for controlling and directing the glass fibers 22 and flows of gases.

    [0080] Referring now to Fig. 7, the momentum of the flow of the gases, having the entrained glass fibers 622, will cause the glass fibers 622 to continue to flow through the duct 630 to the forming apparatus 632a and 632b. The forming apparatus 632a and 632b can be configured for several functions. First, the forming apparatus 632a and 632b can be configured to separate the entrained glass fibers 622 from the flow of the gases. Second, the forming apparatus 632a and 632b can be configured to form a continuous thin and dry web of fibrous material having a desired thickness. Third, the forming apparatus 632a and 632b can be configured to allow the glass fibers 622 to be separated from the flow of gasses in a manner that allows the fibers to be oriented within the web with any desired degree of "randomness". The term "randomness", as used herein, is defined to mean that the fibers 622, or portions of the fibers 622, can be nonpreferentially oriented in any of the X, Y or Z dimensions. In certain instances, it may be desired to have a high degree of randomness. In other instances, it may be desired to control the randomness of the fibers 622 such that the fibers 622 are non-randomly oriented, in other words, the fibers are substantially coplanar or substantially parallel to each other. Fourth, the forming apparatus 632a and 632b can be configured to transfer the continuous web of fibrous material to other downstream operations.

    [0081] In the embodiment illustrated in Figure 7, each of the forming apparatus 632a and 632b include a drum (not shown) configured for rotation. The drum can include any desired quantity of foraminous surfaces and areas of higher or lower pressure. Alternatively, each of the forming apparatus 632a and 632b can be formed from other structures, mechanisms and devices, sufficient to separate the entrained glass fibers 622 from the flow of the gases, form a continuous web of fibrous material having a desired thickness and transfer the continuous web of fibrous material to other downstream operations. In the illustrated embodiment shown in Figure 7, each of the forming apparatus 632a and 632b are the same. However, in other embodiments, each of the forming apparatus 632a and 632b can be different from each other.

    [0082] Referring again to Figure 7, the continuous web of fibrous material is transferred from the forming apparatus 632a and 632b to an optional binder applicator 646. The binder applicator 646 is configured to apply a "dry binder" to the continuous web of fibrous material. The term "dry binder", as used herein, is defined to mean that the binder is comprised of substantially 100% solids while the binder is being applied. The term "substantially 100% solids", as used herein, is defined to mean any binder material having diluents, such as water, in an amount less than or equal to approximately two percent, and preferably less than or equal to approximately one percent by weight of the binder (while the binder is being applied, rather than after the binder has dried and/or cured). However, it should be appreciated that certain embodiments, the binder can include diluents, such as water, in any amount as desired depending on the specific application and design requirements. The binder may be configured to thermally set in a curing oven 650. In this application, the terms "cure" and "thermally set" refer to a chemical reaction and/or one or more phase changes that cause the dry binder to bind the fibers of the web together. For example, a thermoset dry binder (or thermoset component of the dry binder) cures or thermally sets as a result of a chemical reaction that occurs as a result of an application of heat. A thermoplastic dry binder (or thermoplastic component of the dry binder) cures or thermally sets as a result of being heated to a softened or melted phase and then cooled to a solid phase.

    [0083] In an exemplary embodiment, the dry binder is a thermoplastic resin-based material that is not applied in liquid form and further is not water based. In other embodiments, the dry binder can be other materials or other combinations of materials, including the non-limiting example of polymeric thermoset resins. The dry binder can have any form or combinations of foams including the non-limiting examples of powders, particles, fibers and/or hot melt. Examples of hot melt polymers include, but are not limited to, ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer, ethylene-acrylate copolymer, low density polyethylene, high density polyethylene, atactic polypropylene, polybutene-1, styrene block copolymer, polyamide, thermoplastic polyurethane, styrene block copolymer, polyester and the like. Sufficient dry binder is applied such that a cured fibrous pack can be compressed for packaging, storage and shipping, yet regains its thickness - a process known as "loft recovery" - when installed. Applying the dry binder to the continuous web of fibrous material forms a continuous web, optionally with unreacted binder.

    [0084] In the embodiment illustrated by Figures 6 and 7, the binder applicator 646 is a sprayer configured for dry powders. The sprayer is configured such that the force of the spray is adjustable, thereby allowing more or less penetration of the dry powder into the continuous web of fibrous material. Alternatively, the binder applicator 646 can be other structures, mechanisms or devices or combinations thereof, such as for example a vacuum device, sufficient to draw a "dry binder" into the continuous web of fibrous material.

    [0085] While the embodiment illustrated in Figure 7 shows a binder applicator 646 configured to apply a dry binder to the continuous web of fibrous material, it is within the contemplation of this invention that in certain embodiments no binder will be applied to the continuous web of fibrous material.

    [0086] Referring again to Figure 7, the continuous web, optionally with unreacted binder is transferred from the binder applicators 646 to the corresponding cross-lapping mechanism 634a and 634b. As shown in Figure 7, forming apparatus 632a is associated with cross-lapping mechanism 634a and forming apparatus 632b is associated with cross-lapping mechanism 634b. The cross-lapping mechanisms 634a and 634b function in association with a first conveyor 636. The first conveyor 636 is configured to move in a machine direction as indicated by the arrow D1. The cross-lapping mechanism 634a is configured to receive the continuous web, optionally with unreacted binder, from the optional binder applicators 646 and is further configured to deposit alternating layers of the continuous web, optionally with unreacted binder, on the first conveyer 636 as the first conveyor 636 moves in machine direction D1, thereby forming the initial layers of a fibrous body. In the deposition process, the cross-lapping mechanism 634a forms the alternating layers in a cross-machine direction as indicated by the arrows D2. Accordingly, as the deposited continuous web, optionally with unreacted binder, from crosslapping mechanism 634a travels in machine direction D1, additional layers are deposited on the fibrous body by the downstream cross-lapping mechanism 634b. The resulting layers of the fibrous body deposited by cross-lapping mechanisms 634a and 634b form a pack.

    [0087] In the illustrated embodiment, the cross-lapping mechanisms 634a and 634b are devices configured to precisely control the movement of the continuous web with unreacted binder and deposit the continuous web with unreacted binder on the first conveyor 636 such that the continuous web, optionally with unreacted binder, is not damaged. The cross-lapping mechanisms 634a and 634b can include any desired structure and can be configured to operate in any desired manner. In one example, the cross-lapping mechanisms 634a and 634b can include a head (not shown) configured to move back and forth in the cross-machine direction D2. In this embodiment, the speed of the moving head is coordinated such that the movement of the head in both cross-machine directions is substantially the same, thereby providing uniformity of the resulting layers of the fibrous body. In another example, vertical conveyors (not shown) configured to be centered with a centerline of the first conveyor 636 can be utilized. The vertical conveyors are further configured to swing from a pivot mechanism above the first conveyor 636 such as to deposit the continuous web, optionally with unreacted binder, on the first conveyor 36. While several examples of cross lapping mechanisms have been described above, it should be appreciated that the cross-lapping mechanisms 634a and 634b can be other structures, mechanisms or devices or combinations thereof.

    [0088] Referring again to Figure 7, optionally the positioning of the continuous web, optionally with unreacted binder, on the first conveyor 636 can be accomplished by a controller (not shown), such as to provide improved uniformity of the pack. The controller can be any desired structure, mechanism or device or combinations thereof.

    [0089] The layered web or pack can have any desired thickness. The thickness of the pack is a function of several variables. First, the thickness of the pack is a function of the thickness of the continuous web, optionally with unreacted binder, formed by each of the forming apparatus 632a and 632b. Second, the thickness of the pack is a function of the speed at which the cross-lapping mechanisms 634a and 634b alternately deposit layers of the continuous web, optionally with unreacted binder, on the first conveyer 636. Third, the thickness of the pack is a function of the speed of the first conveyor 636. In the illustrated embodiment, the pack has a thickness in a range of from about 0.25 cm to about 50.8 cm (0.1 inches to about 20.0 inches). In other embodiments, the pack can have a thickness less than about 0.25 cm (about 0.1 inches) or more than about 50.8 cm (about 20.0 inches).

    [0090] As discussed above, the cross lapping mechanisms 634a and 634b are configured to deposit alternating layers of the continuous web, optionally with unreacted binder, on the first conveyer 636 as the first conveyor 636 moves in machine direction D1, thereby forming layers of a fibrous body. In the illustrated embodiment, the cross lapping mechanism 634a and 634b and the first conveyor 636 are coordinated such as to form a fibrous body having a quantity of layers in a range of from about 1 layer to about 60 layers. In other embodiments, the cross lapping mechanism 634a and 634b and the first conveyor 636 can be coordinated such as to form a fibrous body having any desired quantity of layers, including a fibrous body having in excess of 60 layers.

    [0091] Optionally, the cross-lapping mechanisms 634a and 634b can be adjustable, thereby allowing the cross-lapping mechanisms 634a and 634b to form a pack having any desired width. In certain embodiments, the pack can have a general width in a range of from about 248.92 cm (about 98.0 inches) to about 599.44 cm (about 236.0 inches). Alternatively, the pack can have a general width less than about 248.92 cm (about 98.0 inches) or more than about 599.44 cm (about 236.0 inches).

    [0092] While the cross-lapping mechanisms 634a and 634b have been described above as being jointly involved in the formation of a fibrous body, it should be appreciated that in other embodiments, the cross-lapping mechanisms 634a and 634b can operate independently of each other such as to form discrete lanes of fibrous bodies.

    [0093] Referring to Figures 6 and 7, the pack, having the layers formed by the cross-lapping mechanisms 634a and 634b, is carried by the first conveyor 636 to an optional trim mechanism 640. The optional trim mechanism 640 is configured to trim the edges of the pack, such as to form a desired width of the pack. In an exemplary embodiment, the pack can have an after-trimmed width in a range of from about 248.92 cm (about 98.0 inches) to about 599.44 cm (about 236.0 inches). Alternatively, the pack can have an after trimmed width less than about 248.92 cm (about 98.0 inches) or more than about 599.44 cm (about 236.0 inches).

    [0094] In the illustrated embodiment, the optional trim mechanism 640 includes a saw system having a plurality of rotating saws (not shown) positioned on either side of the pack. Alternatively, the trim mechanism 640 can be other structures, mechanisms or devices or combinations thereof including the non-limiting examples of water jets, compression knives.

    [0095] In the illustrated embodiment, the trim mechanism 640 is advantageously positioned upstream from the curing oven 650. Positioning the trim mechanism 640 upstream from the curing oven 650 allows the pack to be trimmed before the pack is thermally set in the curing oven 650. Optionally, materials that are trimmed from the pack by the trim mechanism 640 can be returned to the flow of gasses and glass fibers in the ducts 630 and recycled in the forming apparatus 632a and 632b. Recycling of the trim materials advantageously prevents potential environmental issues connected with the disposal of the trim materials. As shown in Figure 6, ductwork 642 connects the trim mechanism 640 with the ducts 630 and is configured to facilitate the return of trim materials to the forming apparatus 632a and 632b. While the embodiment shown in Figures 6 and 7 illustrate the recycling of the trimmed materials, it should be appreciated that the recycling of the trimmed materials is optional and the method of forming the pack from fibrous materials 610 can be practiced without recycling of the trimmed materials. In another exemplary embodiment, the trim mechanism 640 is positioned downstream from the curing oven 650. This positioning is particularly useful if the trimmed materials are not recycled. Trimming the pack forms a trimmed pack.

    [0096] The trimmed pack is conveyed by the first conveyor 636 to a second conveyor 644. As shown in Figure 6, the second conveyor 644 may be positioned to be "stepped down" from the first conveyor 636. The term "stepped down", as used herein, is defined to mean the upper surface of the second conveyor 644 is positioned to be vertically below the upper surface of the first conveyor 636. The stepping down of the conveyors will be discussed in more detail below.

    [0097] Referring again to Figures 1 and 2, the trimmed pack is carried by the second conveyor 644 to an optional entanglement mechanism 645. The entanglement mechanism 645 is configured to entangle the individual fibers 622 forming the layers of the trimmed pack. Entangling the glass fibers 622 within the pack ties the pack together. In the embodiments where dry binder is included, entangling the glass fibers 622 advantageously allows mechanical properties, such as for example, tensile strength and shear strength, to be improved. In the illustrated embodiment, the entanglement mechanism 645 is a needling mechanism. In other embodiments, the entanglement mechanism 645 can include other structures, mechanisms or devices or combinations thereof, including the non-limiting example of stitching mechanisms. While the embodiment shown in Figs. 6 and 7 illustrate the use of the entanglement mechanism 645, it should be appreciated that the use of the entanglement mechanism 645 is optional and the method of forming the pack from fibrous materials 610 can be practiced without the use of the entanglement mechanism 645. Entangling the fibers within the pack forms an entangled pack.

    [0098] The second conveyor 644 conveys the pack with optional dry binder, that is optionally trimmed, and/or optionally entangled (hereafter both the trimmed pack and the entangled pack are simply referred to as the "pack") to a third conveyor 648. When the pack includes a dry binder, the third conveyor 648 is configured to carry the pack to an optional curing oven 650. The curing oven 650 is configured to blow a fluid, such as for example, heated air through the pack such as to cure the dry binder and rigidly bond the glass fibers 622 together in a generally random, three-dimensional structure. Curing the pack in the curing oven 650 forms a cured pack.

    [0099] As discussed above, the pack optionally includes a dry binder. The use of the dry binder, rather than a traditional wet binder, advantageously allows the curing oven 650 to use less energy to cure the dry binder within the pack. In the illustrated embodiment, the use of the dry binder in the curing oven 650 results in an energy savings in a range of from about 30.0% to about 80.0% compared to the energy used by conventional curing ovens to cure wet or aqueous binder. In still other embodiments, the energy savings can be in excess of 80.0%. The curing oven 650 can be any desired curing structure, mechanism or device or combinations thereof.

    [0100] The third conveyor 648 conveys the cured pack to a fourth conveyor 652. The fourth conveyor 652 is configured to carry the cured pack to a cutting mechanism 654. Optionally, the cutting mechanism 654 can be configured for several cutting modes. In a first optional cutting mode, the cutting mechanism is configured to cut the cured pack in vertical directions along the machine direction D1 such as to form lanes. The formed lanes can have any desired widths. In a second optional cutting mode, the cutting mechanism is configured to bisect the cured pack in a horizontal direction such as to form continuous packs having thicknesses. The resulting bisected packs can have any desired thicknesses. Cutting the cured pack forms cut pack.

    [0101] In the illustrated embodiment, the cutting mechanism 654 includes a system of saws and knives. Alternatively, the cutting mechanism 654 can be other structures, mechanisms or devices or combinations thereof. Referring again to Figures 6 and 7, the cutting mechanism 654 is advantageously positioned such as to allow the capture of dust and other waste materials formed during the cutting operation. Optionally, dust and other waste materials stemming from the cutting mechanism can be returned to the flow of gasses and glass fibers in the ducts 630 and recycled in the forming apparatus 632a and 632b. Recycling of the dust and waste materials advantageously prevents potential environmental issues connected with the disposal of the dust and waste materials. As shown in Figures 6 and 7, ductwork 655 connects the cutting mechanism 654 with the ducts 630 and is configured to facilitate the return of dust and waste materials to the forming apparatus 632a and 632b. While the embodiment shown in Figures 6 and 7 illustrate the recycling of the dust and waste materials, it should be appreciated that the recycling of the dust and waste materials is optional and the method of forming the pack from fibrous materials 10 can be practiced without recycling of the dust and waste materials.

    [0102] Optionally, prior to the conveyance of the cured pack to the cutting mechanism 654, the major surfaces of the cured pack can be faced with facing material or materials by facing mechanisms 662a, 662b as shown in Figure 6. In the illustrated embodiment, the upper major surface of the cured pack is faced with facing material 663a provided by facing mechanism 662a and the lower major surface of the cured pack is faced with facing material 663b provided by facing mechanism 662b. The facing materials can be any desired materials including paper, polymeric materials or non-woven webs. The facing mechanisms 662a and 662b can be any desired structures, mechanisms or devices or combinations thereof In the illustrated embodiment, the facing materials 663a and 663b are applied to the cured pack (if the pack includes a binder) by adhesives. In other embodiments, the facing materials 663a and 663b can be applied to the cured pack by other methods, including the non-limiting example of sonic welding. While the embodiment shown in Figure 6 illustrates the application of the facing materials 663a and 663b to the major surfaces of the cured pack, it should be appreciated that the application of the facing materials 663a and 663b to the major surfaces of the cured pack is optional and the method of forming the pack from fibrous materials 610 can be practiced without the application of the facing materials 663a and 663b to the major surfaces of the cured pack.

    [0103] Referring to Figures 6 and 7, the fourth conveyor 652 conveys the cut pack to an optional chopping mechanism 656. The chopping mechanism 656 is configured to section the cut pack into desired lengths across the machine direction D1. In the illustrated embodiment, the chopping mechanism 656 is configured to section the cut pack as the cut pack continuously moves in the machine direction D1. Alternatively, the chopping mechanism 656 can be configured for batch chopping operation. Sectioning the cut pack into lengths forms a dimensioned pack. The lengths of the chopped pack can have any desired dimension.

    [0104] Chopping mechanisms are known in the art and will not be described herein. The chopping mechanism 656 can be any desired structure, mechanism or device or combinations thereof.

    [0105] Optionally, prior to the conveyance of the cut pack to the chopping mechanism 656, the minor surfaces of the cut pack can be faced with edging material or materials by edging mechanisms 666a, 666b as shown in Figure 7. The edging materials can be any desired materials including paper, polymeric materials or nonwoven webs. The edging mechanisms 666a and 666b can be any desired structures, mechanisms or devices or combinations thereof. In the illustrated embodiment, the edging materials 667a and 667b are applied to the cut pack by adhesives. In other embodiments, the edging materials 667a and 667b can be applied to the cut pack by other methods, including the non-limiting example of sonic welding. While the embodiment shown in Figure 7 illustrate the application of the edging materials 667a and 667b to the minor surfaces of the cut pack, it should be appreciated that the application of the edging materials 667a and 667b to the minor surfaces of the cut pack is optional and the method of forming the pack from fibrous materials 610 can be practiced without the application of the edging materials 667a and 667b to the minor surfaces of the cut pack.

    [0106] Referring again to Figure 6, the fourth conveyor 652 conveys the dimensioned pack to a fifth conveyor 658. The fifth conveyor 658 is configured to convey the dimensioned pack to a packaging mechanism 660. The packaging mechanism 660 is configured to package the dimensioned pack for future operations. The term "future operations," as used herein, is defined to include any activity following the forming of the dimensioned pack, including the non-limiting examples of storage, shipping, sales and installation.

    [0107] In the illustrated embodiment, the packaging mechanism 660 is configured to form the dimensioned pack into a package in the form of a roll. In other embodiments, the packaging mechanism 660 can form packages having other desired shapes, such as the non-limiting examples of slabs, batts and irregularly shaped or die cut pieces. The packaging mechanism 660 can be any desired structure, mechanism or device or combinations thereof.

    [0108] Referring again to Fig. 6, the conveyors 636, 644, 648, 652 and 658 are in a "stepped down" relationship in the machine direction D1. The "stepped down" relationship means that the upper surface of the successive conveyor is positioned to be vertically below the upper surface of the preceding conveyor. The "stepped down" relationship of the conveyors advantageously provides a self-threading feature to the conveyance of the pack. In the illustrated embodiment, the vertical offset between adjacent conveyors is in a range of from about 7.62 cm (about 3.0 inches) to about 25.4 cm (about 10.0 inches). In other embodiments, the vertical offset between adjacent conveyors can be less than about 7.62 cm (about 3.0 inches) or more than about 25.4 cm (about 10.0 inches).

    [0109] As illustrated in Figures 6 and 7, the method for forming a pack from fibrous materials 610 eliminates the use of a wet binder, thereby eliminating the traditional needs for washwater and washwater related structures, such as forming hoods, return pumps and piping. The elimination of the use of water, with the exception of cooling water, and the application of lubricant, color and other optional chemicals, advantageously allows the overall size of the manufacturing line (or "footprint") to be significantly reduced as well as reducing the costs of implementation, operating costs and maintenance and repair costs.

    [0110] As further illustrated in Figures 6 and 7, the method for forming a pack from fibrous materials 610 advantageously allows the uniform and consistent deposition of long and thin fibers on the forming apparatus 632a and 632b. In the illustrated embodiment, the fibers 622 have a length in a range of from about 0.64 cm (about 0.25 inches) to about 25.4 cm (about 10.0 inches) and a diameter dimension in a range of from about 2.3 micrometers to 8.9 micrometers (about 9 HT to about 35 HT). In other embodiments, the fibers 22 have a length in a range of from about 2.54 cm (about 1.0 inch) to about 12.7 cm (about 5.0 inches) and a diameter dimension in a range of from about 3.5 micrometers (about 14 HT) to about 6.3 micrometers (about 25 HT). In still other embodiments, the fibers 22 can have a length less than about 0.64 cm (about 0.25 inches) or more than about 25.4 cm (about 10.0 inches) and a diameter dimension less than about 2.3 micrometers (about 9 HT) or more than about 8.9 micrometers (about 35 HT). While not being bound by the theory, it is believed the use of the relatively long and thin fibers advantageously provides a pack having better thermal and acoustic insulative performance than a similar sized pack having shorter and thicker fibers.

    [0111] While the embodiment illustrated in Figures 6 and 7 have been generally described above to form packs of fibrous materials, it should be understood that the same apparatus can be configured to form "unbonded loosefill insulation". The term "unbonded loosefill insulation", as used herein, is defined to mean any conditioned insulation material configured for application in an airstream.

    [0112] While exemplary embodiments of packs and methods for fanning a pack from fibrous materials 610 have been described generally above, it should be appreciated that other embodiments and variations of the method 610 are available and will be generally described below.

    [0113] Referring to Figure 7 in another embodiment of the method 610, the cross lapping mechanisms 634a and 634b are configured to provide precise deposition of alternating layers of the continuous web on the first conveyer 36, thereby allowing elimination of downstream trim mechanism 40.

    [0114] Referring again to Figure 7 in another embodiment of the method 610, the various layers of the pack can be "stratified". The term "stratified", as used herein, is defined to mean that each of the layers and/or portions of a layer can be configured with different characteristics, including the non-limiting examples of fiber diameter, fiber length, fiber orientation, density, thickness and glass composition. It is contemplated that the associated mechanisms forming a layer, that is, the associated fiberizer, forming apparatus and cross lapping mechanism can be configured to provide a layer and/or portions of the layer having specific and desired characteristics. Accordingly, a pack can be formed from layers and/or portions of layers having different characteristics.

    [0115] Figures 10A -10C illustrate exemplary embodiments of insulation products 1000 that include one or more thick light density cores 1002 and one or more thin high density tensile layer(s) 1004. The thick light density core 1002 can take a wide variety of different forms. For example, the light density core 1002 can be made from any of the low area weight packs described above. In one exemplary embodiment, the light density core 1002 is made from fiberglass fibers that are needled and/or layered. In one exemplary embodiment, the light density core 1002 is binderless. In another exemplary embodiment, fibers 322 of the light density core are bonded together by binder.

    [0116] The thin high density tensile layer 1004 can take a wide variety of different forms. In one exemplary embodiment, the thin high density tensile layer 1004 is made from fiberglass fibers that are needled together. However, fibers of the high density tensile 1000 can be processed with other processes and/or products to accomplish the appropriate tensile strength. In one exemplary embodiment, the high density tensile layer 1004 is made from the high density pack 300 of the Figure 3D embodiment.

    [0117] In an exemplary embodiment, the high density tensile layer(s) 1004 is attached to the light density core 1002. The high density tensile layer(s) 1004 may be attached to the light density core 1002 in a wide variety of different ways. For example, the layers 1002, 1004 may be attached to one another with an adhesive, by an additional needling step, by heat bonding (when one or both of the layers 1002, 1004 include a binder), and the like. Any way of attaching the layers to one another can be employed. In an exemplary embodiment, the layers 1002, 1004 provide distinct properties to the insulation product 1000.

    [0118] In an exemplary embodiment, the thick, light density layer 1002 provides a high thermal resistance value R, but has a low tensile strength and the thin high density tensile layer 1004 provides a low thermal resistance value R, but a high tensile strength. The combination of the two layers provides an insulation product 1000 with both a high tensile strength and a high R value.

    [0119] Figures 10D -10F illustrate exemplary embodiments of insulation products 1000 that include one or more thick light density cores 1002 and one or more thin facing layer(s) 1004. The thick light density core 1002 can take a wide variety of different forms as described with respect to the embodiment illustrated by Figures 10A-10C. The facing layers 1004 can take a wide variety of different forms. The material of the facing layer 1004 can be selected to provide a wide variety of different properties to the insulation product. For example, the facing material may be selected to provide a desired amount of strength, reflectivity, acoustic performance, water impermeability, and/or vapor impermeability to the insulation product. The facing layer can be made from a wide variety of different materials including, but not limited to, plastic, metal foil, scrim, paper, combinations of these materials and the like. Any known facing layer may be used.

    [0120] In an exemplary embodiment, the facing layer(s) 1004 is attached to the light density core 1002. The facing layer(s) 1004 may be attached to the light density core 1002 in a wide variety of different ways. For example, the layers 1002, 1004 may be attached to one another with an adhesive, by heat bonding, and the like. Any way of attaching the layers to one another can be employed. In an exemplary embodiment, the layers 1002, 1004 provide distinct properties to the insulation product 1000. In an exemplary embodiment, the thick, light density layer 1002 provides a high thermal resistance value R, but has a low tensile strength and the facing layer 1004 provides tensile strength and other properties.

    [0121] The examples illustrated by Figures 10G-10I is described in terms of strata having different densities. However, the strata may have different properties, which may or may not include different densities. These varying properties may be achieved by varying the density of fibers, the fiber length, the fiber diameter, and/or the fiber type through the thickness of the pack. Figures 10G -10I illustrate an exemplary embodiments of stratified batts or packs 1050 that include one or more light density strata 1052 and one or more high density strata 1054. However, the transition between a light density stratum 1052 and a high density stratum 1054 may be gradual. In the examples illustrated by FIGS. 10A-10F, the insulation products 1000 are formed from separate layers. In the exemplary embodiment illustrated by FIGS. 10G-10I, the stratified batts or packs 1050 are formed with varying properties through the thickness of the batt or pack. The light density stratum 1052 can take a wide variety of different forms. For example, the light density stratum 1052 can be made in the same manner that any of the low area weight packs described above are made. In one exemplary embodiment, the light density stratum 1052 is made from fiberglass fibers. In one exemplary embodiment, the light density stratum 1052 is binderless. In another exemplary embodiment, fibers 322 of the light density stratum 1052 are bonded together by binder.

    [0122] The thin high density stratum 1054 can take a wide variety of different forms. In one exemplary embodiment, the high density stratum 1054 is made from fiberglass fibers that are needled together. However, fibers of the high density stratum 1054 can be processed with other processes and/or products to accomplish the appropriate tensile strength. In one exemplary embodiment, the high stratum 1054 is made in the same manner that the high density pack 300 of the Figure 3D embodiment is made.

    [0123] In an exemplary embodiment, the fibers of the high density stratum 1054 are attached to and/or entangled with the fibers of the light stratum 1052. Fibers of the high density stratum 1054 may be attached to fibers of the light density stratum 1052 in a wide variety of different ways. For example, the fibers of the strata 1002, 1004 may be attached to one another with adhesive, such as binder that is applied to the pack and/or by needling that is peformed as the pack 1050 is made, and the like. Any way of attaching and/or entangling the fibers of the strata 1052, 1054 can be employed. In an exemplary embodiment, the strata 1052, 1054 provide distinct properties to the insulation product 1000.

    [0124] The insulation batts, packs and products of the embodiments of Figure 10A-10I can be combined with one another. For example, any of the layers of the insulation products illustrated by Figures 10A-10F can be stratified, the stratified batts or packs of Figures 10G-10I can be provided with one or more facing layers or separate dense layers, etc. A wide variety of different insulation configurations can be constructed form the embodiments illustrated by Figures 10A-10I.

    [0125] In an exemplary embodiment, a thick, light density stratum 1052 provides a high thermal resistance value R, but has a low tensile strength and a thin high density tensile stratum 1004 provides a low thermal resistance value R, but a high tensile strength. The combination of the two strata provides a batt or pack 1050 with both a high tensile strength and a high R value. The strata can be configured to provide a variety of different properties to the batt or pack. For example, alternating thin, high density and thick, low density strata results in a batt or pack with excellent acoustic properties.

    [0126] In one exemplary embodiment, the dry binder can include or be coated with additives to impart desired characteristics to the pack. One non-limiting example of an additive is a fire retardant material, such as for example baking soda. Another non-limiting example of an additive is a material that inhibits the transmission of ultraviolet light through the pack. Still another non-limiting example of an additive is a material that inhibits the transmission of infrared light through the pack.

    [0127] Referring to Fig. 6 in another embodiment of the method 610 and as discussed above, a flow of hot gases can be created by optional blowing mechanisms, such as the non-limiting examples of annular blowers (not shown) or annular burners (not shown). It is known in the art to refer to the heat created by the annular blowers and the annular burners as the "heat of fiberization". It is contemplated in this embodiment, that the heat of fiberization is captured and recycled for use in other mechanisms or devices. The heat of fiberization can be captured at several locations in the method 610. As shown in Figures 6 and 7, duct work 670 is configured to capture the heat emanating from the fiberizers 618 and convey the heat for use in other mechanisms, such as for example the optional curing oven 650. Similarly, duct work 672 is configured to capture the heat emanating from the flow of hot gases within the duct 30 and duct work 674 is configured to capture the heat emanating from the forming apparatus 632a and 632b. The recycled heat can also be used for purposes other than the forming of fibrous packs, such as for example heating an office

    [0128] In certain embodiments, the duct 630 can include heat capturing devices, such as for example, heat extraction fixtures configured to capture the heat without significantly interfering with the momentum of the flow of the hot gasses and entrained glass fibers 622. In other embodiments, any desired structure, device or mechanism sufficient to capture the heat of fiberization can be used.

    [0129] Referring to Fig. 6 in another embodiment of the method 610, fibers or other materials having other desired characteristics can be mixed with glass fibers 622 entrained in the flow of gasses. In this embodiment, a source 676 of other materials, such as for example, synthetic or ceramic fibers, coloring agents and/or particles can be provided to allow such materials to be introduced into a duct 678.

    [0130] The duct 678 can be connected to the duct 630 such as to allow mixing with the glass fibers 622 entrained in the flow of gasses. In this manner, the characteristics of the resulting pack can be engineered or tailored for desired properties, such as the nonlimiting examples acoustic, thermal enhancing or UV inhibiting characteristics.

    [0131] In still other embodiments, it is contemplated that other materials can be positioned between the layers deposited by the cross-lapping mechanisms 634a and 634b on the first conveyor 636. The other materials can include sheet materials, such as for example, facings, vapor barriers or netting, or other non-sheet materials including the non-limiting examples of powders, particles or adhesives. The other materials can be positioned between the layers in any desired manner. In this manner, the characteristics of the resulting pack can be further engineered or tailored as desired.

    [0132] While the embodiments shown in Figure 6 illustrates the application of a dry binder by the binder applicator 646, it should be appreciated that in other embodiments, the dry binder can be applied to the glass fibers 622 entrained in the flow of gasses. In this embodiment, a source 680 of dry binder can be introduced into a duct 682. The duct 682 can be connected to the duct 630 such as to allow mixing of the dry binder with the glass fibers 622 entrained in the flow of gasses. The dry binder can be configured to attach to the glass fibers in any desired manner, including by electrostatic processes.

    [0133] While the embodiment illustrated in Figure 6 illustrates use of the continuous web by the cross-lapping mechanisms 634a and 634b, it should be appreciated that in other embodiments, the web can be removed from the forming apparatus 632a and 632b and stored for later use.

    [0134] As discussed above, optionally the trimmed materials can be returned to the flow of gasses and glass fibers in the ducts 630 and recycled in the forming apparatus 632a and 632b. In an exemplary embodiment, when an optional binder is included in the pack, the operating temperature of the forming apparatus 332a and 332b is kept below the softening temperature of the dry binder, thereby preventing the dry binder from curing prior to the downstream operation of the curing oven 550. In this embodiment, the maximum operating temperature of the curing oven 650 is in a range of from about 73.89°C (about 165°F) to about 82.22°C (about 180°F). In other embodiments, the maximum operating temperature of the curing oven 650 can be less than about 73.89°C (about 165°F) or more than about 82.22°C (about 180°F).

    [0135] In one exemplary embodiment, the long, thin fibers 322 described herein are used in other applications than described above. For example, Figure 11 illustrates that the long, thin glass fibers 322 described above can be provided as staple fibers that are air laid, carded or otherwise processed for use in a wide variety of different applications, rather than being formed into a web and/or a pack. In one application, the unbonded staple fibers are blended with aramid fibers, such as Kevlar and Konex, and/or with thermal bonding fibers, such as Celbond. These blended fibers may be used to form a staple yams and/or dry laid non-woven materials.

    [0136] In the Figure 11 embodiment a melter 314 supplies molten glass 312 to a forehearth 316. The molten glass 312 is processed to form glass fibers 322. The molten glass 312 can be processed in a variety of different ways to form the fibers 322. For example, rotary fiberizers 318 receive the molten glass 312 and subsequently form veils 320 of glass fibers 322. Any desired fiberizer, rotary or otherwise, sufficient to form long and thin glass fibers 322 can be used.

    [0137] Referring to Figure 11, an applicator 1100 applies a lubricant, also referred to as a sizing, is applied to the unbonded glass fibers. In the illustrated embodiment, the sizing is applied to the glass fibers beneath the fiberizer. However, in other embodiments, the sizing is applied to the glass fibers at other locations, such as in the duct 330. The sizing strengthens and/or provides lubricity to the fibers that aid in the processing of the fibers, such as needling or carding of the fibers. The unbonded staple fibers 322 are provided at the outlet of the duct 330 as indicated by arrow 1102 where the fibers are collected in a container 1103 for use in a variety of different applications, either by themselves or in combination with other fibers, such as aramid fibers.

    [0138] The sizing may take a wide variety of different forms. For example, the sizing may comprise silicone and/or silane. However, any sizing may be employed depending on the application. The sizing may be adjusted based on the application the glass fibers are to be used in.

    [0139] The small fiber diameter and the long fiber length allow the sized fibers to be used in applications where the fibers could not previously be used, due to excessive breakage of the fibers. In one exemplary embodiment, a fiber 322 having an approximately four micron diameter has a better flexural modulus and resulting strength than conventional fibers, because the finer fiber bends more easily without breaking. This improved flexural modulus and strength of the fiber help the fiber to survive processes that are typically destructive to conventional fibers, such as carding and air laid processes. In addition, the fine diameter of the glass fibers improves both thermal and acoustic performance.

    [0140] The glass webs, packs, and staple fibers can be used in a wide variety of different applications. Examples of applications include, but are not limited to, heated appliances, such as ovens, ranges, and water heaters, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) components, such as HVAC ducts, acoustic insulating panels and materials, such as acoustic insulating panels for buildings and/or vehicles, and molded fiberglass components, such as compression molded or vacuum molded fiberglass components. In one exemplary embodiment, heated appliances, such as ovens, ranges, and water heaters, heating, HVAC components, such as HVAC ducts, acoustic insulating panels and materials, such as acoustic insulating panels for buildings and/or vehicles, and/or molded fiberglass components, such as compression molded or vacuum molded fiberglass components use or are made from a binderless fiberglass pack made in accordance with one or more of the embodiments disclosed by the present patent application. In an exemplary embodiment, since the fiberglass pack is binderless, there is no formaldehyde in the fiberglass pack. In one exemplary embodiment, heated appliances, such as ovens, ranges, and water heaters, heating, HVAC components, such as HVAC ducts, acoustic insulating panels and materials, such as acoustic insulating panels for buildings and/or vehicles, and/or molded fiberglass components, such as compression molded or vacuum molded fiberglass components use or are made from a dry binder fiberglass pack made in accordance with one or more of the embodiments disclosed by the present patent application. In this exemplary embodiment, the dry binder may be a formaldehyde free or no added formaldehyde dry binder. In a no added formaldehyde binder, the binder itself has no formaldehyde, but formaldehyde may be a byproduct if the binder is burned.

    [0141] Fiberglass insulation packs described by this patent application can be used in a wide variety of different cooking ranges and in a variety of different configurations in any given cooking range. Published US Patent Application Pub. No. 2008/0246379 discloses an example of an insulation system used in a range. The fiberglass packs described herein can be used in any of the heating appliance insulation configurations described by Published US Patent Application Pub. No. 2008/0246379, including the configurations labeled prior art. Figures 12-14 correspond to Figures 1-3 of Published US Patent Application Pub. No. 2008/0246379.

    [0142] Referring to Figure 12 a thermal oven 1210 includes a substantially flat, top cooking surface 1212. As shown in FIGS. 12-14, the thermal oven 1210 includes a pair of opposed side panels 1252 and 1254, a back panel 1224, a bottom panel 1225, and a front panel 1232. The opposed side panels 1252 and 1254, back panel 1224, bottom panel 1225, front panel 1232 and cooking surface 1212 are configured to form an outer oven cabinet 1233. The front panel 1232 includes an insulated oven door 1218 pivotally connected to the front panel 1232. The oven door 1218 is hinged at a lower end to the front panel 1232 such that the oven door can be pivoted away from the front panel 1232 and the oven cavity 1216. In the example illustrated by Figure 12, the oven door 1218 includes a window. In the example illustrated by Figure 12A, the oven door 1218 does not include a window and the entire interior of the door is provided with insulation.

    [0143] As shown in Figures 13 and 14, the outer oven cabinet 1233 supports an inner oven liner 1215. The inner oven liner 1215 includes opposing liner sides 1215a and 1215b, a liner top 1215c, a liner bottom 1215d and a liner back 1215e. The opposing liner sides 1215a and 1215b, liner top 1215c, liner bottom 1215d, liner back 1215e and oven door 1218 are configured to define the oven cavity 1216.

    [0144] As further shown in Figures 13 and 14, the exterior of the oven liner 1215 is covered by insulation an insulation material 1238, that can be made in accordance with any of the embodiments disclosed in this application. The oven door 1238 may also be filled with insulation material 1238, that can be made in accordance with any of the embodiments disclosed in this application. The insulation material 1238 is placed in contact with an outside surface of the oven liner 1215. The insulation material 1238 is used for many purposes, including retaining heat within the oven cavity 1216 and limiting the amount of heat that is transferred by conduction, convection and radiation to the outer oven cabinet 1233.

    [0145] As shown in the example illustrated by Figures 13 and 14, an air gap 1236 is formed between the insulation material 1238 and the outer oven cabinet 1233. The air gap 1236 is used as a further insulator to limit the conductive heat transfer between oven liner 1215 and the outer oven cabinet 1233. The use of the air gap 1236 supplements the insulation material 1238 to minimize the surface temperatures on the outer surfaces of the outer oven cabinet 1233. As shown in the example illustrated by Figures 13A and 14A, the insulation material 1238 may be sized such that no air gap is formed between the insulation material 1238 and the outer oven cabinet 1233. That is, in the Figure 13A and 14A embodiment, the insulation layer 1238 completely fills the space between the oven liner 1215 and the outer oven cabinet 1233. In one exemplary embodiment, the insulation material that is used in the configurations illustrated by Figures 13, 13A, 14, 14A and any of the other configurations disclosed by US Patent Application Pub. No. 2008/0246379 is made from a binderless fiberglass pack made in accordance with one or more of the embodiments disclosed by the present patent application. In an exemplary embodiment, since the fiberglass pack is binderless, there is no formaldehyde in the insulation layer 1238 of the Figure 13, 13A, 14, and 14A embodiments.

    [0146] Fiberglass insulation packs described by this patent application can be used in a wide variety of different heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, such as ducts of an HVAC system. Further, the insulation packs described by this patent application can be provided in variety of different configurations in any given HVAC ducts. US Patent No. 3,092,529, Published Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) International Publication Number WO 2010/002958 and Pending US Patent Application Serial No. 13/764,920, filed on February 12, 2013, all assigned to the assignee of the present application, discloses an examples of fiberglass insulation systems used in a HVAC ducts. The fiberglass packs described herein can be used in any of the HVAC duct configurations described by US Patent No. 3,092,529, PCT International Publication Number WO 2010/002958 and Pending US Patent Application Serial No. 13/764,920.

    [0147] In one exemplary embodiment, the insulation material that is used in the HVAC ducts disclosed by US Patent No. 3,092,529, PCT International Publication Number WO 2010/002958 and Pending US Patent Application Serial No. 13/764,920 is constructed from a dry binder fiberglass pack made in accordance with one or more of the embodiments disclosed by the present patent application. In this exemplary embodiment, the dry binder may be a formaldehyde free dry binder or a no added formaldehyde dry binder. In a no added formaldehyde binder, the binder itself has no formaldehyde, but formaldehyde may be a byproduct if the binder is burned.

    [0148] In one exemplary embodiment, the insulation material that is used in the HVAC ducts disclosed by US Patent No. 3,092,529, PCT International Publication Number WO 2010/002958 and Pending US Patent Application Serial No. 13/764,920 is constructed from a binderless fiberglass pack made in accordance with one or more of the embodiments disclosed by the present patent application. In an exemplary embodiment, since the fiberglass pack is binderless, there is no formaldehyde in the insulation material.

    [0149] Fiberglass insulation packs described by this patent application can be used in a wide variety of different acoustic applications and can have a variety of different configurations in each application. Examples of Acoustic insulation batts include Owens Corning Sound Attenuation Batt and Owens Corning Sonobatts insulation, which can be positioned behind a variety of panels of a building, such as ceiling tiles and wall. US Patent Nos. 7,329,456 and 7,294,218 describe examples of applications of acoustic insulation. The fiberglass packs described herein can be used in place of the insulation of the Owens Corning Sound Attenuation Batt and Owens Corning Sonobatts and can be used in any of the applications disclosed by US Patent Nos. 7,329,456 and 7,294,218. Additional acoustic applications for fiberglass insulation packs described by this patent application include, but are not limited to, duct liner, duct wrap, ceiling panels, wall panels, and the like.

    [0150] In one exemplary embodiment, an acoustic insulation pack made in accordance with one or more of the embodiments of a binderless pack or dry binder pack disclosed by the present patent application tested according to ASTM C522 within 457.2 m (1,500 feet) of sea level has an average airflow resistivity of 3,000 - 150,000 (mks Rayls/m (Pa·s/m2)). In one exemplary embodiment, an acoustic insulation pack made in accordance with one or more of the embodiments of a binderless pack or dry binder pack disclosed by the present patent application tested according to ASTM C423 within 457.2 m (1,500 feet) of sea level has a Sound Absorbtion Average (SAA) in the range of 0.25 to 1.25. In one exemplary embodiment, an acoustic insulation pack made in accordance with one or more of the embodiments of a binderless pack or dry binder pack disclosed by the present patent application tested according to ISO 354 within 457.2 m (1,500 feet) of sea level has a Sound Absorbtion coefficient aw in the range of 0.25 to 1.25.
    Table 2
    Test Conditions
    Temp. (degrees C) 26
    Humidity (% Relative Humidity) 13.3
    Barometric Pressure (mmHg) 732
    Binderless Specimen Summary
    Thickness (mm) 17-19.5
    Area Density (Kg/m^2) 0.9-1.1
    Density (Kg/m^3) 55-60
    Test Results
    Average Specific Airflow Resistance (mks Rayls) 1700 - 1800
    Average Airflow Resistivity (mks Rayls/m) 90,000 - 100,000


    [0151] In one exemplary embodiment, the insulation material that is used in place of the insulation of the Owens Coming Sound Attenuation Batt and Owens Coming Sonobatts and/or in any of the applications disclosed by US Patent Nos. 7,329,456 and 7,294,218 is constructed from a dry binder fiberglass pack made in accordance with one or more of the embodiments disclosed by the present patent application. In this exemplary embodiment, the dry binder may be a formaldehyde free dry binder or a no added formaldehyde dry binder. In a no added formaldehyde binder, the binder itself has no formaldehyde, but formaldehyde may be a byproduct if the binder is burned.

    [0152] In one exemplary embodiment, the insulation material that is used in place of the insulation of the Owens Coming Sound Attenuation Batt and Owens Coming Sonobatts and/or in any of the applications disclosed by US Patent Nos. 7,329,456 and 7,294,218 is constructed from a binderless fiberglass pack made in accordance with one or more of the embodiments disclosed by the present patent application. In an exemplary embodiment, since the fiberglass pack is binderless, there is no formaldehyde in the insulation material.

    [0153] Fiberglass insulation packs described by this patent application can be used in a wide variety of molded fiberglass products. For example, referring to Figures 15A-15C in one exemplary embodiment the binderless and/or dry binder fiberglass packs described by this application can be used to make a compression molded fiberglass product. Referring to Figure 15A, a binderless or dry binder fiberglass pack 1522 made in accordance with any of the exemplary embodiments described by this application is positioned between first and second mold halves 1502. In one exemplary embodiment, only the binderless or dry binder fiberglass pack 1522 is positioned between the mold halves. That is, not additional materials, such as plastic sheets or plastic resin are molded with the fiberglass pack.

    [0154] Referring to Figure 15B, the mold halves compress the fiberglass pack 1522 as indicated by arrows 1504. Heat is optionally applied to the mold halves and/or to the fiberglass pack as indicated by arrows 1506. For example, when the pack 1522 is a binderless fiberglass pack, the mold halves and/or to the fiberglass pack may be heated to a high temperature, such as a temperature above 371.11°C (700 degrees F), such as between 371.11°C (700 degrees F) and 593.33°C (1100 degrees F), and in one exemplary embodiment, about 482.22°C (about 900 degrees F). When the pack 1522 is a dry binder fiberglass pack, the mold halves and/or to the fiberglass pack may be heated to a lower temperature, such as the melting temperature of the dry binder of the pack.

    [0155] Referring to Figure 15C, the mold halves are then moved apart as indicated by arrows 1508 and the compression molded fiberglass part 1510 is removed. In one exemplary embodiment, the compression molded fiberglass part 1510 consists of or consists essentially of only the material of the pack 1522.

    [0156] In the example illustrated by Figures 15A-15C, the compression molded fiberglass part is contoured. However, in other exemplary embodiments the compression molded fiberglass part may be substantially flat. In one exemplary embodiment, the binderless or dry binder compression molded fiberglass part 1610 has a density that is substantially higher than the density of the originally provided fiberglass pack 1522, such as four or more times the density of the originally provided fiberglass pack 1522.

    [0157] Referring to Figure 16A-16C, in one exemplary embodiment the binderless and/or dry binder fiberglass packs described by this application can be used to make a vacuum molded fiberglass product. Referring to Figure 16A, a binderless or dry binder fiberglass pack 1522 made in accordance with any of the exemplary embodiments described by this application is positioned on a vacuum mold component 1602. In one exemplary embodiment, only the binderless or dry binder fiberglass pack 1522 is positioned on the mold component 1602. That is, not additional materials, such as plastic sheets or plastic resin are molded with the fiberglass pack.

    [0158] Referring to Figure 16B, the mold component applies a vacuum to the fiberglass pack 1522 as indicated by arrows 1604. Heat is optionally applied to the mold component 1602 and/or to the fiberglass pack as indicated by arrows 1606. For example, when the pack 1522 is a binderless fiberglass pack, the vacuum mold component 1602 and/or to the fiberglass pack 1522 may be heated to a high temperature, such as a temperature above 371.11°C (700 degrees F), such as between 371.11°C (700 degrees F) and 593.33°C (1100 degrees F), and in one exemplary embodiment, about 482.22°C (about 900 degrees F). When the pack 1522 is a dry binder fiberglass pack, the mold halves and/or to the fiberglass pack may be heated to a lower temperature, such as the melting temperature of the dry binder of the pack.

    [0159] Referring to Figure 15C, the vacuum mold component 1602 stops applying the vacuum and the vacuum molded fiberglass part 1610 is removed. In one exemplary embodiment, the compression molded fiberglass part 1610 consists of or consists essentially of only the material of the pack 1522.

    [0160] In the example illustrated by Figures 16A-16C, the vacuum molded fiberglass part is contoured. However, in other exemplary embodiments the vacuum molded fiberglass part may be substantially flat. In one exemplary embodiment, the binderless or dry binder vacuum molded fiberglass part 1610 has a density that is substantially higher than the density of the originally provided fiberglass pack 1522, such as four or more times the density of the originally provided fiberglass pack 1522.

    [0161] In one exemplary embodiment, the insulation material that is molded in accordance with the embodiment illustrated by Figure 15A-15C or the embodiment illustrated by Figures 16A-16C is made from a binderless fiberglass pack made in accordance with one or more of the embodiments disclosed by the present patent application. In an exemplary embodiment, since the fiberglass pack is binderless, there is no formaldehyde in the compression molded part 1510 or the vacuum molded part of the embodiments illustrated by Figures 15A-15C and 16A-16C.

    [0162] In one exemplary embodiment, the insulation material that is molded in accordance with the embodiment illustrated by Figure 15A-15C or the embodiment illustrated by Figures 16A-16C is made from a dry binder fiberglass pack made in accordance with one or more of the embodiments disclosed by the present patent application. In this exemplary embodiment, the dry binder may be a formaldehyde free dry binder or a no added formaldehyde binder. In a no added formaldehyde binder, the binder itself has no formaldehyde, but formaldehyde may be a byproduct if the binder is burned.

    [0163] Several exemplary embodiments of mineral fiber webs, packs, and staple fibers and methods of producing mineral fiber webs, packs, and staple fibers are disclosed by this application. Mineral fiber webs and packs and methods of producing mineral fiber webs and packs in accordance with the present invention may include any combination or subcombination of the features disclosed by the present application.

    [0164] In accordance with the provisions of the patent statutes, the principles and modes of the improved methods of forming a pack from fibrous materials have been explained and illustrated in its preferred embodiment. However, it must be understood that the improved method of forming a pack from fibrous materials may be practiced otherwise than as specifically explained and illustrated without departing from its scope.


    Claims

    1. A continuous method for forming a layered pack of glass fibers comprising:

    melting glass;

    processing the molten glass to form glass fibers;

    collecting the glass fibers in an accumulator to allow the glass fibers to cool;

    forming a binderless web from the glass fibers;

    lapping the binderless web of glass fibers to form a layered pack of glass fibers;

    mechanically entangling the fibers of the layered pack of glass fibers,
    wherein the glass fibers have a diameter range of in a range of from 2.3 micrometers to 8.9 micrometers (9 HT to 35 HT); wherein the glass fibers have a length range from about 0.64 cm (about 0.25 inches) to about 25.4 cm (about 10.0 inches); and wherein said layered pack of glass fibers has a density of 14.42 kg/m3 to 67.28 kg/m3 (0.9 lb/ft3 to 4.2 lb/ft3).


     
    2. The continuous method of claim 1, wherein the fibers are entangled by needling.
     
    3. The continuous method of claim 1, wherein the binderless web of glass fibers has an area weight of 0.49 to 1.86 kg/m3 (0.10 to 0.38 pounds per square foot) and a thickness of 1.14 cm (0.45 inches) to 3.49 cm (1.375 inches).
     
    4. The continuous method of claim 1, wherein the layered pack of glass fibers comprises 99% to 100% glass or 99% to 100% glass and inert components that do not bind the glass fibers together.
     
    5. The continuous method of claim 1, wherein a first portion of the binderless web is disposed at a top surface of the layered pack, and a second portion of the binderless web is disposed at a bottom surface of the layered pack.
     
    6. The continuous method of claim 1, wherein the glass fibers have a diameter range of in a range of from 3.8 micrometers (15 HT) to 4.8 micrometers (19HT).
     
    7. A layered, mechanically entangled pack of glass fibers comprising:

    a first binderless web of glass fibers;

    at least one additional binderless web of glass fibers disposed on the first binderless web of glass fibers;

    wherein the first binderless web has an area weight of 0.24 to 0.98 kg/m2 (0.05 to 0.2 pounds per square foot); wherein the glass fibers have a diameter range of in a range of from about 2.3 micrometers to about 8.9 micrometers (about 9 HT to about 35 HT); wherein the glass fibers have a length range from about 0.64 cm (about 0.25 inches) to about 25.4 cm (about 10.0 inches); and wherein said layered pack of glass fibers has a density of 14.42 kg/m3 to 67.28 kg/m3 (0.9 lb/ft3 to 4.2 lb/ft3).


     
    8. The layered, mechanically entangled pack of glass fibers of claim 7, wherein the first binderless web of glass fibers is lapped to form the at least one additional binderless web.
     
    9. The layered, mechanically entangled pack of glass fibers of claim 7, wherein the first binderless web of glass fibers is cross-lapped to form the at least one additional binderless web.
     
    10. The layered, mechanically entangled pack of glass fibers of claim 7, wherein the glass fibers have a diameter range of in a range of from 3.8 micrometers (15 HT) to 4.8 micrometers (19 HT).
     
    11. The layered, mechanically entangled pack of glass fibers of claim 7, wherein the pack of glass fibers comprises 99% to 100% glass or 99% to 100% glass and inert components that do not bind the glass fibers together.
     
    12. The layered, mechanically entangled pack of glass fibers of claim 7, wherein the glass fibers used to form the pack have never been compressed for packaging or shipping.
     
    13. The layered, mechanically entangled pack of glass fibers of claim 7, wherein the glass fibers are mechanically entangled by needling.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Kontinuierliches Verfahren zum Bilden einer schichtförmigen Packung von Glasfasern, umfassend:

    das Schmelzen von Glas;

    das Verarbeiten des geschmolzenen Glases, um Glasfasern zu bilden;

    das Auffangen der Glasfasern in einem Sammler, um zu gestatten, dass die Glasfasern sich abkühlen;

    das Bilden einer bindemittellosen Bahn aus den Glasfasern;

    das Überlappen der bindemittellosen Bahn aus Glasfasern, um eine schichtförmige Packung von Glasfasern zu bilden;

    das mechanische Verschlingen der Fasern der schichtförmigen Packung von Glasfasern,

    wobei die Glasfasern einen Durchmesserbereich in einem Bereich von 2,3 Mikrometern bis 8,9 Mikrometern (9 HT bis 35 HT) aufweisen; wobei die Glasfasern einen Längenbereich von etwa 0,64 cm (etwa 0,25 Zoll) bis etwa 25,4 cm (etwa 10,0 Zoll) aufweisen; und wobei die schichtförmige Packung von Glasfasern eine Dichte von 14,42 kg/m3 bis 67,28 kg/m3 (0,9 Pfund/Kubikfuß bis 4,2 Pfund/Kubikfuß) aufweist.


     
    2. Kontinuierliches Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Fasern durch Vernadeln verschlungen werden.
     
    3. Kontinuierliches Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei die bindemittellose Bahn von Glasfasern ein Flächengewicht von 0,49 bis 1,86 kg/m3 (0,10 bis 0,38 Pfund pro Quadratfuß) und eine Dicke von 1,14 cm (0,45 Zoll) bis 3,49 cm (1,375 Zoll) aufweist.
     
    4. Kontinuierliches Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei die schichtförmige Packung von Glasfasern 99 % bis 100 % Glas oder 99 % bis 100 % Glas und inerte Komponenten umfasst, die die Glasfasern nicht zusammenbinden.
     
    5. Kontinuierliches Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei ein erster Teil der bindemittellosen Bahn sich an einer oberen Fläche der schichtförmigen Packung befindet und ein zweiter Teil der bindemittellosen Bahn sich an einer unteren Fläche der schichtförmigen Packung befindet.
     
    6. Kontinuierliches Verfahren nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Glasfasern einen Durchmesserbereich in einem Bereich von 3,8 Mikrometern (15 HT) bis 4,8 Mikrometern (19 HT) aufweisen.
     
    7. Schichtförmige, mechanisch verschlungene Packung von Glasfasern umfassend:

    eine erste bindemittellose Bahn von Glasfasern;

    mindestens eine zusätzliche bindemittellose Bahn von Glasfasern, die sich auf der ersten bindemittellosen Bahn von Glasfasern befindet;

    wobei die erste bindemittellose Bahn ein Flächengewicht von 0,24 bis 0,98 kg/m2 (0,05 bis 0,2 Pfund pro Quadratfuß) aufweist; wobei die Glasfasern einen Durchmesserbereich in einem Bereich von etwa 2,3 Mikrometern bis etwa 8,9 Mikrometern (etwa 9 HT bis etwa 35 HT) aufweisen;

    wobei die Glasfasern einen Längenbereich von etwa 0,64 cm (etwa 0,25 Zoll) bis etwa 25,4 cm (etwa 10,0 Zoll) aufweisen; und wobei die schichtförmige Packung von Glasfasern eine Dichte von 14,42 kg/m3 bis 67,28 kg/m3 (0,9 Pfund/Kubikfuß bis 4,2 Pfund/Kubikfuß) aufweist.


     
    8. Schichtförmige, mechanisch verschlungene Packung von Glasfasern nach Anspruch 7, wobei die erste bindemittellose Bahn von Glasfasern sich überlappt, um die mindestens eine zusätzliche bindemittellose Bahn zu bilden.
     
    9. Schichtförmige, mechanisch verschlungene Packung von Glasfasern nach Anspruch 7, wobei die erste bindemittellose Bahn von Glasfasern sich kreuzweise überlappt, um die mindestens eine zusätzliche bindemittellose Bahn zu bilden.
     
    10. Schichtförmige, mechanisch verschlungene Packung von Glasfasern nach Anspruch 7, wobei die Glasfasern einen Durchmesserbereich im Bereich von 3,8 Mikrometern (15 HT) bis 4,8 Mikrometern (19 HT) aufweisen.
     
    11. Schichtförmige, mechanisch verschlungene Packung von Glasfasern nach Anspruch 7, wobei die Packung von Glasfasern 99 % bis 100 % Glas oder 99 % bis 100 % Glas und inerte Komponenten umfasst, die die Glasfasern nicht zusammenbinden.
     
    12. Schichtförmige, mechanisch verschlungene Packung von Glasfasern nach Anspruch 7, wobei die Glasfasern, die zum Bilden der Packung verwendet werden, nie zum Verpacken oder Versand komprimiert worden sind.
     
    13. Schichtförmige, mechanisch verschlungene Packung von Glasfasern nach Anspruch 7, wobei die Glasfasern durch Vernadeln mechanisch verschlungen werden.
     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé de formation en continu d'un empilement stratifié de fibres de verre, le procédé comprenant :

    la fusion de verre,

    la transformation du verre fondu en fibres de verre,

    le rassemblement des fibres de verre dans un accumulateur permettant aux fibres de verre de se refroidir,

    la formation d'une nappe de fibres de verre sans liant,

    la pose de la nappe de fibres de verre sans liant de manière à former un empilement stratifié de fibres de verre,

    l'entremêlement mécanique des fibres de l'empilement stratifié de fibres de verre,

    les fibres de verre ayant un diamètre compris dans la plage de 2,3 micromètres à 8,9 micromètres (9 HT à 35 HT), les fibres de verre ayant une longueur dans la plage d'environ 0,64 cm (environ 0,25 pouce) à environ 25,4 cm (environ 10,0 pouces), ledit empilement stratifié de fibres de verre présentant une masse spécifique de 14,42 kg/m3 à 67,28 kb/m3 (0,9 livre par pied cube à 4,2 livres par pied cube).


     
    2. Procédé continu selon la revendication 1, dans lequel les fibres sont emmêlées par aiguilletage.
     
    3. Procédé continu selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la nappe de fibres de verre sans liant présente une masse par unité de surface de 0,49 à 1,86 kg/m2 (0,10 à 0,38 livre par pied carré) et une épaisseur de 1,14 cm (0,45 pouce) à 3,49 cm (1,375 pouce).
     
    4. Procédé continu selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'empilement stratifié de fibres de verre comprend de 99 % à 100 % de verre ou de 99 % à 100 % de verre et de composants internes qui ne lient pas les fibres de verre les unes aux autres.
     
    5. Procédé continu selon la revendication 1, dans lequel une première partie de la nappe sans liant est disposée sur la surface supérieure de l'empilement stratifié et une deuxième partie de la nappe sans liant est disposée sur la surface de base de l'empilement stratifié.
     
    6. Procédé continu selon la revendication 1, dans lequel les fibres de verre ont un diamètre compris dans la plage de 3,8 micromètres (15 HT) à 4,8 micromètres (19 HT) .
     
    7. Empilement stratifié et emmêlé mécaniquement de fibres de verre, comprenant
    une première nappe de fibres de verre sans liant,
    au moins une nappe supplémentaire de fibres de verre sans liant disposée sur la première nappe de fibres de verre sans liant,
    la première nappe sans liant présentant une masse par unité de surface de 0,24 à 0,98 kg/m2 (0,05 à 0,2 livre par pied carré), les fibres de verre ayant un diamètre compris dans la plage d'environ 2,3 micromètres à environ 8,9 micromètres (environ 9 HT à environ 35 HT), les fibres de verre ayant une longueur comprise dans la plage d'environ 0,64 cm (environ 0,25 pouce) à environ 25,4 cm (environ 10,0 pouces), ledit empilement stratifié de fibres de verre présentant une masse spécifique de 14,42 kg/m3 à 67,28 kg/m3 (0,9 livre par pied cube à 4,2 livres par pied cube).
     
    8. Empilement stratifié et emmêlé mécaniquement de fibres de verre selon la revendication 7, dans lequel la première nappe de fibres de verre sans liant est placée de manière à former la ou les nappes sans liant supplémentaires.
     
    9. Empilement stratifié et emmêlé mécaniquement de fibres de verre selon la revendication 7, dans lequel la première nappe de fibres de verre sans liant est posée transversalement de manière à former la ou les nappes supplémentaires sans liant.
     
    10. Empilement stratifié et emmêlé mécaniquement de fibres de verre selon la revendication 7, dans lequel les fibres de verre ont un diamètre compris dans la plage de 3,8 micromètres (15 HT) à 4,8 micromètres (19 HT) .
     
    11. Empilement stratifié et emmêlé mécaniquement de fibres de verre selon la revendication 7, dans lequel l'empilement stratifié de fibres de verre comprend de 99 % à 100 % de verre ou de 99 % à 100 % de verre et de composants internes qui ne lient pas les fibres de verre les unes aux autres.
     
    12. Empilement stratifié et emmêlé mécaniquement de fibres de verre selon la revendication 7, dans lequel les fibres de verre utilisées pour former l'empilement n'ont jamais été comprimées pour l'emballage ou l'expédition.
     
    13. Empilement stratifié et emmêlé mécaniquement de fibres de verre selon la revendication 7, dans lequel les fibres sont emmêlées mécaniquement par aiguilletage.
     




    Drawing

















































































    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description