Journal article
3D-oriented fiber networks made by foam forming

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Publication Details
Author list: UESAKA T, ALIMADADI M, ALIMADADI M, UESAKA T
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Publication year: 2016
Start page: 661
End page: 671
Number of pages: 11
ISSN: 0969-0239
View additional information: View in Web of Science™

Abstract

In industrial applications, such as paper and nonwovens, cellulose fibers are used in the form of a network where the fibers are oriented more or less in the sheet-plane direction. However, in many biological systems, fibers are instead oriented in a three-dimensional (3D) space, creating a wide variety of functionalities. In this study we created a 3D-oriented fiber network on the laboratory scale and have identified some unique features of its structure and mechanical properties. The 3D fiber network sheets were prepared by using foam-forming as well as modifying consolidation and drying procedures. The fiber orientation and tensile/compression behavior were determined. The resulting sheets were extremely bulky (above 190 cm3/g) and had extremely low stiffness (or high softness) compared to the reference handsheets. Despite this high bulk, the sheets retained good structural integrity. We found that a 3D-oriented fiber network requires much less fiber-fiber contact to create a connected (“percolated”) network than a two-dimensionally oriented network. The compression behavior in the thickness direction was also unique, characterized by extreme compressibility because of its extreme bulk and a long initial increase in the compression load as well as high strain recovery after compression because of its fiber reorientation during compression.


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