U.S. Patent No.: 8,246,594 B2
Inventor(s): Michael D. Sperl, Waupaca, WI, U.S.; and Davis Dang Hoang Hhan, Appleton, WI, U.S.
Company: Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc., Neenah, WI, U.S.
An absorbent article having a longitudinal axis, a lateral axis, a front waist region, a back waist region, and a crotch region extending longitudinally between and interconnecting said front and back waist regions, said article comprising: an outer cover stretchable in at least the lateral direction; a liner in opposed relationship with the outer cover and stretchable in at least the lateral direction; and an absorbent structure disposed between the liner and the outer cover and extending from the crotch region to at least one of the front waist region and the back waist region of the article; the article having an attachment zone within which the absorbent structure is secured to at least one of the liner and the outer cover, and at least one non-attachment zone, laterally adjacent the attachment zone, within which the absorbent structure is free from securement to the liner and the outer cover, the absorbent structure having at least one weakening element disposed therein at least in part within the attachment zone of the article and configured to reduce a resistance of the absorbent structure within said attachment zone to stretching in at least the lateral direction; said absorbent article having a ratio of lateral extension energy in the non-attachment zone to the lateral extension energy in the attachment zone as determined by a Material Elongation Test, said lateral extension energy ratio being greater than a lateral extension energy ratio of an identically constructed absorbent article but with the absorbent structure being free from said at least one weakening element.