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NOVEMBER 16 - 19, 2020
The Roosevelt New Orleans
New Orleans, LA, USA
NOVEMBER 16 - 19, 2020
Hyatt Regency Houston
Houston, Texas, USA
NOVEMBER 16 - 19, 2020
Hyatt Regency Houston
Houston, Texas, USA
Thursday, November 14
9:00 am - 11:30 am

Innovative Components & Concepts

Fundamentals of Fiber in Fluid Movement

Absorbent hygiene products such as diapers and sanitary pads have been a

necessity for centuries. As products have evolved from being comprised of

grasses and animal furs through various other materials and forms, one thing

has remained constant, the need for fibers (elongated elements) of one kind

or another. The use of cellulose fibers in absorbent hygiene products dates

back to the early 20th century, when nurses began using wood pulp bandages

to make sanitary pads. During World War II the original use of creped

cellulose tissue in diapers began, as an alternative to cotton cloth diapers

since cotton was needed in the war effort as a raw material for “gun cotton”

(nitrocellulose explosives). This began the evolution of the disposable

products, in some cases relying on up to 60-70 grams or more of cellulose

fibers to absorb liquid and reduce leakage.

As time progressed, airlaid applications and superabsorbent polymers were

introduced, and cellulose fibers usage decreased. Although usage decreased,

cellulose fibers provide fundamental attributes (based on their shape and

hydrophilicity) in absorbent hygiene products that are difficult to obtain by

SAP, synthetic fibers and nonwovens from same. Now, over a century later,

absorbent hygiene products have evolved and cellulose fibers remain a key

sustainable raw material offering properties such as absorbency, wicking, dry

and wet strength. In addition to intrinsic properties of native cellulose fibers,

fluff pulp producers have extended and added new features to meet

consumer demands such as comfort, odor control, skin wellness, and more.

This presentation will explore the science of fluid-flow, the physical

processes that govern mass transport of liquid (especially against the “arch

enemies”, gravity and pressure) and the fundamental requirement for “fibershaped”

elements in effective product designs.


» Bob Hamilton, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist, International Paper, Global Cellulose Fibers


Bob grew up in Tucson, Arizona. He obtained his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 1989 from the University of Washington, Seattle, and has been with International Paper ever since. Bob started his career in R&D for absorbent products (mainly diapers) and other aspects of water/cellulose interactions for many years before becoming the lead scientist for THRIVE™, International Paper’s cellulose fiber reinforced polymer composite line. He has since returned to the absorbency arena, where he focuses on improving all aspects of absorbent products’ performance.