Durable, low-maintenance flooring tile — Armstrong World Industries, Inc.

Durable, low-maintenance flooring tile - Armstrong World Industries, Inc.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention is related to a decorative plastic floor tile and its method of manufacture.

2. Description of the Prior Art

It is known in the prior art to provide, where desirable, wear resistant layers. Commercial tile has been made having a non-skid surface made by heating individual pieces of ordinary vinyl tile and sprinkling the surface with carborundum grit. One then embeds the grit into the surface of the tile, the grid particles imparting the non-skid characteristic to such tile. It is also known from the prior art to provide a slip resistant surface by providing the plastic flooring product with a nubbly texture by incorporating particulate plastic material dispersed in the wear layer which is cured to form a textured wear layer. This latter is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,196,243. U.S. Pat. No. 3,267,187 discloses a textured floor covering comprising a base layer, a plastic layer, and an overlying matrix containing particulate material embedded therein. U.S. Pat. No. 4,196,243 teaches that it is old in the art to apply wear layers onto floor coverings, and particularly a non-skid photopolymerizable urethane layer. U.S. Pat. No. 3,928,706 discloses the use of hard quartz particles.

U.S. application Ser. No. 237,666, entitled «Non-Skid Plastic Flooring Product and Method of Manufacture,» filed Feb. 24, 1981 in the name of Jesse D. Miller, Jr. et al, commonly assigned with this application, now U.S. Pat. No. 4,348,447 discloses a non-skid decorative plastic floor covering composed of a decorative plastic base having a plurality of slip-resistant elements positioned on the base with a clear or translucent wear layer overlying the slip-resistant elements and the exposed intervening base.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A decorative plastic floor covering is made with a decorative plastic base having raised and depressed areas. A plurality of elements is positioned on the raised areas only and then thereover a cured clear or translucent wear layer overlies both the elements and the plastic base. The elements comprise particles embedded in a cured plastic matrix which is positioned only on the raised areas of the base. The particles are distributed on the plastic matrix in a substantially abutting relationship with a single layer of particles. The particles protrude above the matrix but are below the upper most level of the wear layer. The particles are rounded inorganic particles of quartz and have a Moh hardness greater than 4. The particles are distributed on the raised area of the base such that none of the particles are greater than about 595 microns, with about 55% of the particles being about 149 to 296 microns in size. The wear layer is a cured urethane composition.

The method of manufacture includes the steps of providing a decorative base layer, applying the plastic matrix or adhesive coating to only the raised areas of the decorative base which has both raised and depressed areas. Particles are then applied to the matrix and the particles are embedded in the matrix in a single layer structure and in a substantially abutting relationship with the upper most portion of the layer of particles protruding from the matrix. The matrix is secured and then there is applied an overall clear wear layer to form the continuous wear film over the cured elements. The upper most portion of the layer of particles are below the upper most level of the wear layer. Subsequently the wear layer is cured in position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the tile base containing the matrix, particles and wear coat, and

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of floor tile containing the matrix, particles and wear layer coating disclosed herein.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The base layer is a conventional vinyl or vinyl asbestos floor tile material in an approximate size no great than 18″×18″ and normally of a size of 12″×12″. The product is conventional in the art and it has been provided with an embossed configuration which can be seen in FIG. 2. The tile product 2 has the typically flat base 4 and an upper surface 6 which has raised areas 8 and depressed areas 9. The depressed areas are approximately 18 mils below the surface of the raised areas and vary in width from 1/16 to in excess of 1/4 inch. It is possible that the depressed areas of the floor tile could be decorated with a valley printed decorative design. The particular structure is old in the art and is sold by many manufacturers and a very well known particular type of floor tile that could be utilized is the «Excelon» floor tile of Armstrong World Industries, Inc.

Referring now to FIG. 1, to the top of the raised area 8 of the floor tile there is provided a plastic matrix or UV curable adhesive 10. The curable adhesive or plastic matrix is an acrylated polyester curable matrix.

Preparation of Acrylated Polyester Curable Matrix

To form the polyester the following ingredients were charged to a 5 liter, 5-necked flask condenser (upright) with still head and total condenser above. The flask was further equipped with mantle, stirrer, thermometer, temperature controls and gas inlet tube. The ingredients were heated gradually with stirring to 220±5° C. under nitrogen and held at this temperature until the acid number fell below 1.5±0.5. The nitrogen flow was gradually increased after about 70 percent of the theoretical water was obtained to about 700 ml per minute to help remove the water of esterification and drive the reversible equilibrium reaction to completion.

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