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Failure is Good: Perforation Patterns and Stretchy Paper Towels Disclosure Number: IPCOM000247729D
Publication Date: 2016-Sep-30
Document File: 19 page(s) / 32M

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database

Related People

Hollingsworth, Nathaniel: AUTHOR


Engineering analyses are often targeted to help design parts and systems that provide a margin of safety against failure. More sophisticated models that include plasticity, damage, and failure help the analyst asses the part or system's ability to continue to serve its intended function safely in a partially-damaged state. However, at Kimberly-Clark we like failure—specifically when consumers are tearing a paper towel off the roll (known as "dispensing" in the parlance of consumer packaged goods). By utilizing Abaqus, the essential roles the mechanical behavior (including failure) of the towel and the perforation pattern have in dispensing has become clearer. In 2014, Kimberly-Clark launched a new, stretchable paper towel, VIVA® Vantage® (denoted Vantage). Vantage towels are unique in that they can stretch about four times further than other paper towels before tearing. To explore dispensing performance, the towels were modeled with a neo-Hookean hyperelastic model combined with a plasticity model, damage initiation criteria, and a damage evolution rule. New mechanical tests were developed to calibrate the material model. Perforation patterns were parameterized to investigate the interplay of the mechanical properties and the perforation pattern. Both the material calibration process and the perforation pattern analysis were accelerated through programmatically generating models through the Abaqus Python API. Developing the method for simulating VIVA Vantage dispensing performance provided additional value for the corporation after other paper towel and bath tissue product teams integrated modeling into their workflow.

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Slide 1 of 19

Failure is Good: Perforation Patterns and Stretchy Paper Towels

Nathaniel Hollingsworth



Slide 2 of 19

Lead the World in Essentials for a Better Life

43,000employees worldwide

$18.6 Billion in Net Sales in 2015

#1 or #2 share positionin 80 countries

Nearly one-quarter of the world’s population use our products daily




Slide 3 of 19

The Stretchy-strength of VIVA Vantage®

Downloaded from our Canada VIVA Vantage site:



In 2014, Kimberly-Clark launched a new, stretchy paper towel, VIVA Vantage. This commercial helps demonstrate the practical aspects of the new towel.


Slide 4 of 19

VIVA Vantage is Strong; so Why is Failure Good?

Tear (fail) along perforations

Strong in the sheet


[This slide contains 1 picture or other non-text object]


As we saw in the video – VIVA Vantage made of a strong, stretchy material.

So, why is failure good? We need to tear a towel from the roll in a controlled fashion.

In Kimberly-Clark parlance, this is called “dispensing”.

Ideal dispensing happens when the tear propagates along the intended perforations.


Slide 5 of 19

Problem Statement

Key question: How can we design the perforation pattern so the towels dispense along the perforations?

Consequence: to answer the question we have to model failure



Introduce video:

Compare two K-C products: SCOTT paper towels and VIVA Vantage

VIVA Vantage stretches much further than the other towel

No perforations in these two samples

Speckle-coated specimens to help illustrate stretch

Introduce Project

Product developers were concerned the unique stretch behavior may cause issues with dispensing

Key question:


Slide 6 of 19

The Perforation Pattern

Sheet width: total width of the sheet

Bond width: distance between perforations

Bond fraction: % of material connecting the two sheets


Sheet Width

Bond Width







Slide 7 of 19

Study Design




To model dispensing, three components had to be developed:

Experimental work to provide information for the simulation

Calibrating the material model

Parameterize the model to run many iterations quickly


Slide 8 of 19

Data for Material Characterization: Overview



Plastic strain




Thought experiment:

  Situation: pulling paper towel from roll by pulling from one side toward the other

  The material connecting the towel to the roll (between the perforations, called “bonds”) neatly “pops” one at a time

  Tear propagates from one side of the towel to the other


  Loading is important for applying stress to the bonds

  Unloading is important because the rest of the towel “pulls back” when one bond pops and the force is transferred to the next bond

  Plastic strain is important to balance the load transfer as bonds pop

  Damage/failure are important to allow the process to propagate


Slide 9 of 19

Data for Material Characterization: Loading and Unloading



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