Velour-like pile articles and pile surface structures and methods of making

April 13, 2004

An automotive pile article arranged as a preform for a pile surface mat has been patented. It is comprised of an elongated support strand that has a thermoplastic outer surface and a width and a height. The strand comprises a core of continuous glass filaments and at least one multifilament staple yarn wrapped partially around the core. A number of thermoplastic bulkable continuous filaments are bonded to one circumferential region of the strand surface and along its length. The region defines a strand base with the filaments forming an elongated, loosely entangled array of filaments extending outward from the strand in two separate pile rows connected by a base region. The base region has a dense portion of filaments bonded together, secured to the surface of the support strand at the base, The filaments in each row have a pile length measured from the strand of between 2.5 millimeters (0.1 inches)-2.7 millimeters (0.5 inches). The circumferential region along the length of the strand forms a base plane for the elongated pile article, and the pile filaments along a lower side for each row adjacent the base plane define a lower filament plane for each row that is at an angular orientation within 10 degrees to the base plane. The angle has an origin in the base plane aligned with the width of the strand, and the filaments at the opposed upper side of each row form an upper filament plane for each row that is at an angular orientation to the base plane of 45-90 degrees. This contains the entangled array of filaments in the separate rows so the strand is accessible. The pile article has a guide groove on one both sides of the strand between the strand and the corresponding pile row forming an elongated guide ridge formed by the strand that is accessible between the separate rows. The pile article is arranged in closely spaced rows of 6-10 per inch, and is attached directly to a tacky uncured rubber sheet that has a thickness of 0.8-5.0 mm (30-200 mils). The base region of the pile articles are embedded into the rubber sheet to a depth of 0.13-0.64 mm (5-25 mils).