Absorbent article having a lateral breathability gradient in...

Surgery – Means and methods for collecting body fluids or waste material – Absorbent pad for external or internal application and...

Reexamination Certificate

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Details

C604S385220

Reexamination Certificate

active

06414217

ABSTRACT:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to absorbent articles, desirably disposable absorbent articles, which have a distinctive extensible outer cover that provides zoned breathability in use.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
It is desired that absorbent articles such as diapers, training pants or incontinence garments provide a close, comfortable fit about the wearer and contain body exudates while maintaining skin health. In certain circumstances, it is also desirable that such absorbent articles are capable of being pulled up or down over the hips of the wearer to allow the wearer or caregiver to easily pull the article on and easily remove the article if it has not been soiled. For example, such absorbent articles can assist in the toilet training of children.
Many conventional absorbent articles have typically employed fasteners that attach the waist sections of the articles around a wearer as well as various configurations of waist elastics, leg elastics, elasticized liners, and elasticized outer covers. The fasteners and elastic components have been employed to help produce and maintain the fit of the articles about the body contours of the wearer that can lead to improved containment.
Maintaining this fit as the wearer moves and changes body position has been particularly difficult. For example, articles such as diapers are typically applied while the wearer is in a prone position wherein their torso is extended and their abdomen is sunken. As the wearer changes from the prone position to a sitting position, the wearer's torso compresses and their abdomen extends outwardly thereby exerting forces on the article. If the waistband of the article does not have enough “give”, such forces can cause the waistband to shift that can undesirably result in increased leakage.
In an attempt to provide a maintained fit during movement, some conventional absorbent articles have included an outer cover composed of elastomeric materials, such as elastomeric, stretch-bonded-laminate materials. Such materials have included a layer of meltblown elastomeric fibers which has been stretched and sandwiched between facing layers composed of polypropylene spunbond nonwoven materials. The meltblown layer has typically been pattern-bonded to the facing layers with thermal bonds, sonic bonds and/or adhesive bonds. Other conventional absorbent articles have included folded pleats in the outer cover. The pleats are arranged to expand open as the article absorbs liquids.
In absorbent articles that are capable of being pulled up or down over the hips of the wearer, the ability of the article to provide and maintain the desired fit is particularly important. For example, some conventional absorbent articles, such as conventional training pants, have included integral side panels that connect the front waist section to the back waist section of the absorbent article. The side panels have been made stretchable such that the waist opening of the absorbent article can expand to allow the absorbent article to be pulled up or down over the hips of the wearer if desired. Such side panels have also been designed such that they may be tom to remove the training pant from the wearer after it has been soiled but typically are not refastenable.
Moreover, in an attempt to reduce the humidity level within such absorbent articles to help maintain the health of the wearer's skin, breathable polymer films have been employed as outer covers for such absorbent articles. The breathable films are typically constructed with micropores to provide desired levels of liquid impermeability and air permeability. Other absorbent article designs have been arranged to provide breathable regions in the form of breathable panels or perforated regions in otherwise vapor-impermeable outer covers to help ventilate the articles.
However, many of such attempts to provide absorbent articles that provide the desired fit while maintaining breathability have not been completely satisfactory. For example, some absorbent articles that include elastic outer cover materials have resulted in excessive skin irritation as it has been difficult to control the tension in such products. Moreover, such elastic outer covers typically have not exhibited the desired resistance to leakage as they have not readily expanded to provide void volume for the containment of fecal exudates. In addition, absorbent articles such as training pants have not always been able to achieve a close conforming fit to the wearer while still being able to expand enough to be pulled up and down over the hips of the wearer. Often such training pants fit the waist of the wearer loosely, which can undesirably result in leaks. As a result, many of such articles have not contained bodily exudates as effectively as conventional diaper-type articles which can be adjusted to achieve a more conforming fit to the wearer.
Further, articles which employ selectively located breathable panels can be difficult to manufacture. In addition, articles that employ microporous or perforated films that are highly breathable over their entire surface can exhibit excessive leakage of liquids or high levels of moisture or dampness on their outer surface in the region of the article receiving the greatest insults. As a result, the breathability of such microporous and perforated films has been maintained at relatively low levels to reduce the incidence of leakage and dampness on the outer cover. Thus, many of such absorbent articles have not been able to maintain a high level of breathability to sufficiently reduce the hydration of the wearer's skin. As a result, the wearer's skin has remained susceptible to rashes, abrasion and irritation.
Accordingly, despite the attempts to develop improved absorbent articles, there remains a need for absorbent articles that can provide improved fit, resistance to leakage and breathability without excessive irritation to the skin of the wearer. Moreover, in some circumstances, there remains a need that such absorbent articles provide the benefits of conventional training pants and conventional diapers. That is, there remains a need for absorbent articles that conform to the wearer to effectively contain bodily exudates, are breathable and are capable of being pulled up and down over the hips and buttocks of the wearer.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
In response to the difficulties and problems discussed above, new absorbent article designs have been discovered which provide improved breathability, fit and containment. Generally stated, the present invention provides a disposable absorbent article that defines a front waist section, a rear waist section, an intermediate section which extends between and connects the waist sections, a pair of laterally opposed side edges, a pair of longitudinally opposed waist edges, a longitudinal direction and a lateral direction. The absorbent article includes a substantially liquid-impermeable outer cover, a liquid permeable bodyside liner and an absorbent body located between the outer cover and the bodyside liner. The absorbent article may also include a pair of fasteners located on the laterally opposed side edges in one of the waist sections. In certain aspects, the disposable absorbent article may be provided in a prefastened, pant-like configuration such that the article can be pulled on or off over the hips of the wearer similar to conventional training pants. For example, the fasteners may refastenably attach the laterally opposed side edges in the front waist section to the laterally opposed side edges in the rear waist section to provide the pant-like, prefastened absorbent article prior to packaging the articles.
In particular aspects, the outer cover may be extensible and configured to provide a substantially permanent deformation of at least about 10 percent, desirably at least about 15 percent, particularly at least about 17 percent, more desirably at least about 20 percent, even more desirably at least about 25 percent, and yet even more desirably at least about 30 percent when subjec

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