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Characteristics of Laminates for Car Seats

Published Online: 29 Sep 2020
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Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
First Published
19 Oct 2012
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

In the presented research, 11 different laminates were compared, 8 of them were two-layered 3 of them were three-layered laminates. The laminates that were analyzed vary by the type of face-side textile material (knitted and nonwoven textiles), density and thickness of the foam, and specific properties (higher air permeability and low-emission foam). Depending on the different types of laminates, different laminating processes are used: hot-melt, flame, and powder laminations. The purpose of the presented research is to analyze the basic characteristics of the different laminate structures. Properties that are important for these types of laminates are the number of layers, areal density, thickness, resistance to rubbing, fire resistance, water vapor permeability, air permeability, breaking force and extension, thermal conductivity, and stratification. We found that the properties of laminates were not affected by the density and thickness of the foam. Nonwovens and other laminate components do not perform because they have lower abrasion resistance and lower tensile strength than knitted fabrics as the face layer. Knit laminates have good abrasion resistance, high air permeability, and water vapor permeability. Both are self-extinguishing to the first or second mark. Three-layered laminates have lower thermal conductivity and air permeability than two-layered laminates.

Keywords

Introduction

The car is one of the inventions without which modern life is unimaginable. From the first patent of the car to the present, its image has changed a lot, both exterior and interior, although its purpose remains to carry people. Increasingly, textiles and various fibers were also used to equip the cars, which added to the comfort and appearance. At present, more than 70% of textiles can be found in the average car. First the car seat is noticed, which is one of the most important parts inside the vehicle. In the past, the seat was just a place to sit while driving, with no real support, safety, or comfort. It consisted of a seat and backrest which were much shorter than the current ones. With the development of the automotive industry, the power of the engine in the car has increased over the years, with the result that the speed of the car has increased, so upgrades to the car seats were needed. At present, the seats in the car consist of a seat, a back, across the entire height of the back for support, lateral supports, and head and neck rests. This type of seat greatly mitigates injuries in the event of a collision. The theoretical part of the thesis presents the development of car seats and the materials used from the first cars to the present. The procedures for foam laminating with seat car seat materials currently used are described. In the experimental work, laminates manufactured by the company Textile Factory Okroglica d.d. from Slovenia are presented. They vary in color, thickness, density of polyurethane (PU) foam, weight, and structure of the face side of laminate that may be obtained from nonwoven, knitted material, or thermofilm. The following measurements were performed as part of the experimental work: thickness, areal density, adhesion (stratification), abrasion resistance, water vapor permeability, air permeability, thermal conductivity, and fire resistance. The results have shown the influence of the various factors (material of the face side of the laminate, thickness, foam with lower emissions, air permeability of the foam, etc.) and the technological factors of laminating on mechanical properties, abrasion resistance, permeability properties, and fire-resistant properties of analyzed laminates for car seats.

Theoretical part
Introduction to the development of car seats

In 1808, the first cars had the same seats as the carriages. The frame was made of wood, leather, or the goods with different materials and it had been placed with springs. The horsehair, cotton, and other fibers were used as fillers and they were inspired by furniture pieces.

With the mass production of automobiles between 1900 and 1920, the horsehair and coconut fibers, which were used as fillers, began to be impregnated with natural or synthetic latex rubber to prevent them from decaying over time.

Latex foam pillows appeared during the period 1930–1940. Similar to buses in London (since 1932), initially the technology was gradually adapted to passenger cars, which was used until the 1960s. Later the PU foam was manufactured because the process was easier to handle and it also provided a more consistent product at a lower cost [1, 2, 3].

Between 1950 and 1960, car seats were refined in various fields. The seat frame was made of iron that extended its life span.

Zigzag springs were introduced on the saddle, which offered better support. The padding is replaced by a foam with improved dimensional stability, for face-side materials were used in particular synthetic fibers. The design of material was very important. That was the reason why many color combinations of leather and vinyl were used.

It was at this time that the boundary between upholstered furniture and car seats was established. Cars for the US and European markets were very different in terms of design. Single seaters, which came from European sports cars to ordinary cars, in USA and around the world, became popular [2].

Due to fuel economy, the car’s weight began to drop in the USA in 1970, which has had a dramatic impact on car seats. With increasing robotization, very light metal seat frames were produced and welded to the joints. The quality problem arose in such frames because they were very poor and the frames were breaking, twisting, and the welded joints were not holding. Foam was used as a filler and was applied to the entire seat. It contained many air bubbles, so it offered less support, especially for men who were getting bigger and heavier than previous generations. Artificial leather and fabrics were in limited shades at that time, and the resistance of fabrics to UV rays was very low, so it often happened that the upholstery fell apart in the areas most exposed to the sun. Similar problems were found in artificial leather that was torn at the seams and edges due to the poor foam padding [3].

In the 1990s, factories with military tools and technology suffered heavy losses, so they shifted their focus to the automotive industry. The car seat frames were still thin and light, but unlike the previous generation they were much more powerful and were composed of several components. Cik-zag springs were returned, which support the seating portion, and a low-density foam is replaced with a high-density one that provides good support, comfort, and longer life.

The seats were also modernized to offer:

electric heaters,

stronger mechanism and support for the lumbar part,

electric cooling units, and

side air bags (air bag).

Due to the low standard of living natural leather, as different material it is not desirable to use cheaper materials, they were much quicker wear or tearing. The shades of color were very scarce, indicating a lack of stylish interior design [1, 2, 3].

At present, the standard car seat consists of three parts: the seat, the backrest, and the head restraint. All parts are adjustable automatically or manually. It is made of a light but solid metal frame, a plastic housing, a thicker foam that gives the seat a shape, and laminate (foam and other components) with face material. Some seats also have heating and cooling, while the most modern ones have different types of effects for comfort (back massage). The color palette of the face materials is large, although shades of black, gray, and beige predominate. Also, there are different materials, such as natural leather, artificial leather, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), alcantara, fabrics made of polyamide fibers. A number of patterns and the color combination are also very important [4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].

The comfort, quality, and materials of the seats also depend on the price range of the branded car. Luxury cars have seats that are (in appearance) similar to racing car seats (shell-shaped) but differ in materials and comfort. Buyers can assemble a custom seat in terms of color and materials.

Prototypes and concepts for the future suggest that car seats will be made from fewer components, and PU foam will be replaced by new artificial fibers. At first glance, seat prototypes look uncomfortable, but manufacturers say the new seats will be more flexible and comfortable for the individual who will use the seat. Derived from patterns found in nature, the style is minimalistic but gives a sense of prestige. From an environmental point of view, new car seats will also be more environmentally friendly [4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].

Textile materials for car seats
Materials used at one time
Car seat fibers

The first seats used different fibers, which were quite durable and affordable. The padding made the seat more comfortable. It included cotton fibers, coconut fibers, and animal hair (horsehair, wild boar hair, and cow hair) [2, 3].

Coconut fibers

Coconut fiber is the only fruit fiber that is used in the car industry. It is obtained from a coconut that grows on a coconut tree. The fibers are located in the layer beneath the skin and above the shell of the coconut core that contains the coconut milk.

The technical fibers are 15 to 35 mm long and the fiber diameter ranges from 50 to 300 μm. The fibers are brown with different shades. The technical fiber has grown from individual very short fibers to a hollow tube in the middle. The fibers do not wrinkle, float on water, and are very rigid, lightweight, and good insulators. Fiber strength is low, and elongation is low and nonelastic. The fibers are difficult to whiten, but can be colored in darker tones.

It is most commonly used for making mats, nets, ropes, and brushes. It is the only natural fiber that is resistant to salt water and is therefore also used in the production of shellfish nets. Coconut fibers are also used for geotextiles, mainly due to their durability, water retention, and biodegradability [2, 3].

Horsehair

Horsehair is an animal fiber derived from the mane and tails of horses. These are very long fibers, measuring from 20 to 90 cm, and the most common color is black. The fibers are strong, elastic, shiny, and usually have a lumen, which in turn reduces the density. The mane coat is soft and has a diameter of about 50–150 μm. Coarse and more resistant hair is obtained from the tail and its diameter ranges from 75 to 280 μm, and the hair types are sold separately. The longest fibers, together with other fibers, for example cotton, are used for fabrics, medium-length fibers for brushes and brushes, and the shortest fibers for fillers in upholstered furniture and mattresses. The highest quality white hair is used for the strings on the violin bow.

It was first used in the 18th century to make use of locally produced materials to minimize dependence on imported fabrics. After the French Revolution, horse-drawn weavers appeared all over Prussia.

It became popular around the 19th century, especially for the upholstery and textile industries. At present, it is exported from Argentina, Canada, Mongolia, China and Australia [2, 3].

Cotton fibers

Cotton is one of the most commonly used fibers in the world. We get it from the cottonwood bush. The plant grows in warm and humid climates as a 1-year plantation. It blooms in pink, white, and creamy color. When the fibers grow to a certain length, the fruit bursts and the fibers penetrate the surface in the form of cotton flakes. Then they ripen in the air, while the oil from the seeds passes into the fibers, which get luster, firmness, and elongation. They are twisted during drying to form characteristic turns.

The length is very important in cotton fibers. This is divided into:

short fibers (0.95–2.4 cm),

medium-length fibers (2.54–2.86 cm),

long fibers (3–6.35 cm).

Chemical treatment to improve the quality of cotton fibers is called mercerization. In the sodium hydroxide solution, the fibers begin to unwind, lose bandages, and increase the strength, luster, and acceptability of the dye fibers.

Cotton products are very nice to touch, and they do not irritate the skin. The fiber properties are:

hydrophilicity (has an affinity for water and draws in moisture for itself),

rapid evaporation of water through the fibers,

good thermal conductivity (allows heat dissipation),

the fibers are strong and resistant to wear,

wrinkling (poorer flexibility),

suitable for clothing, kitchen linen and linen because of the possibility of washing and ironing at high temperatures which destroy microorganisms,

lack of luster, resulting in less vibrant colors,

wet fibers with a 10% higher strength.

It is used for clothing, underwear, linen, nonwoven textiles, personal hygiene accessories, and many others. It has been proven that it was used as early as 3000 BC and has spread from India to Egypt and China [2, 3].

Materials used today
Latex foam

It was started around 1920. Two major technological processes, namely Dunlop and Talalay, are known. It appeared in industrial plants in the 1930s [2, 3].

Polyurethane foam

The first PU foam was made in Germany in 1937, but it only came into production in 1954, first in Europe and later in the USA. As PU foam is useful in many areas, it has become very popular. In just a few years, it has become one of the main upholstery materials for furniture, car seats, and mattress pad. Over the years, it has expanded further into various fields, for example in the kitchen as a dishwasher and in filters, sound insulation, protective packaging, and clothing. It is lightweight, comfortable, durable, has low production costs, and is further divided into different families, allowing manufacturers a myriad of different types of foam with specific characteristics [2, 3].

At present, ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) foams, polyethylene (PE) foams, and various types of PU foams are used for car seats, depending on the preferences or requirements and the needs of car manufacturers.

Different types of foams are:

ether/ester foam,

low-emission foam,

high-permeable foam,

foam with graphite additives, and

high-strength foam.

For better dimensional stability and less wear, the foam is laminated with knits, nonwoven fabrics, films, and dust, and a light-coated car seat is easier to wear with a smooth layer. We can produce two- (bilaminates) and three-layered (trilaminates) laminates in many combinations [2].

Personal materials may be:

artificial leather,

different fabrics,

alcantara leather,

needle-bonded nonwovens, and

membranes.

Technological processes of lamination

A textile laminate is made up of two or more layers, one of which is closely related to the addition of a binder or to a softened layer of another component (PU foam for flame lamination). Depending on the number and type of layers combined and the type of binder that connects the layers, different laminates can be obtained as a final product.

From an environmental point of view, the focus is currently on the technique of flame laminating, in which the flame softens PU foam, which is subsequently bonded to the second layer of laminate by means of compression rollers. The adhesion during laminating can be on the entire surface of the textile or punctate. Here, the binder is applied as a spot coating using an engraving roller, resulting in greater flexibility and less rigidity of the laminate [10, 11].

Flame lamination

Flame laminating appeared around 1950 and it is a fast (between 25 and 40 m/min) and economical process. This kind of laminating can be used for bonding PU foam to textiles.

The gas flame network at about 950°C heats the foam that connects the textile. The combined components travel between the compression rollers, and then the laminate is wound on a roll. The three-layered laminates are possible by adding another burner to the machine. The main disadvantage is the high cost of the equipment—for example, carbon filters and absorbers are required to clean the gaseous emissions. Flame laminating is often used for automotive laminates.

Figure 1 presents the flow of the flame lamination line. First, the foam travels through the flames that melt the top layer, and then merges with the thermophilic layer and the textile. The compression roller compresses the layers so that a three-layered laminate is formed [10, 11].

Figure 1

Flame lamination line for the three-layered laminate fabrication [10, 11].

Figure 2 shows the flame lamination line located in the production section of Textile Factory Okroglica d.d.

Figure 2

Flame lamination line at TT Okroglica d.d.

Powder laminating

Copolyamides, copolyesters, PE, and EVA are most commonly used as a binder powder.

In textiles, the foam is applied as a binder powder over the entire width by means of a sieve template or by spreading. Textiles or the foam travels to the dryer, where the powder is gelled and it combines with other textiles. This is followed by compressing the two components through a smooth calendar to obtain the associated laminated layers. Layers of textiles are cooled with a cooling roller and the retractor to retract the roller of cylindrical shape [10, 11].

Figure 3 shows the flow of the individual components through the lamination line or the lamination line powder coating.

Figure 3

View of powder laminating line [10, 11]. 1, Textile X; 2, sieve with a powder; 3, sanding connective aside; 4, gelling chamber—dryer; 5, textile Y; 6, pressing smoothing calendar; 7, chill roll; 8, laminate wound.

Figure 4 shows a powder lamination line in TT Okroglica d.d.

Figure 4

Powder lamination line in TT Okroglica d.d.

Hot-melt lamination

It can be operated by means of an engraving roller, a nozzle in the form of slots, or smooth cylinders.

Laminating with an engraving roller

The most common melts of polymers used in this type of lamination are: copolyamides, copolyesters, PUs, and PE.

The hot-melt of the polymer binder is fed from the extruder by means of squeegees into the grooves of the engraving cylinder.

Component 1 travels between the engraving and guide rubber cylinders, where a hot-melt is imprinted on it by means of an engraving cylinder. Component 1 is then joined by pressing the laminating cylinder onto a compression rubber cylinder with component 2. The combined components represent the laminate (Figure 5) [10, 11].

Figure 5

Hot-melt lamination with engraving roller [10, 11].

Slot-laminating with a slot nozzle

Copolyamides, copolyesters, PUs, and the like are used as polymers for hot-melt binder formation. The laminating is carried out by pushing a polymeric melt through a slit-shaped nozzle over the entire width of the component. The thickness of the hot-melt film acting as an adhesive binder is controlled by the width of the nozzle slot. The hot-melt binder film is bonded to component 1 on the surface of the guide rubber cylinder. Component 2 is fed between the laminating and guiding rubber cylinders, which are bonded to the textile laminate by pressing the laminating cylinder onto the guide cylinder and the hot-melt film.

Figure 6 shows a laminating line with a slot in the form of a hot-melt binder [11].

Figure 6

Flow of laminating with slot-shaped nozzle [11]. 1, Dosing pump; 2, slot-shaped nozzle; 3 and 6, substrates 1 and 2; 4, transport roller; 5, guide rubber cylinder; 7, laminating roller, and 8, laminate as the final product.

Experimental part
Presentation of laminates used for car seats

The 11 different laminates used for car seats in the back area were selected for the experimental part of the presented research. They differ in thickness, density and color of the foam, face-side components (knitted textile, nonwoven textile, and thermofilm) and special foam characteristics such as higher air permeability and low-emission foam.

The foams are of different densities and characteristics, which have an impact on comfort and price. The lower the density, the lower the price of the foam. They also differ in color, which does not affect the mechanical properties of the product. Low-density foams are mostly used because they are cheaper. In more expensive cars, foams that have a higher density and, depending on the customer’s requirements, also special characteristics are used. Table 1 provides structure of laminates analyzed.

Structure of laminates

LaminateFoam density [kg/m3]Special features of the foamSecond componentAreal density of the second component [g/m2]Third componentAreal density of the third component [g/m2]
140Higher air permeabilityKnitted fabric45//
230Higher air permeabilityKnitted fabric45//
340Higher air permeabilityKnitted fabric45//
430/Knitted fabric65//
530/Knitted fabric30//
630Lower emissionsKnitted fabric30Powder70
750Lower emissionsKnitted fabric30Thermofilm20
830/Knitted fabric30Thermofilm20
930/Nonwoven textiles20//
1030/Nonwoven textiles30//
1130/Knitted fabric40//

Laminates no. 1, 2, and 3 express different foam thicknesses and densities and show the same special characteristics, the second component, and the areal density of the second component.

Laminates no. 4 and 5 have the same foam density but different thicknesses. The other component is knitted fabric for both laminates, and it differs in the mass.

The differences between laminates no. 6 and 8 are in the other foam component and special features. Laminate no. 7 has the same thermofilm with the same mass as laminate no. 8 but differs in foam type and density.

For laminates no. 9 and 10, only difference is in the thickness of the foam, and the other components are the same.

The last laminate (laminate no. 11) with a foam density of 30 kg/m3 has the sole second component of knitting with a mass of 40 g/m2.

Methods
Areal density

The areal density of laminates was determined according to ISO 3801 [12]. From each laminate, the five parallels with surface area 100 cm2 of each sample were prepared. The areal density of laminates in g/m2 was calculated using the following equation: M=mSM = {m \over S} where m = is the mass (g) and S = is the surface area (m2).

Thickness

The thickness of the specimens was measured according to ISO 5084 [13] using a device called a micrometer. The sample was placed between two parallel plates, the lower base and the upper plate (S = 64 cm2), at a pressure of 0.78 kPa, without weights. Five measurements were taken with each laminate. Thickness results are given in mm.

Stratification

The delamination was performed according to DIN 53354, method 5 [14]. The 10 samples of 20 cm x 5 cm size for each laminate, five in the longitudinal direction and five in the transverse direction, were prepared. The measurement was performed with a dynamometer Instron 6022. Each sample was separated by layers up to one-third of the length and one layer was inserted into the clamp at a distance of 50 mm. The stratification was performed to a final sample length of 500 mm/min (Figure 7).

Figure 7

Laminate pattern during delamination.

Breaking force and elongation

The breaking force and the breaking elongation were performed according to ISO 1798 [15] on a dynamometer Instron 6022. For each laminate, five specimens in the transverse direction and five in the longitudinal direction were prepared. Sample size is 15.2 cm x 2.5 cm. The sample was inserted into the upper and lower clamps at a distance of 50 mm. The elongation was performed to a rupture at a speed of 500 mm/min at a reading step of 1 mm.

Combustion test

The combustion test was performed according to FMVSS 302 [16] in a horizontal chamber (Figure 8). Each laminate was made with three samples in the transverse direction and three samples in the longitudinal direction. The dimensions of each sample were 356 mm x 100 mm. We inserted a specimen into a special metal frame, placed it in the chamber, and closed the door on which the flame burner was attached. We then observed what was happening with the sample. Depending on the behavior of the sample, an estimate is given.

Figure 8

Horizontal combustion test chamber (left) and laminate sample after test (right).

Meaning of tags:

The DNI sample does not burn.

SE (NBR) is a self-extinguishing sample before the first mark.

SE/NBR sample is self-extinguishing to the second mark, burning path <50 mm, and burning time <60 s.

The SE/BR sample is a self-extinguishing burning path of >50.

BR pattern burns along the entire length (burning path 255 mm).

Air permeability

Air permeability was measured on an Air-tronic according to SIST EN ISO 9237 [17]. The measurement was carried out in such a way that the air with a pressure of 100 Pa passed through a 20 cm2 opening to which a laminate sample was attached. The apparatus measures the air flow q, which flows through the laminate sample with specific test area under a certain pressure in l/min. The measured values of l/h were converted first to m3/min considering the test area which is expressed in m2. The air permeability was calculated using the following equation: Q=qF(m3/m2min)Q = {q \over F}\,({{\rm{m}}^3}/{{\rm{m}}^2} \cdot \min) where Q= is the air permeability (m3/m2 min), q = is the air flow—amount of air passing through the sample (l/min), and F = is the test area (cm2), in this case 20 cm2.

Thermal conductivity

The thermal conductivity method was established by the Faculty Research Laboratory and is used in common to evaluate the thermal conductivity properties [18]. Measuring the thermal conductivity is based on the transport of the heat flow from a warmer to cooler region, from the bottom of the apparatus to the top. The solid frame of the apparatus has the insulating plate with block 1. On block 1, the thick copper plate with temperature T1 = 60°C and mass m = 706 g is placed. On this plate, the glass plate with known thermal conductivity, a thin copper plate (m = 353 g), and a sample are placed, and finally a cooler copper plate with temperature T2 = 20°C and a block 2 with mass m = 2,150 g are added (Figure 9). Between the blocks is a sample with an area of 100 cm2 and a reference glass sample with known thermal conductivity and an area which is also 100 cm2. Both blocks and three measuring plates are connected to the ALMENO 2590 temperature-measuring instrument with Ni/Cr/Ni thermocouples with a diameter of 0.5 mm. The whole system is insulated.

Figure 9

The principle of measuring thermal conductivity.

Three samples for each laminate were prepared to measure thermal conductivity [18]. Each sample was placed between two copper plates and the temperature readings (°C) were read after 10, 15, and 20 min. The thermal conductivity coefficient (λ) is calculated from the following equation: λ=λnddnT4T3T3T2\lambda = \lambda n \cdot {d \over {dn}} \cdot {{T4 - T3} \over {T3 - T2}} where λn is the thermal conductivity of the reference glass pane (1.0319 W/mK), d is the = sample thickness (mm), dn is the thickness of reference glass plate (4 mm), T2 = is the temperature of cooler thick measuring copper plate (°C), T3 = is the temperature of medium-thin measuring copper plate (°C), and T4 = is the temperature of the warmer thick measuring copper plate.

Rubbing resistance

Rubbing resistance was measured on a Martindale device according to SIST EN ISO 12947-1 [19]. For each laminate, two specimens were prepared, each device alternately rubbing against the standard fabric in all directions. The specimens were trimmed in the shape of a 38 mm diameter attachment. During the cycles, we also checked the changes in the appearance of the sample and finally the weight loss. We were unable to test some of the specimens because they were too thick to fit properly on the nozzle. The measurement was performed under a load of 12 kPa.

Water vapor permeability

The water vapor permeability was measured according to the ASTM E96/E96M standard [20]. It was measured by pouring 7 ml of water into a dedicated container. The sample in the size of the opening of the container was mounted on a cap with an opening of 30 mm diameter. Water vapor passes through this opening. The container with water, sample, and cap was weighed and left in the test room for 24 h. After 1 day, we weighed it again and calculated the passage of water vapor through the laminates using the following equation. Watervaporpermeability=mSt{\rm{Water}}\,{\rm{vapor}}\,{\rm{permeability}} = {m \over {S \cdot t}} where m is the= difference in initial mass of water, sample, and seal container and total mass after 24 h (g), S = is the surface area of the lid opening (m2), t = is time (h).

Results with discussion
Areal density and thickness

The results of the areal density and thickness are given in Table 2.

Areal density and thickness of the laminates

LaminateAreal density [g/m2]Thickness [mm]
[g/m2]SD [g/m2]CV [%] [mm]SD [mm]CV [%]
14560.071.509.9350.050.49
21700.031.503.0200.031.04
36600.142.12***
42520.072.735.3930.030.47
53000.062.149.9210.080.83
61680.074.072.1650.073.24
72020.041.833.1180.030.96
84030.040.9710.3230.060.60
92190.021.007.5220.040.51
105620.071.31***
111910.031.505.1450.193.65

The sample is too thick to be measured.

, average value; SD, standard deviation; CV, variation coefficient.

It can be seen from Table 2 that the laminate areal densities range from 168 to 660 g/m2. The areal density is most influenced by the density and thickness of the foam. Laminates with a thicker foam 1, 3, 5, 8, and 10 have a larger areal density than those with a smaller thickness (2, 4, 6, 7, and 11). Laminates no. 4 and 11 have foam of the same density and thickness. They differ in the areal density of the second component (knitted fabric), which is 65 g/m2 for laminate no. 4 and 40 g/m2 for laminate no. 11.

The thicknesses of the samples vary considerably, the minimum thickness being 2.165 mm (laminate no. 6) and the largest that we could measure was 10.323 mm (laminate no. 8). We could not measure the thickness of the two laminates (no. 3 and 10) because the distance between the two tiles was too small. When measuring thickness, the second or the third component has no effect in laminates no. 1 and 11 that consist from a second component having different masses. There is also no major difference between the thickness of laminates no. 4, 11, 2, and 7. It can be concluded that an additional layer of laminate or the larger mass of the second component does not affect the thickness of the laminate.

Stratification

The results of the stratification of the laminate layers in the transverse direction are shown in Tables 3 and 4 and Figure 10. The longitudinal direction of separation of the laminate layer gives us better results compared with the transverse direction (Table 3 and Figure 10). The maximum stratification force for the separation of layers was measured for laminate no. 4 (9.88 N), and the lowest was measured for laminate no. 9 (3.43 N). The maximum stratification elongation is 118.57% for laminate no. 11 and the smallest 48.40% for laminate no. 1. Both of these laminates have knitted fabric as a second component.

Stratification of laminate layers: longitudinal direction

LaminateStratification forceStratification extension
[N]SD [N]CV [%][%]SD [N]CV [%]
16.030.243.9648.4021.0643.52
24.440.419.2382.1149.9460.82
35.250.5811,1078.9130.4938.63
49.880.484.9099.1440.6240.98
53.560.359.70102.9536.5235.47
67.071.5221.4460.2928.4147.12
75.960.9315.5572.9034.0846.75
85.530.539.6683.3231.6337.96
93,430.3510.2295.1439.0641.06
106.470.436.6890.6936.0239.72
116.320.578.98118.5721.0617.76

Dark gray, the highest value; light gray, the lowest value.

, average value; SD, standard deviation; CV, variation coefficient.

Stratification of laminate layers: transverse direction

LaminateStratification forceStratification extension
[N]SD [N]CV [%][%]SD [N]CV [%]
14.300.4710.8885.3828.4133.27
23.780.184.7685.1224.2728.51
33.860.287.1990.5336.0939.87
48.390.607.16106.9526.9025.15
53.290.319.3684.7239.2646.34
65.570.9617.18112.1632.2828.78
74.580.357.5695.7322.6723.67
83.930.082.1273.5124.3733.16
93.750.164.14110.1729.1626.47
105.840.345.78103.1532.1731.19
114.610.378.0593.1425.2627.12

Dark gray, the highest value; light gray, the lowest value.

, average value; SD, standard deviation; CV, variation coefficient.

Figure 10

Stratification force (a) and extension (b) of laminates.

From Table 4 and Figure 10, it can be seen that in the transverse direction, the most difficult to separate layers of laminate no. 4, and the smallest adhesion between the components has laminate no. 5 (3.29 N). These laminates consist of foam and knitted fabric. The breaking elongation is the highest with laminate no. 6 (112.16%) and the smallest with laminate no. 8 (73.51%).

Breaking force and elongation

The results of the breaking force, the breaking stress, and the breaking extension in the longitudinal and transverse directions are given in Tables 5 and 6 and Figure 11.

Figure 11

Breaking force (a) and extension (b) of laminates.

Breaking force, extension, and breaking stress of laminates: longitudinal direction

LaminateBreaking forceBreaking extensionBreaking stress [N/mm2]
[N]SD [N]CV [%][%]SD [%]CV [%]
1106.8417.85116.70984.633.7774.4631.782
288.989.37410.53594.744.9205.1931.678
3141.5514.83910.483102.788.5408.309*
4155.3512.2517.886114.907.1356.2102.804
591.328.2849.071141.0713.6519.6761.524
686.885.5826.42581.4311.53614.1681.665
762.358.40714.683120.189.8394.0411.173
8100.483.4643.44791.076.7337.3941.665
939.272.7737.062108.8211.95510.9860.682
1044.153.8498.71740.295.22912.977*
11103.6211.82211.409152.027.5964.9971.879

Dark gray, the highest value; light gray, the lowest value.

, average value; SD, standard deviation; CV, variation coefficient.

Breaking force, extension, and breaking stress of laminates: transverse direction

LaminateBreaking forceBreaking extensionBreaking stress [N/mm2]
[N]SD [N]CV [%][N]SD [%]CV [%]
163.535.5838.789344.5632.9809.5721.059
255.073.9387.151290.6430.28110.4191.038
355.7625.98046.590279.84109.48539.124*
480.275.9057.357293.499.4423.2171.449
589.544.0184.488209.3116.0237.6551.494
645.334.84210.682232.1712.6715.4580.868
757.267.72113.485243.5019.9378.1881.077
863.251.2311.946181.7311.5616.3621.048
929.721.3094.405120.1311.1519.2830.516
1043.164.2219.780101.5767.49366.452*
1174.642.7383.669219.716.0942.7741.353

Dark gray, the highest value; light gray, the lowest value.

, average value; SD, standard deviation; CV, variation coefficient.

In the longitudinal direction, the results of the measurements of the breaking force are higher; therefore, more force is required to break. The maximum breaking force is 155.35 N (laminate no. 4) and the lowest is 39.27 N (laminate no. 9). The highest breaking extension is 152.02% (laminate no. 11) in the longitudinal direction and the lowest breaking extension is 40.29% for laminate no. 10. The breaking stress in the longitudinal direction is the highest with laminate no. 4 (2.804 N/mm2) and the lowest with laminate no. 9 (0.682 N/mm2). The difference between the mentioned laminates lies in the second component structure, which is the knitted fabric having the highest mass of 65 g/m2 (laminate no. 4). While the laminate no. 9 with the lowest breaking stress, consists with nonwoven fabric with the mass of 20 g/m2 (laminate no. 9), and the thickness of the foam, while the density of the foams at both are equal (30 kg/m3).

The maximum breaking force in the transverse direction is 89.54 N (laminate no. 5 with knitted fabric) and the lowest breaking force is 29.72 N (laminate no. 9 with nonwoven fabric). The laminates with nonwoven fabric (laminates no. 9 and 10) express the lowest breaking force. The breaking extension is the highest with laminate no. 1 and the lowest in the laminate with nonwoven fabric (laminate no.10). Laminate no. 5, consisting of foam and knitted fabric, has a breaking stress in the transverse direction (1.494 N/mm2), and laminate no. 9, which consists of foam and nonwoven fabric, has the lowest breaking stress (0.516 N/mm2) due to the low mass and breaking stress of nonwoven fabric.

Combustion test

The results of the combustion test are shown in Table 7.

Flammability test results

LaminateBurning path [mm]Burning time [s]LabelBurning path [mm]Burning time [s]Label
Longitudinal directionTransverse direction
1//SE (NBR)//SE (NBR)
2//SE (NBR)//SE (NBR)
3//SE (NBR)//SE (NBR)
452.77SE/NBR169.24SE/NBR
137.6SE/NBR107.5SE/NBR
115.5SE/NBR139.76SE/NBR
5//SE (NBR)//SE (NBR)
6//SE (NBR)//SE (NBR)
7//SE (NBR)//SE (NBR)
8//SE (NBR)//SE (NBR)
9//SE (NBR)6677SE/NO
9783SE/NO
//SE (NBR)
103534.61SE/NBR//SE (NBR)
2926.96SE/NBR
2120.95SE/NBR
11//SE (NBR)//SE (NBR)

Most of the laminates are self-extinguishing before the first mark, and the rest are self-extinguishing to the second mark, which is a good result in case of ignition inside the car. Considering the cutting direction, which is the longitudinal and most often the burning direction (longitudinal direction from the car engine to the rear of the car), it would be better if the laminates were self-extinguishing up to the first mark or they would not even ignite.

Air permeability

The air permeability of laminates is shown in Figure 12.

Figure 12

Air permeability of laminates.

The highest air permeability is found in laminates no. 6 and 11, followed by laminates no. 2, 9, 5, 1, 8 and laminates no. 3, 4, 7, and 10. Foam laminates no. 1, 2, and 3 are supposed to have a special property—high air permeability, but according to the results we cannot confirm that, since other laminates (which are not marked for high air permeability) have similar or even better results. Laminates no. 7 and 8 are the three-layered laminates but the difference in permeability is large. Despite the fact that laminate no. 8 is thicker, it has got higher air permeability, which is affected by the lower foam density.

Thermal conductivity

The thermal conductivity of laminates is shown in Table 8.

Despite its very high thickness (9.935 mm), the laminate no. 1 expresses the highest thermal conductivity (0.173 W/m·K), while the lowest one was calculated with laminate no. 7 that is a three-layered laminate (0.082 W/m·K) with thermofilm as the third component. It can be observed that the thickness of the laminate has no effect on the thermal conductivity. The foam density is the highest with the foam layer of laminate no. 7 (50 kg/m3) and also very high in laminate no. 1 (40 kg/m3), and we can therefore conclude that the density of the foam has an effect on the lower thermal conductivity.

Rubbing resistance

The resistance of the laminates to rubbing is shown in Table 9.

Thermal conductivity of laminates

LaminateThermal conductivity, I [W/m·K]
[N]SD [W/m · K]CV [%]
10.1730.00492.86
20.1370.026919.61
3***
40.1310.00141.08
50.1580.00352.24
60.0990.00424.29
70.0820.00283.45
80.1130.053046.93
90.1470.00926.25
10***
110.1340.00574.22

Thickness cannot be measured.

Dark gray, the highest value; light gray, the lowest value.

, average value; SD, standard deviation; CV, variation coefficient.

Resistance of laminates to rubbing

LaminateThe difference in mass [%]Number of turns required to breakPilling grade
20.3012.0004
42.2036.0004
60.3036.0004
71.6715.5003
91.621.0001
111.743.5003

*The samples no. 1, 3, 5, and 8 could not be properly clamped in the apparatus.

Dark gray, the highest value; light gray, the lowest value.

The maximum number of cycles required to break is 36,000, followed by 15,500 and 12,000, and the minimum number of cycles is 1,000. Laminates no. 4 and 6 that have the highest abrasion resistance consist of foam and knitted fabric. Laminates no. 9 and 10 that consist of foam and nonwoven fabrics express the lowest abrasion resistance (1,000 turns to break).

Water vapor permeability

The water vapor permeability of the laminates for the first parallel is shown in Table 10.

Water vapor permeability of laminates

LaminateWater vapor permeability
[g/m2h]SD [g/m2h]CV [%]
187.570.000.00
289.350.000.00
373.670.420.57
478.112.513.21
579.290.000.00
687.570.000.00
778.111.682.15
884.611.681.98
981.360.420.52
1059.170.000.00
1168.054.196.15

Dark gray, the highest value; light gray, the lowest value.

, average value; SD, standard deviation; CV, variation coefficient.

The highest water vapor permeability was calculated with laminate no. 2 (89.35 g/m2h) and the lowest one was calculated with laminate no. 10 (59.17 g/m2h). Although the laminates are differently thick, the results of water vapor permeability do not differ significantly (coefficient of variation is 11.6%). Laminate no. 7 has the highest foam density but has comparable results with other laminates having a foam density of 30 or 40 kg/m3.

Conclusions

In the presented research, we have compared the mechanical and permeability properties of two- and three-layered laminates that are used for a car seat in the back area.

From the given results, it can be concluded that the mass between the analyzed laminates differs significantly, which is mainly influenced by the thickness and density of the foam. For the car seat comfort, it is preferable that the density of the laminate foam is higher, since such a foam is comfortable to sit on.

The stratification results showed that the laminate layers were more difficult to separate in the longitudinal direction. The highest stratification in both directions was measured with laminate no. 4, while the lowest one was measured with laminates no. 5 (transverse direction) and 9 (longitudinal direction). All these laminates are produced of foam and knitted fabric, so it can be concluded that in this case the second component of the laminate does not affect the stratification of the analyzed laminates.

The maximum breaking force in the longitudinal direction was measured at laminate no. 4, and in the transverse direction it was measured at laminate no. 5. The common feature of the mentioned laminates is the density of the foam. They differ in the thickness, type, and mass of the knitted fabric layer, which are the highest in laminate no. 4. The breaking extension is the lowest with laminates that consist of nonwoven fabric layer. The reason for the lower value of the laminates with nonwoven fabric layer is that they are less flexible than laminates with knitted fabric layer.

For laminates in the car, it is important that they are noncombustible, at least self-extinguishing. The laminates selected are mostly longitudinally self-extinguishing before the first mark, and some self-extinguishing to the second mark. In the transverse direction, the results are better, the more self-extinguishing the first mark. It can be concluded that the structure of the laminates itself does not, as expected, affect the combustion results of the laminates analyzed.

Air permeability is quite different between laminates analyzed. Interesting results are shown by the three-layered laminates no. 7 and 8, both of which have a knitted fabric and a thermofilm of the same mass and the foam density is larger at laminate no. 7 (50 kg/m3). Laminate no. 7, despite its smaller thickness, has much lower air permeability. It can be concluded that the reason for the lower air permeability is the higher density of the foam and its thickness, in part. Laminates that have a higher air permeability mark do not confirm these characteristics with the results because they are comparable with other laminates.

Based on the obtained thermal conductivity results, it can be concluded that, regardless of their structure, most laminates have high thermal conductivity. The thickness of the laminate does not have a significant influence, since thicker laminates also have good thermal conductivity. The lowest thermal conductivity is found in the three-layered laminates no. 6 and 7, most likely because of the extra layer (thermofilm). According to the measurement results, the highest thermal conductivity is measured in laminate no. 1 (0.173 W/m·K).

One of the most important features of car seat laminates is the abrasion resistance. The highest abrasion resistance (36,000 cycles) was measured by laminates no. 4 and 6. The first consists of foam and knitted fabric with a maximum mass and the second is a three-layered laminate of foam, knitted fabric, and binder powder. Very low abrasion resistance (1,000 cycles) was shown by laminate no. 9, consisting of foam and layer from nonwoven fabric. Laminate no. 9 is the least suitable for making a car seat because it would wear out too quickly.

The highest water vapor permeability was calculated with the laminate consisting of foam and knitted fabric (laminate no. 2). Most likely, the high water vapor permeability is influenced by the combination of low thickness and low foam density. Laminate no. 10 is the thickest, consists of foam and layer from nonwoven fabric, and has the lowest water vapor permeability. Despite the different combinations of foams and other layers, the results of water vapor permeability are quite similar. The water vapor permeability results are most influenced by the thickness of the laminates analyzed.

Based on the results obtained from the presented research, it can be concluded that laminates that are appropriate for the back side of the car seat are laminates no. 2, 4, 5, and 6 as they have high breaking stress, air permeability, abrasion resistance, and water vapor permeability.

Figure 1

Flame lamination line for the three-layered laminate fabrication [10, 11].
Flame lamination line for the three-layered laminate fabrication [10, 11].

Figure 2

Flame lamination line at TT Okroglica d.d.
Flame lamination line at TT Okroglica d.d.

Figure 3

View of powder laminating line [10, 11]. 1, Textile X; 2, sieve with a powder; 3, sanding connective aside; 4, gelling chamber—dryer; 5, textile Y; 6, pressing smoothing calendar; 7, chill roll; 8, laminate wound.
View of powder laminating line [10, 11]. 1, Textile X; 2, sieve with a powder; 3, sanding connective aside; 4, gelling chamber—dryer; 5, textile Y; 6, pressing smoothing calendar; 7, chill roll; 8, laminate wound.

Figure 4

Powder lamination line in TT Okroglica d.d.
Powder lamination line in TT Okroglica d.d.

Figure 5

Hot-melt lamination with engraving roller [10, 11].
Hot-melt lamination with engraving roller [10, 11].

Figure 6

Flow of laminating with slot-shaped nozzle [11]. 1, Dosing pump; 2, slot-shaped nozzle; 3 and 6, substrates 1 and 2; 4, transport roller; 5, guide rubber cylinder; 7, laminating roller, and 8, laminate as the final product.
Flow of laminating with slot-shaped nozzle [11]. 1, Dosing pump; 2, slot-shaped nozzle; 3 and 6, substrates 1 and 2; 4, transport roller; 5, guide rubber cylinder; 7, laminating roller, and 8, laminate as the final product.

Figure 7

Laminate pattern during delamination.
Laminate pattern during delamination.

Figure 8

Horizontal combustion test chamber (left) and laminate sample after test (right).
Horizontal combustion test chamber (left) and laminate sample after test (right).

Figure 9

The principle of measuring thermal conductivity.
The principle of measuring thermal conductivity.

Figure 10

Stratification force (a) and extension (b) of laminates.
Stratification force (a) and extension (b) of laminates.

Figure 11

Breaking force (a) and extension (b) of laminates.
Breaking force (a) and extension (b) of laminates.

Figure 12

Air permeability of laminates.
Air permeability of laminates.

Structure of laminates

LaminateFoam density [kg/m3]Special features of the foamSecond componentAreal density of the second component [g/m2]Third componentAreal density of the third component [g/m2]
140Higher air permeabilityKnitted fabric45//
230Higher air permeabilityKnitted fabric45//
340Higher air permeabilityKnitted fabric45//
430/Knitted fabric65//
530/Knitted fabric30//
630Lower emissionsKnitted fabric30Powder70
750Lower emissionsKnitted fabric30Thermofilm20
830/Knitted fabric30Thermofilm20
930/Nonwoven textiles20//
1030/Nonwoven textiles30//
1130/Knitted fabric40//

Breaking force, extension, and breaking stress of laminates: transverse direction

LaminateBreaking forceBreaking extensionBreaking stress [N/mm2]
[N]SD [N]CV [%][N]SD [%]CV [%]
163.535.5838.789344.5632.9809.5721.059
255.073.9387.151290.6430.28110.4191.038
355.7625.98046.590279.84109.48539.124*
480.275.9057.357293.499.4423.2171.449
589.544.0184.488209.3116.0237.6551.494
645.334.84210.682232.1712.6715.4580.868
757.267.72113.485243.5019.9378.1881.077
863.251.2311.946181.7311.5616.3621.048
929.721.3094.405120.1311.1519.2830.516
1043.164.2219.780101.5767.49366.452*
1174.642.7383.669219.716.0942.7741.353

Resistance of laminates to rubbing

LaminateThe difference in mass [%]Number of turns required to breakPilling grade
20.3012.0004
42.2036.0004
60.3036.0004
71.6715.5003
91.621.0001
111.743.5003

Water vapor permeability of laminates

LaminateWater vapor permeability
[g/m2h]SD [g/m2h]CV [%]
187.570.000.00
289.350.000.00
373.670.420.57
478.112.513.21
579.290.000.00
687.570.000.00
778.111.682.15
884.611.681.98
981.360.420.52
1059.170.000.00
1168.054.196.15

Stratification of laminate layers: longitudinal direction

LaminateStratification forceStratification extension
[N]SD [N]CV [%][%]SD [N]CV [%]
16.030.243.9648.4021.0643.52
24.440.419.2382.1149.9460.82
35.250.5811,1078.9130.4938.63
49.880.484.9099.1440.6240.98
53.560.359.70102.9536.5235.47
67.071.5221.4460.2928.4147.12
75.960.9315.5572.9034.0846.75
85.530.539.6683.3231.6337.96
93,430.3510.2295.1439.0641.06
106.470.436.6890.6936.0239.72
116.320.578.98118.5721.0617.76

Areal density and thickness of the laminates

LaminateAreal density [g/m2]Thickness [mm]
[g/m2]SD [g/m2]CV [%] [mm]SD [mm]CV [%]
14560.071.509.9350.050.49
21700.031.503.0200.031.04
36600.142.12***
42520.072.735.3930.030.47
53000.062.149.9210.080.83
61680.074.072.1650.073.24
72020.041.833.1180.030.96
84030.040.9710.3230.060.60
92190.021.007.5220.040.51
105620.071.31***
111910.031.505.1450.193.65

Thermal conductivity of laminates

LaminateThermal conductivity, I [W/m·K]
[N]SD [W/m · K]CV [%]
10.1730.00492.86
20.1370.026919.61
3***
40.1310.00141.08
50.1580.00352.24
60.0990.00424.29
70.0820.00283.45
80.1130.053046.93
90.1470.00926.25
10***
110.1340.00574.22

Breaking force, extension, and breaking stress of laminates: longitudinal direction

LaminateBreaking forceBreaking extensionBreaking stress [N/mm2]
[N]SD [N]CV [%][%]SD [%]CV [%]
1106.8417.85116.70984.633.7774.4631.782
288.989.37410.53594.744.9205.1931.678
3141.5514.83910.483102.788.5408.309*
4155.3512.2517.886114.907.1356.2102.804
591.328.2849.071141.0713.6519.6761.524
686.885.5826.42581.4311.53614.1681.665
762.358.40714.683120.189.8394.0411.173
8100.483.4643.44791.076.7337.3941.665
939.272.7737.062108.8211.95510.9860.682
1044.153.8498.71740.295.22912.977*
11103.6211.82211.409152.027.5964.9971.879

Stratification of laminate layers: transverse direction

LaminateStratification forceStratification extension
[N]SD [N]CV [%][%]SD [N]CV [%]
14.300.4710.8885.3828.4133.27
23.780.184.7685.1224.2728.51
33.860.287.1990.5336.0939.87
48.390.607.16106.9526.9025.15
53.290.319.3684.7239.2646.34
65.570.9617.18112.1632.2828.78
74.580.357.5695.7322.6723.67
83.930.082.1273.5124.3733.16
93.750.164.14110.1729.1626.47
105.840.345.78103.1532.1731.19
114.610.378.0593.1425.2627.12

Flammability test results

LaminateBurning path [mm]Burning time [s]LabelBurning path [mm]Burning time [s]Label
Longitudinal directionTransverse direction
1//SE (NBR)//SE (NBR)
2//SE (NBR)//SE (NBR)
3//SE (NBR)//SE (NBR)
452.77SE/NBR169.24SE/NBR
137.6SE/NBR107.5SE/NBR
115.5SE/NBR139.76SE/NBR
5//SE (NBR)//SE (NBR)
6//SE (NBR)//SE (NBR)
7//SE (NBR)//SE (NBR)
8//SE (NBR)//SE (NBR)
9//SE (NBR)6677SE/NO
9783SE/NO
//SE (NBR)
103534.61SE/NBR//SE (NBR)
2926.96SE/NBR
2120.95SE/NBR
11//SE (NBR)//SE (NBR)

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