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Title:
UPPER FOR AN ARTICLE OF FOOTWEAR AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING THE SAME
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/101789
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A textile component includes a yarn which includes a thermoplastic material. A blowing agent with at least activation condition is included into the textile, either by inclusion in the yarn or impregnating in the textile after forming an un-foamed textile. Upon triggering the activation condition of the blowing agent, the blowing agent introduces a plurality of cavities, i.e. cells, into the thermoplastic material. The textile then comprises a multicellular foam area of the textile wherein the multicellular foamed area comprises a multicellular foam surrounding a core yarn. The textile, in either its un-foamed or foamed condition, can be incorporated into a variety of articles, such as an article of footwear.

Inventors:
BARANEK AUSTIN (US)
FRASER KATHARINE (US)
HIPP STEPHEN (US)
MOLYNEUX JAMES (US)
ORME KRISTEN (US)
ST CLAIR MARGARET (US)
ZHAO YANG (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2020/060247
Publication Date:
May 27, 2021
Filing Date:
November 12, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
NIKE INNOVATE CV (US)
NIKE INC (US)
International Classes:
D04B1/12; A43B23/02; D01D5/247; D01D11/06; D01F1/08; D02G3/36; D02G3/40; D04B1/04; D06M15/227; D06M15/333; D06M23/04; D06M23/12
Foreign References:
US20070141335A12007-06-21
US4197345A1980-04-08
EP2530195A12012-12-05
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RITTNER, Mindy, N. et al. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. An upper for an article of footwear comprising: a textile including a first yarn, the first yarn comprising a core yarn and a first thermoplastic material forming an unfoamed coating at least partially surrounding the core yarn; wherein the core yarn comprises a plurality of fibers or filaments, each of the plurality of fibers or filaments comprising a core material; and wherein the first thermoplastic material comprises at least one first thermoplastic polymer chosen from a thermoplastic polyurethane, a thermoplastic polyolefin, a thermoplastic polyester, a thermoplastic polyether, a thermoplastic polyamide, or any combination thereof; and a chemical blowing agent, wherein the chemical blowing agent is present in the first thermoplastic material in an amount effective to foam the unfoamed coating of the first thermoplastic material into a multicellular foam.

2. The upper for an article of footwear of any claim 1 , wherein the textile is a knitted textile, and the knitted textile further comprises a second yarn.

3. The upper for an article of footwear of claim 2, wherein the first yarn is inlayed in the knitted textile between courses of the second yarn.

4. The upper for an article of footwear of claim 2, wherein the second yarn is interlooped with at least one loop of the first yarn.

5. The upper for an article of footwear of any of claims 1 -4, wherein the first thermoplastic material comprises the thermoplastic polyolefin and the thermoplastic polyolefin includes a thermoplastic ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer, wherein the chemical blowing agent is a thermally-activated chemical blowing agent, wherein the first thermoplastic material further comprises a thermally-activated cross-linking agent, and wherein the core material comprises a thermoplastic polyester.

6. An upper for an article of footwear comprising: a textile comprising a multicellular foam at least partially surrounding and attached to a core yarn; wherein the core yarn comprises a plurality of fibers or filaments, each of the plurality of fibers or filaments comprising a core material; and wherein the multicellular foam is the product of processing an unfoamed coating at least partially surrounding the core yarn to expand the unfoamed coating into the multicellular foam; wherein the multicellular foam comprises a first polymeric material including at least one first polymer chosen from a polyurethane, a polyolefin, a polyether, a polyamide, or any combination thereof; and the degradation product of a chemical blowing agent.

7. The upper for an article of footwear of claim 6, wherein the unfoamed coating comprises a first thermoplastic material including at least one first thermoplastic polymer chosen from a thermoplastic polyurethane, a thermoplastic polyolefin, a thermoplastic polyester, a thermoplastic polyether, a thermoplastic polyamide, or any combination thereof; and a chemical blowing agent, wherein the chemical blowing agent is present in the first thermoplastic material in an amount effective to foam the unfoamed coating of the first thermoplastic material into the multicellular foam.

8. The upper for an article of footwear of claim 7, wherein the first polymeric material is a cross-linked polymeric material.

9. The upper for an article of footwear of claim 8, wherein the unfoamed coating comprises a first thermoplastic material including at least one first thermoplastic polymer chosen from a thermoplastic polyurethane, a thermoplastic polyolefin, a thermoplastic polyester, a thermoplastic polyether, a thermoplastic polyamide, or any combination thereof; a cross-linking agent; and a chemical blowing agent, wherein the chemical blowing agent is present in the first thermoplastic material in an amount effective to foam the unfoamed coating of the first thermoplastic material into the multicellular foam.

10. The upper for an article of footwear of any one of claims 7 to 9, wherein the multicellular foam has a hardness from about 30 to about 60 as measured by an Asker C durometer.

11. The upper for an article of footwear of any one of claims 7 to 10, wherein the textile further comprises a second yarn, and the second yarn is exposed on a first surface of the textile.

12. The upper for an article of footwear of any one of claims 7 to 11 , wherein the multicellular foam defines a foamed area on the first surface of the textile.

13. The upper for an article of footwear of claim 12, wherein the textile includes a plurality of the foamed areas, and at least three of the plurality of foamed areas are regularly spaced or periodically arranged relative to each other.

14. The upper for an article of footwear of claim 12, wherein the textile includes a plurality of the foamed areas, and the plurality of foamed areas are randomly dispersed across the first surface of the textile.

15. The upper for an article of footwear of claim 12, wherein the foamed area has a shape, and the shape is a representative shape.

16. A method for processing an upper for an article of footwear, the method comprising the steps of: forming a foamed area in a textile portion of the upper by expanding at least a portion of an unfoamed coating of a yarn present in the textile into a multicellular foam by increasing a temperature of the yarn to a first processing temperature; after expanding the unfoamed coating into the multicellular foam, decreasing a temperature of the multicellular foam to a second processing temperature at which the multicellular foam adheres to the core yarn, adheres to a surrounding portion of the textile, and solidifies while retaining its multicellular structure, thereby forming the foamed area in the textile portion; wherein the yarn comprises a core yarn and a first thermoplastic material forming the unfoamed coating, the first thermoplastic material at least partially surrounds the core yarn, the core yarn comprises a plurality of fibers or filaments, and each of the plurality of fibers or filaments comprising a core material; wherein the first thermoplastic material comprises at least one first thermoplastic polymer chosen from a thermoplastic polyurethane, a thermoplastic polyolefin, a thermoplastic polyester, a thermoplastic polyether, a thermoplastic polyamide, or any combination thereof, the first thermoplastic material further comprises a blowing agent, and the blowing agent is present in the first thermoplastic material in an amount effective to expand the unfoamed coating of the first thermoplastic material into a multicellular foam; and wherein the first processing temperature is a temperature at or above a softening temperature of the first thermoplastic material.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein the multicellular foam is a cross- linked foam, and the first thermoplastic material further comprises a cross-linking agent.

18. The method of claim 16 or 17, wherein the core material is a second thermoplastic material, and the first processing temperature is a temperature at least 20 degrees Celsius below a softening temperature of the second thermoplastic material.

19. The method of any one of claims 16-18, wherein the blowing agent is a thermally-activated blowing agent, and the first processing temperature is a temperature at or above the activation temperature of the thermally-activated blowing agent, and optionally, when the multicellular foam is a cross-linked foam and the first thermoplastic material further comprises a thermally-activated cross- linking agent, the first processing temperature is a temperature at or above the activation temperature of the thermally-activated cross-linking agent.

20. An upper for an article of footwear made by the method of any one of the claims 16-19.

Description:
UPPER FOR AN ARTICLE OF FOOTWEAR AND METHOD OF MANUFACTURING THE SAME

RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present patent document claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) to U.S. Provisional Patent Application 62/937,092, filed on November 18, 2019, to U.S. Provisional Patent Application 62/939,110, filed on November 22, 2019, and to U.S. Provisional Patent Application 62/937,117, filed on November 18, 2019. All of the aforementioned patent applications are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present disclosure relates generally to a textile made with a foamable yarn, a method of processing a textile with a foamable yarn, the textile that results from processing the foamable yarn, a textile including a processed foamed yarn, an article incorporating a textile including a foamable yarn, and an article that incorporates a processed textile including a foamed yarn.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Textiles have long been used in the manufacture of various articles of apparel, footwear, and more. The incorporation of a textile can add desirable texture or other characteristics such as elasticity, strength, weight, durability, texture, breathability, cushioning, and other properties. Manufacture of the textile can include any of a number of techniques, including knitting, crocheting, weaving, in-laying, among others. These various techniques can impart different properties to the textile, such as texture, density, pattern, weave, drape, rigidity, strength, elasticity, among others. Additionally, various processes of incorporating yarn into a textile may facilitate the textile manufacture. An article made of such a textile can be manufactured efficiently with minimal material waste.

[0004] Additionally, polymeric foamed products have a variety of advantages including a low raw material consumption, low density, excellent thermal and acoustic insulation, mechanical dampening and shock absorption, low water vapor permeability, reduced moisture absorption, and more. These properties make foams useful in a variety of sectors, including packaging, thermal/acoustic insulation, upholstery, footwear and apparel.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] The embodiments may be better understood with reference to the following drawings and description. The components in the figures are not necessarily to scale. In the figures, like-referenced numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the different views.

[0006] Figure 1 : a cross-sectional rendering of a foamable textile before processing;

[0007] Figures 2A-2F: cross-sectional renderings of various examples of a foamed textile after processing with a first surface texture and a second surface texture;

[0008] Figures 3A-3C: cross-sectional renderings of various examples of multi layer foamed textiles after processing with a first surface texture and a second surface texture;

[0009] Figure 4: a perspective view of a foamable textile before processing;

[0010] Figure 5: a perspective view of a foamed textile after processing with a first surface texture and a second surface texture;

[0011] Figures 6A-6C: cross-sectional views of renderings of an example of the application of a mold to a foamable textile, foaming the textile in the mold, and the foamed textile with a first surface texture and a second surface textures;

[0012] Figures7A-7D: cross-sectional views of renderings of an example of the application of a mold to a foamable textile, foaming the foamable textile, molding the textile, and the foamed textile with a first surface texture and a second surface textures;

[0013] Figure 8: a perspective view of an exemplary foamed textile after processing with a variety of surface textures. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0014] The subject-matter of the disclosure may also relate, among others, to the following aspects:

I. UNPROCESSED TEXTILE

[0015] Described herein is a textile 100 comprising at least one thermoplastic yarn 110. Generally, a textile may be defined as a structure manufactured from fibers, filaments, or yarns characterized by flexibility, fineness, and a high ratio of length to thickness. Textiles generally fall into two categories. The first category includes textiles produced directly from webs of fibers, filaments and/or yarns by randomly interlocking the fibers, filaments and/or yarns to construct non-woven textiles such as felts. The second category includes textiles formed through a mechanical manipulation of yarn(s) (e.g., by interlacing or interlooping one or more yarns) to produce the textile. Examples of textiles produced through mechanical manipulation include woven textiles, knitted textiles, crocheted textiles, braided textiles, and tatted textiles.

[0016] Generally, a yarn is the raw material utilized to form textiles. In general, yarn is defined as an assembly having a substantial length and relatively small cross-section that is formed of at least one filament or a plurality of fibers. Fibers have a relatively short length and typically utilize spinning or twisting processes to produce a yarn of suitable length and tenacity for use in textiles. Common examples of fibers are cotton and wool. Filaments, however, have a substantially longer length and may be used alone or can be combined with other filaments to produce a yarn suitable for use in textiles. Filaments include naturally occurring materials such as silk, or can be made from a plurality of synthetic materials such as glass, carbon, or polymeric materials including rayon, nylon, polyester, and polyacrylic. Yarn may be formed of a single filament, which is conventionally referred to as a “monofilament strand” or “monofilament yarn,” or a plurality of individual filaments grouped together such as by twisting or entangling. Yarn may also include separate filaments formed of different materials, or the yarn may include filaments that are each formed of two or more different materials. Similar concepts also apply to yarns formed from fibers. Accordingly, yarns may have a variety of configurations that generally conform to the definition provided above. [0017] The yarn 110 is comprising at least one thermoplastic material comprising at least one thermoplastic polymer. The thermoplastic material has a deformation temperature (at which point the materials softens) and a melting point (the temperature at which the thermoplastic material transitions between a solid and liquid state). In some embodiments, the thermoplastic material further comprises a blowing agent. In other words, when the thermoplastic material of the yarn 110 is in an unfoamed state, the yarn 110 is a “foamable” yarn, and the textile 100 comprising the “foamable” yarn is a “foamable” textile.

[0018] A thermoplastic is a substance that softens and melts on heating and hardens when cooling without undergoing a chemical transformation. The first thermoplastic materials described herein may comprise a naturally occurring thermoplastic polymeric material, a regenerated thermoplastic material, a synthetic thermoplastic material, or some combination thereof.

[0019] The yarn 110 can be incorporated into a variety of textile structures by mechanically manipulating the yarn 110 through a variety of means including, but not limited to, knitting, weaving, crocheting, braiding, tatting, and wrapping, among others. The yarn 110 can be incorporated into a textile structure by inlaying the yarn 110 into a textile structure. For example, the yarn can be inlaid during a weaving, knitting, crocheting, braiding or tatting process. The inlaid yarn 110 can be held in place by one or more yarns forming the structure of the mechanically manipulated textile. In knitting and crocheting, inlaying involves positioning a yarn in the structure of a textile without forming loops with the yarn. For example, in a double-needle flat knitting process, the inlaid yarn 110 can be incorporated into the knit structure by positioning the yarn between the needlebeds, without forming loops with the inlaid yarn 110. In weaving, the inlaid yarn 110 can form a portion of the weft yarns. In one embodiment, the yarn 110 can be both inlaid and knit, crocheted, braided, tatted or woven into the textile structure, where the yarn 110 is inlaid in a first portion of the textile structure, and is knit, crocheted, braided, tatted or woven in a second portion of the textile structure. In another embodiment, the yarn 110 is only inlaid into the textile structure.

[0020] In Figures 1-8, element 120 is a genericized representation of a portion of a textile. The portion of the textile represented by 120 may be, but is not limited to, a knitted textile, a woven textile, a crocheted textile, a braided textile, a tatted textile, a wrapped textile, or some combination thereof.

[0021] As an example, the foamable textile 100 may be a knitted structure comprising a first knit yarn and an inlayed yarn 110 wherein the inlayed yarn 110 is the yarn 110 as described above. In one embodiment, the foamable textile 100 may be a knitted structure 120 of a first knit yarn with an inlayed yarn 130 wherein the inlayed yarn 130 is the foamable yarn 110 as described above. Alternatively, the foamable textile 100 may include a yarn comprising a multicellular foam either in the first knit yarn, a second knit yarn, or with the inlayed yarn 130. Alternatively, the first knit yarn 120 may include the foamable yarn 110. In a second embodiment, the foamable textile 100 may be a woven textile comprising a first weft yarn and a second warp yarn wherein at least a portion of the warp yarn comprises a foamable yarn 110.

[0022] In some embodiments, the first thermoplastic material may include any of a variety of synthetic thermoplastic polymers, including homopolymers or copolymers or a combination of homopolymers and copolymers. For instance, the first thermoplastic material may comprise: a thermoplastic polyurethane, including a thermoplastic polyurethane consisting essentially of polyurethane linkages, and a thermoplastic polyurethane copolymer such as a polyether-polyurethane or a polyester-polyurethane. The first thermoplastic material may comprise a thermoplastic polyolefin. The thermoplastic polyolefin may comprise a thermoplastic polyethylene homopolymer or copolymer, such as an ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer or an enthylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer or a polyethylene- polyamide block copolymer. The thermoplastic polyolefin may comprise a thermoplastic polypropylene homopolymer or copolymer. The first thermoplastic material may comprise a thermoplastic polyester homopolymer or copolymer such as, as already mentioned, a polyester-polyurethane copolymer. The first thermoplastic material may comprise a thermoplastic polyether homopolymer or copolymer such as, as already mentioned, a polyether-polyurethane copolymer. The first thermoplastic material may comprise a thermoplastic polyamide homopolymer such as nylon 6, nylon 11 or nylon 6,6 or a polyamide copolymer such as the polyethylene-polyamide block copolymer previously mentioned. The first thermoplastic material may comprise any combination of the thermoplastic polymers disclosed above, including two or three or four of the thermoplastic polymers. . The first thermoplastic material can be described as comprising a thermoplastic polymeric component made up of all the thermoplastic polymers present in the first thermoplastic material. The first thermoplastic material can comprise from about 5 weight percent to about 100 weight percent of the thermoplastic polymer component based on a total weight of the first thermoplastic material. Alternatively, the thermoplastic polymer component can comprise from about 15 weight percent to about 100 weight percent, from about 30 weight percent to about 100 weight percent, from about 50 weight percent to about 100 weight percent, or from about 70 weight percent to about 100 weight percent of the first thermoplastic material.

[0023] Additionally, in other embodiments the first thermoplastic material comprises a thermosetting thermoplastic material. As described herein, a thermosetting material is a material which is initially thermoplastic but which cures and becomes a thermoset material when exposed to specific conditions (e.g., specific types and levels of heat or light or other types of actinic radiation) which initiate a chemical reaction such as a crosslinking reaction within the material. A thermosetting material is understood to be an uncured and, thus, prior to curing, is thermoplastic. When cured, a thermosetting material undergoes a chemical change and becomes a thermoset material. The examples of actinic radiation that may trigger the curing can include microwave radiation, radiowave radiation, electron beam radiation, gamma beam radiation, infrared radiation, ultraviolet light, visible light, or a combination thereof, among other conditions.

[0024] In some embodiments, the first thermoplastic material further comprises a cross-linking agent. As understood in the art, cross-linking agents are chemical products that chemically form bonds between two hydrocarbon chains. The reaction can be either exothermic or endothermic, depending on the cross-linking agent used. The concentration of the cross-linking agent present in the first thermoplastic material may be sufficient to partially crosslink the first thermoplastic material, or may be sufficient to fully crosslink the first thermoplastic material. In one example, when the first thermoplastic material is a thermosetting thermoplastic material, the thermosetting thermoplastic material may comprise a concentration of the cross-linking agent sufficient to fully crosslink the thermosetting thermoplastic material. One skilled in the art would be able to select any number of appropriate cross-linking agents that would be compatible with the thermoplastic polymer and allow for cross-linking of the first thermoplastic material under the desired processing conditions including temperature, pressure, UV light exposure, and the like.

[0025] In some instances a suitable cross-linking agent comprises a homobifunctional cross-linking agent. Homobifunctional reagents consist of identical reactive groups on either end of a spacer arm. Examples of homobifunctional cross-linking agents include: di(tert- butylperoxyisopropyl)benzene, dimethyl pimelimidate dihydrochloride, 3,3'- dithiodipropionic acid di(N-hydroxysuccinimide ester), suberic acid bis(3-sulfo-N- hydroxysuccinimide ester) sodium salt, among others.

[0026] In other instances, a suitable cross-linking agent comprises a heterobifunctional cross-linking agent. Heterobifunctional cross-linking agents have two distinct reactive groups, allowing for cross-linking reactions to progress in a controlled, two-step reaction. This can reduce the prevalence of dimers and oligomers while crosslinking. Examples of heterobifunctional cross-linking agents include: S-acetylthioglycolic acid N-hydroxysuccinimide ester, 5-azido-2- nitrobenzoic acid N-hydroxysuccinimide ester, 4-azidophenacyl bromide, bromoacetic acid N-hydroxysuccinimide ester, N-(3-Dimethylaminopropyl)-N'- ethylcarbodiimide hydrochloride, N-(3-Dimethylaminopropyl)-N'-ethylcarbodiimide hydrochloride, N-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-N'-ethylcarbodiimide hydrochloride, N- (3-dimethylaminopropyl)-N'-ethylcarbodiimide hydrochloride purum, N-(3- dimethylaminopropyl)-N'-ethylcarbodiimide hydrochloride, iodoacetic acid N- hydroxysuccinimide ester, among others.

[0027] In other embodiments, the first thermoplastic material comprises a blowing agent. As understood in the art, blowing agents are substances that decompose or vaporize at an activation temperature to produce quantities of gases or vapors. Accordingly, they can be categorized as either chemical or physical blowing agents. A chemical blowing agent is a compound which can release a gas at its activation temperature. Generally, this released gas does not chemically react with the thermoplastic polymer serving as the polymer matrix. The process of evolving gas from the blowing agent is usually exothermic; however, certain compounds that decompose through thermal dissociation, such as bicarbonates, evolve gas in a reversible and endothermic reaction. Chemical blowing agents can be further subcategorized as inorganic and organic agents. Inorganic blowing agents are used mainly in rubber technology but may be used in plastic applications to create additional cross-linking during the blowing process.

[0028] A physical blowing agent is a compound which can phase transition to a gas when the temperature, pressure, or temperature and pressure are changed. At a given pressure, the temperature at which the physical blowing agent transitions to a gas is the activation temperature. Physical blowing agents include low-boiling-point hydrocarbons or inert gasses, liquids, and supercritical fluids. [0029] The choice of blowing agent can influence foam quality, density, homogeneity, and the costs of the foamed product. As discussed below, the characteristic property of these compounds is their activation temperature, which determines their practical use as blowing agents for a given thermoplastic material and for its processing conditions. In order for the yarn 110 to be able to form a stable foam, the first thermoplastic material must be deformable or molten at the activation temperature of the blowing agent. To that end, the thermoplastic- material deformation temperature may the same as or may be lower than the blowing-agent activation temperature.

[0030] In some embodiments, the thermoplastic-material deformation temperature is at least 10 degrees Celsius below the blowing-agent activation temperature. In some embodiments, the thermoplastic-material deformation temperature is at least 20 degrees Celsius below the blowing-agent activation temperature. In other embodiments, the first thermoplastic material has a softening temperature or a melting temperature from about 50 degrees Celsius to about 145 degrees Celsius.

[0031] In some embodiments, the chemical blowing agent has an activation temperature that is at least 5 degrees Celsius above a melting temperature of the first thermoplastic material. In other embodiments, the activation temperature of the blowing agent is at least 10 degrees Celsius above the melting temperature of the first thermoplastic material. In further embodiments, the activation temperature of the blowing agent is at least 20 degrees above the melting temperature of the first thermoplastic material. [0032] Other properties that may be considered when selecting a chemical blowing agent include the following: affinity with the thermoplastic polymer, maximum production of gases; activation temperature at which the blowing agent evolves gas, rate of gas evolution, toxicity, corrosiveness, odor of decomposition products, effect of decomposition products on the color and other physicochemical properties of the thermoplastic polymer, cost, availability, stability against decomposition during storage, and others.

[0033] In some embodiments, the blowing agent comprises a chemical blowing agent. In some embodiments, the chemical blowing agent comprises sodium bicarbonate, ammonium carbonate, ammonium bicarbonate, calcium azide, azodicarbonamide, hydrazocarbonamide, benzenesulfonyl hydrazide, dinitrosopentamethylene tetramine, toluenesulfonyl hydrazide, p,p’- oxybis(benzenesulfonylhydrazide), azobisisobutyronitrile, barium azodicarboxylate, or any combination thereof.

[0034] In some embodiments, the blowing agent comprises a physical blowing agent. In addition to partially halogenated fluorochlorohydrocarbons, hydrocarbons (e.g. isobutene and pentane) and inert liquids, gases or supercritical fluids, such as carbon dioxide or nitrogen or a combination thereof, can serve as physical blowing agents. Inert liquids, gases and supercritical fluids offer many advantages, including, low environmentally harmful outputs, low gas consumption, increased foam volume per weight of blowing agent used, high cost-effectiveness, non flammable, non-toxic, chemically inert, minimal or no residues left behind in the polymeric foam after processing. Additionally, carbon dioxide has the advantage of having a higher solubility in many thermoplastic polymers than other inert compounds, such nitrogen.

[0035] In some embodiments, the blowing agent is present in the first thermoplastic material in an amount effective to foam the first thermoplastic material into a multicellular foam 210 structure when the yarn 110 is processed. The amount of blowing agent may be measured as the concentration of blowing agent by weight in the first thermoplastic material. An amount of blowing agent is considered effective when activating the blowing results in at least a 10 percent increase in the volume of the first thermoplastic material. In one example, the first thermoplastic material can comprise from about 1 percent to about 10 percent by weight, or from about 1 percent to about 5 percent by weight, or from about 1 percent to about 3 percent by weight of the blowing agent based on a total weight of the first thermoplastic material. In another example, the first thermoplastic material comprises a concentration of the blowing agent sufficient to expand the first thermoplastic material by at least 100 percent by volume, or by 100 percent to 900 percent by volume, or by 200 percent to 500 percent by volume, or by 300 percent to 400 percent by volume, based on an initial volume of the first thermoplastic material prior to foaming.

[0036] In some embodiments, more than one blowing agent may be used. The combination of blowing agents may comprise at least two chemical blowing agents, at least two physical blowing agents, or a combination of a physical blowing agent and a chemical blowing agent. Each blowing agent has an activation temperature at the given processing pressure. These activations temperatures may be about the same or may differ. By utilizing blowing agents with different activation temperatures, processing of the yarn 110 into a multicellular foam 310 structure can take place over a larger operation window of temperatures. Additionally, by controlling the temperature to activate a first blowing agent and then increasing the temperature of the yarn 110 to activate the second blowing agent, a variety of different desirable foam structures can be achieved. In some embodiments, two blowing agents may have activation temperatures that differ by at least about 5 degrees Celsius. In some embodiments, two blowing agents may have activation temperatures that differ by at least about 10 degrees Celsius. In some embodiments, two blowing agents may have activation temperatures that differ by at least about 20 degrees Celsius.

[0037] A wide range of additives may also be used. Catalysts speed up the reaction or, in some cases, reduce the reaction initiation temperature. As discussed above, blowing agents that form gas bubbles in the polymer or polymerizing mixture produce foam. Surfactants may be added to control the size of bubbles. In addition to the blowing agent and the optional cross-linking agent, other additives that may be present in the first thermoplastic material include a chain-extending agent, a filler, a flame retardant, a coloring material (such as a dye or pigment), an ultraviolet light absorber, an antioxidant, a lubricant, a plasticizer, an emulsifier, a rheology modifier, an odorant, a deodorant, a halogen scavenger, or any combination thereof, depending on the application. In one example, the other additive is present in the first thermoplastic material at a concentration of from about 0.1 weight percent to about 20 weight percent, or from about 0.2 weight percent to about 10 weight percent, or from about 0.5 weight percent to about 5 weight percent, based on a total weight of the first thermoplastic material.

[0038] The molecular structure, amount, and reaction temperature of each ingredient determine the characteristics and subsequent use of the yarn 110 after processing. Therefore, each formulation may be designed with the proper ingredients to achieve the desired properties of the final material. By way of an example, different blowing agents may require additional additives to maintain thermal properties. Ultimately, the density of the foam after the yarn 110 is processed is determined by the number and size of the cells, which is affected, at least in part, by the amount of blowing that takes place during processing. By mixing different combinations of the starting materials, the rates of the reactions and overall rate of cure during processing can be controlled.

[0039] In some embodiments, the yarn 110 may be a monofilament consisting essentially of the first thermoplastic material. In a second embodiment the yarn 110 includes a core, comprising a core material coated with a coating. In some embodiments the coating comprises the first thermoplastic material. The core may comprise any of a variety of natural polymeric fibers or filaments, regenerated fibers or filaments, synthetic polymeric fibers or filaments, metals, or some combination thereof, to achieve the desired properties of the yarn 110. The fibers or filaments may be either plant-derived or animal-derived. Plant-derived fibers may include cotton, flax, hemp, or jute. Animal-derived fibers or filaments may include spider silk, silkworm silk, sheep wool, or alpaca wool. The regenerated material is created by dissolving a cellulosic material in a solvent and spinning the solution into fibers or filaments, such as by the viscose method. Examples of regenerated fibers or filaments may include rayon or modal, among others. In some embodiments, the core material is a thermoplastic core material, i.e., a polymeric material having a deformation temperature at which the core material softens and a melting temperature at which the core material melts. In other embodiments, the core material is a thermoset core material, i.e., a core material which does not have a deformation or melting temperature, or is a thermoformable core material, i.e., a core material having a deformation temperature but not a melting temperature. Additionally, the core may be a single monofilament strand or a multifilament strand, comprising multiple monofilaments or multifilament strands. In the instance where the core is a multifilament strand, the individual filaments of the multifilament may be aligned, twisted together, knotted, braided, or the like. For instance, the yarn 110 may include a multifilament twisted or entangled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) core. Additionally, each strand of the multifilament core may be, itself, either a monofilament or multifilament strand. In the instances where a strand of the multifilament core is, itself, a multifilament comprising multiple sub-strands, the sub-strands may be aligned, twisted together, entangled, knotted, braided, or similarly interconnected. Additionally, in some embodiments, the sub-strands may be coated in the first thermoplastic material such that it surrounds the sub-strand itself before the sub-strand is incorporated into the core.

[0040] The presence of the core in the yarn 110 provides advantages such as providing tensile strength and/or stretch resistance to the yarn 110 which are not provided by the first thermoplastic material, and so would not be present if the first thermoplastic material coating composition was used alone. The core may provide a structure enabling the yarn to remain in place during and following the foaming process. Additionally, when the yarn 110 is combined with non-foamable or unfoamed yarns in the textile 100, the presence of the core can provide additional strength to the textile 100. In one example, when the yarn 110 is included in a textile in a manner such that the yarn 110 has little if any give or freedom of movement (e.g., when it is inlaid rather than interlooped), the presence of the core can serve to add lock-out to the portion of the textile in which yarn 110 is included. [0041] In some embodiments the core has a percent elongation of less than about 30 percent, or of less than about 25 percent. For example, the core may have a percent elongation from about 0.5 percent to about 30 percent or from about 5 percent to about 25 percent.

[0042] In other embodiments, the core has a breaking strength from about 0.5 to about 10 kilograms force per square centimeter . The core can have a breaking strength of at least 1 .5 kilograms force per square centimeter, such as from about 1.5 to about 10 kilograms force per square centimeter, or from about 1.5 kilograms force per square centimeter to about 4.0 kilograms force per square centimeter, or from about 2.5 kilograms force per square centimeter to about 4 kilograms force per square centimeter.

[0043] Another measure of the force required to break a yarn is tenacity. As used herein, “tenacity” is understood to refer to the amount of force (expressed in units of weight, for example: pounds, grams, centinewtons or other units) needed to rupture a yarn (i.e., the breaking force or breaking point of the yarn), divided by the linear mass density of the yarn expressed, for example, in (unstrained) denier, decitex, or some other measure of weight per unit length. The amount of force needed to break a yarn (the “breaking force” of the yarn) is determined by subjecting a sample of the yarn to a known amount of force by stretching the sample until it breaks, for example, by inserting each end of a sample of the yarn into the grips on the measuring arms of an extensometer, subjecting the sample to a stretching force, and measuring the force required to break the sample using a strain gauge load cell. Suitable testing systems can be obtained from Instron (Norwood, MA, USA). Yarn tenacity and yarn breaking force are distinct from burst strength or bursting strength of a textile, which is a measure of the maximum force that can be applied to the surface of a textile before the surface bursts.

[0044] Generally, in order for a yarn to withstand the forces applied in an industrial knitting machine, the minimum tenacity required is approximately 1.5 grams per denier (g/D). Most synthetic polymer filament yarns formed from commodity polymeric materials generally have tenacities in the range of about 1.5 g/D to about 4 g/D. For example, polyester filament yarns that may be used in the manufacture of knit uppers for article of footwear have tenacities in the range of about 2.5 g/D to about 4 g/D. Filament yarns formed from commodity synthetic polymeric materials which are considered to have high tenacities generally have tenacities in the range of about 5 g/D to about 10 g/D. For example, commercially available package dyed polyethylene terephthalate filament yarn from National Spinning (Washington, NC, USA) has a tenacity of about 6 g/D, and commercially available solution dyed polyethylene terephthalate filament yarn from Far Eastern New Century (Taipei, Taiwan) has a tenacity of about 7 g/D. Filament yarns formed from high performance synthetic polymer materials generally have tenacities of about 11 g/D or greater. For example, filament yarns formed of aramid typically have tenacities of about 20 g/D, and filament yarns formed of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) having tenacities greater than 30 g/D are available from Dyneema (Stanley, NC, USA ) and Spectra (Honeywell-Spectra, Colonial Heights, VA, USA).

[0045] In one embodiment, the core has a tenacity of at least 1.5 grams per denier (g/D). The core can have a tenacity from about 1.5 g/D to about 4 g/D, or from about 2.5 g/D to about 4 g/D, or from about 5 g/D to about 35 g/D, or from about 5 g/D to about 10 g/D.

[0046] Linear mass density of the yarn 110 and the core can be expressed in (unstrained) denier. In one embodiment, the yarn has a linear mass density from about 100 to about 300,000 denier (D), or from about 500 to about 200,000 D, or from about 1 ,000 to about 10,000 D. Similarly, the core may have a linear mass density from about 60 to about 70,000 D, from about 100 to about 1 ,000 D, or from about 150 to about 700 D.

[0047] In some embodiments, the core comprises at least one filament, and the at least one filament is at least partially surrounded by the first thermoplastic material. In other embodiments, the at least one filament is substantially surrounded by the first thermoplastic material such that the first thermoplastic material covers at least 75 percent of a surface area of the at least one filament. [0048] In a different embodiment the yarn 110 comprises the core including the core material, and a coating of the first thermoplastic material including the blowing agent, and is coated with a coating comprising a second thermoplastic material comprising a second thermoplastic polymer and second blowing agent, wherein second coating forms the outer layer of the yarn 110. In this embodiment, the blowing agents or thermoplastic polymers or both of the first thermoplastic material and the second thermoplastic material may be the same or different, or may have the same of different concentrations. Additionally, the first thermoplastic material and the second thermoplastic material may have the same or different additives. [0049] In some embodiments the first thermoplastic material and second thermoplastic material 500 may comprise the same blowing agent and the same thermoplastic polymers but in differing amounts. For instance, the first thermoplastic material may contain a thermoplastic polyurethane with a thermally- activated chemical blowing agent but such that the concentration of the thermally activated chemical blowing agent in the first thermoplastic material is at least twice the concentration of the thermally-activated chemical blowing agent in the second material. When processed, such a structure may create coaxially-aligned regions of foam with different density and hardness characteristics, or, under certain processing conditions, may yield a yarn where a coaxial foam region has a density or hardness gradient along the cross-sectional radius.

[0050] Similarly, by varying the concentration of various additives, such as, but not limited to coloring agents, cross-linking agents, stabilizers, emulsifiers, binders, or others, in different coaxial coating layers before and after being foamed, may have any number distinct coaxial regions with distinct properties, or have a radial gradient of varying properties such as color density, foam density, hardness, viscosity, melting temperature, among other properties.

[0051] In other embodiments, the yarn 110 may comprise a first yarn sub-strand comprising a thermoplastic material further comprising a blowing agent and thermoplastic polymer, and may be combined with a second yarn sub-strand. The second yarn sub-strand may or may not comprise a thermoplastic material. The first yarn sub-strand and second yarn sub-strand may be combined to form a multi strand yarn 620, either by twisting, twining, braiding, knotting, aligning, fusing, softening the yarn materials, or other acceptable means. In further embodiments, the yarn 110 may comprise a first yarn sub-strand comprising core and a coating of a thermoplastic material comprising a blowing agent and thermoplastic polymer. [0052] The yarn 110 may have any of a variety of cross-sectional shapes or sizes, dictated by the requirements for the final application of the yarn 110. In some embodiments, further detailed above, the yarn 110 comprises a core and a coating that is coaxial to the core. At any given cross-section of the yarn 110, the core has a cross-sectional area and the coating as a cross-sectional area. The average coating cross-sectional area is equal to the volume of the coating divided by the length of the yarn 110. For any given cross-section of the yarn 110, the coating has an average thickness being the average distance as measured from an inner surface of the coating to an exterior surface of the coating, as measured normal to the outer surface of the coating. In some embodiments, the diameter of the core is smaller than the average thickness of the coating. For example, the core may have a cross-sectional diameter and the surrounding coating has an average thickness such that the cross-sectional diameter of the core is at least 1 .5 times smaller, or at least 2 times smaller, or at least 3 times smaller than the average thickness of the coating prior to foaming the yarn 110. In other embodiments, the diameter of the core is greater than the average thickness of the coating. In such an example, the core can have a cross-sectional diameter and the surrounding coating has an average thickness such that the cross-sectional diameter of the core is at least 2 times larger, or at least 3 times larger, or at least 5 times larger than the average thickness of the coating.

[0053] In some embodiments the coating has an average thickness from about 0.3mm to about 5.0 millimeters. In yet other embodiments the coating has an average thickness less than about 0.3 millimeters. In yet other embodiments the coating has an average thickness greater than about 5.0 mm. In still other embodiments, the coating has a thickness from about 0.4 millimeters to about 3.0 millimeters, or from about 0.5 millimeters to about 2 millimeters. In some embodiments the coating has a variable thickness, and the variable thickness ranges from 0.1 millimeters to about 6.0 millimeters.

[0054] In some embodiments, the yarn 110 includes a core yarn comprising a core material with a layer of the first thermoplastic material substantially surrounding the core layer and defining an exterior surface of the yarn 110. In one such embodiment, the first thermoplastic material of the yarn 110 comprises at least 30 weight percent of a thermoplastic polymeric component, wherein the thermoplastic polymeric component includes at least one thermoplastic polyurethane, or at least one thermoplastic polyolefin, or at least one thermoplastic polyamide, or any combination thereof. The thermoplastic polymeric component of the first thermoplastic material can comprise or consist essentially of at least one thermoplastic polyurethane, such as a polyester polyurethane copolymer. The thermoplastic polymeric component can comprise or consist essentially of at least one polyolefin, such as an ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer. The thermoplastic polymeric component can comprise or consist essentially of at least one polyamide, such as a polyethylene polyamide block copolymer. In one such embodiment, the first thermoplastic material further comprises a thermally- activated chemical blowing agent, and a thermally-activated crosslinking agent. In one such embodiment, the core yarn is a muitifilament yarn, such as an air- entangled multifilament yarn, and has a breaking strength greater than 1.5 kilograms force per square centimeter. The core material of the core yarn can comprise at least one thermoplastic polyester such as a thermoplastic polyethylene terephthalate, or at least one thermoplastic polyamide homopolymer. In one such embodiment, a deformation temperature of the core material is at least 20 degrees Celsius, or at least 40 degrees Celsius, or at least 60 degrees Celsius greater than a melting temperature of the first thermoplastic material, than an activation temperature of the thermally-activated blowing agent, and then an activation temperature of the thermally-activated crosslinking agent. In one such embodiment, the yarn 110 including the unfoamed thermoplastic material has a breaking strength greater than 1.5 kilograms force per square centimeter, an elongation of less than 20 percent. In one such embodiment, the thickness of the coating layer of the first thermoplastic material ranges from about 0.4 millimeters to about 3 millimeters, and expands in volume from about 2 times to about 6 times when foamed.

II. METHOD OF PROCESSING A TEXTILE [0055] Described herein are methods of processing a foamable textile 100 described above to form a foamed textile 200 comprising any of the yarns described above, wherein the yarn 110 is a strand comprising a least one thermoplastic material comprising at least one thermoplastic polymer and a blowing agent.

[0056] The textile incorporating any of the yarns may be processed to create one or more areas of a multicellular foam 210 in the foamed textile 200. A multicellular foam is an expanded material having a cellular structure, i.e. having a plurality of cavities defined by the foamed material, resulting from introduction of gas bubbles during manufacture. An open-cell foam is a multicellular foam where the majority of cells are not fully encapsulated by the foamed material. A closed cell foam is a multicellular foam where the majority of cells are fully encapsulated by the foamed material. Once foamed, the multicellular foam areas 220 of the foamed textile 200 have properties which differ from portions 230 of the textile without the multicellular foam 210, including portions in which the yarn 110 has not been foamed. For example, the foamed areas 220 can impart increased texturing, cushioning, abrasion resistance, strength, lockout, or any combination of these properties, to the textile.

[0057] In embodiments where the foamable yarn 110 comprises a blowing agent, a first method of foaming an area of the foamable textile 100 comprises the steps of softening the thermoplastic material, activating the blowing agent of the thermoplastic material of the yarn 110 to expand the softened thermoplastic material into a multicellular foam 210, and solidifying the multicellular foam 210, forming one or more areas of multicellular foam 210 in the “foamed” textile 200. In some embodiments, the step of activating the blowing agent comprises exposing a portion of the foamable textile 100 containing the unprocessed yarn 110 to a heat source, including, but not limited to, a heating solid surface, a heating fluid, actinic radiation (such as microwave radiation, radio wave radiation, electron beam radiation, gamma beam radiation, infrared radiation, ultraviolet light, visible light), or some combination thereof.

[0058] In embodiments where the foamable yarn 110 does not comprise a blowing agent, the step of impregnating the foamable textile 200 with a blowing agent may take place before the step of foaming the blowing agent. In some such embodiments, impregnating the foamable textile 100 with the blowing agent can be accomplished through a variety of means, including softening the thermoplastic material of the foamable yarn 110 and introducing the blowing agent into the foamable yarn. The step of softening the yarn may comprise raising the temperature of the foamable yarn 110 above a softening temperature of the thermoplastic material. Raising the temperature of the thermoplastic yarn may be accomplished through a variety or means including, but not limited to, exposing the yarn 110 to a heating solid surface, a heating fluid, actinic radiation (such as microwave radiation, radio wave radiation, electron beam radiation, gamma beam radiation, infrared radiation, ultraviolet light, visible light), or some combination thereof.

[0059] In some embodiments, the blowing agent to be infused in the textile 100 is a physical blowing agent. In some embodiments, the blowing agent comprises a physical blowing agent. In addition to fluorocarbons, including fully or partially halogenated fluorohydrocarbons such as fully or partially chlorinated fluorohydrocarbons; hydrocarbons (e.g. isobutene and pentane); and inert liquids, gases or supercritical fluids, such as carbon dioxide or nitrogen or a combination thereof, can serve as physical blowing agents. Inert liquids, gases and supercritical fluids offer many advantages, including, low environmentally harmful outputs, low gas consumption, increased foam volume per weight of blowing agent used, high cost-effectiveness, non-flammable, non-toxic, chemically inert, minimal or no residues left behind in the polymeric foam after processing. Additionally, carbon dioxide has the advantage of having a higher solubility in many thermoplastic polymers than other inert compounds, such nitrogen. In some embodiments, the physical blowing agent may comprise carbon dioxide where carbon dioxide is present in an amount of about 1% to about 3% or about 1% to about 5% by weight based on upon a total weight of thermoplastic material. Alternatively, the physical blowing agent may comprise nitrogen, where nitrogen is present in an amount of about 1 % to about 3% or about 1 % to about 5% by weight based upon a total weight of thermoplastic material.

[0060] The step of impregnating a physical blowing agent into the thermoplastic material may further comprise dissolving or suspending the physical blowing agent in the thermoplastic material. The impregnating may further comprise the steps of softening the thermoplastic material of the yarn, impregnating the softened thermoplastic material, and re-solidified the infused thermoplastic material of the yarn 110 prior to the step of softening the thermoplastic material and blowing the multicellular foam 210. The impregnating may involve forming a single phase solution of the physical blowing agent in the first thermoplastic material, and solidifying the single phase solution under conditions effective to maintain the physical blowing agent in solution when solidified

[0061] The molecular structure, amount, and reaction temperature of each ingredient determine the characteristics and subsequent use of the foam. Therefore, each formulation can be designed with a selection of ingredients to achieve multicellular foam having a variety of properties. For instance, the concentration and type of blowing agent and/or surfactant used can affect the cell size, rate of expansion, hardness and/or density of the multicellular foam. Similarly, the concentration and type of thermoplastic polymer(s) included in the thermoplastic material can affect the hardness and/or density of the multicellular foam the multicellular foam [0062] The blowing agent used in the foaming step will, in part, dictate temperature and pressure ranges for processing. Suitable blowing agents may include chemical blowing agents, physical blowing agents, or some combination thereof.

[0063] In some embodiments, the step of activating the chemical blowing comprises raising the temperature of the thermoplastic material to about or above the activation temperature of the blowing agent. The step of raising the temperature may comprise exposing the yarn 110 or textile 100 to a heating solid surface, a heating fluid, a form of actinic radiation or a combination thereof. When the blowing agent is activated, the generation of the gas will cause the thermoplastic material to foam when the thermoplastic material is at a temperature where it is soft and deformable or fully melted. After the thermoplastic material is expanded into a multicellular foam 210, the multicellular foam multicellular foam is solidified.

[0064] In some embodiments, the step of activating the chemical blowing comprises raising the temperature of the thermoplastic material to about or above the activation temperature. When the blowing agent is activated, the generation of the gas will cause the thermoplastic composition to foam when the thermoplastic composition is at a temperature where it is soft and deformable or fully melted. After foaming the thermoplastic composition, some embodiments of the method comprise solidifying the multicellular foam 210.

[0065] In some embodiments, the blowing agent is present in the first thermoplastic material in an amount effective to foam the first thermoplastic material into a multicellular foam 210 structure when the yarn 110 is processed. The amount of blowing agent may be measured as the concentration of blowing agent by weight in the thermoplastic material. An amount of blowing agent is considered effective when activating the blowing results in at least a 10 percent increase in the volume of the thermoplastic material. In one example, the thermoplastic material can comprise from about 1 percent to about 10 percent by weight, or from about 1 percent to about 5 percent by weight, or from about 1 percent to about 3 percent by weight of the blowing agent based on a total weight of the thermoplastic material. In another example, the thermoplastic material comprises a concentration of the blowing agent sufficient to expand the thermoplastic material by at least 100 percent by volume, or by 100 percent to 900 percent by volume, or by 200 percent to 500 percent by volume, or by 300 percent to 400 percent by volume, based on an initial volume of the thermoplastic material prior to foaming.

In some embodiments of the method, the step of solidifying the multicellular foam comprises decreasing the temperature of the foamed thermoplastic material to a temperature below its deformation temperature.

[0066] In other embodiments of the method, the step of solidifying the multicellular foam comprises crosslinking the thermoplastic material to the point that the composition becomes a thermoset material. In embodiments where a crosslinking agent is used, the crosslinking agent can be initiated during the processing conditions used to process the textile have an initiation temperature within the processing conditions used for the textile. For example, the cross-linking agent can be a thermally-activated cross-linking agent having an initiation temperature of the thermally-activated crosslinking agent can be near the initiation temperature of the blowing agent, so that the foaming and crosslinking occur simultaneously or nearly simultaneously. In this way, the thermoplastic material may remain soft enough to form a multicellular structure as the blowing agent is activated within the thermoplastic material, but develops sufficient melt strength to maintain the multicellular structure without collapsing on itself, and cures into a solid multicellular foam having sufficient hardness.

[0067] If the thermoplastic material comprises a blowing agent that is thermally-activated, the blowing-agent activation temperature should be at about or above the melting temperature of the thermoplastic material before processing. As an example, if a thermoplastic material has a melting temperature of about 90 degrees Celsius, and the blowing agent has an activation temperature of about 120 degrees Celsius or higher, the thermoplastic material would be in a molten state before the blowing agent begins to evolve gas to create the multicellular form structure. In such an instance, the textile or yarn may be processed in a range of about 120 degrees Celsius or above, including at about 145 degrees Celsius. [0068] In other embodiments, the thermoplastic material further comprises an additional additive. In addition to the blowing agent and the optional cross-linking agent, other additives that may be present in the thermoplastic material include a chain-extending agent, a filler, a flame retardant, a coloring material (such as a dye or pigment), an ultraviolet light absorber, an antioxidant, a lubricant, a plasticizer, an emulsifier, a rheology modifier, an odorant, a deodorant, a halogen scavenger, or any combination thereof, depending on the application. Catalysts speed up the reaction or, in some cases, reduce the reaction initiation temperature. As discussed above, blowing agents that form gas bubbles in the polymer or polymerizing mixture produce foam. Surfactants may be added to control the size of bubbles. In one example, the other additive is present in the thermoplastic material at a concentration of from about 0.1 weight percent to about 20 weight percent, or from about 0.2 weight percent to about 10 weight percent, or from about 0.5 weight percent to about 5 weight percent, based on a total weight of the thermoplastic material.

[0069] As described above, if the thermoplastic material comprises a blowing agent that is thermally-activated, the blowing-agent activation temperature should be at about or above the melting temperature of the thermoplastic material . As an example, if a thermoplastic material has a melting temperature of about 90 degrees Celsius, and the blowing agent has an activation temperature of about 120 degrees Celsius or higher, the thermoplastic material would be in a molten state before the blowing agent begins to evolve gas to create the multicellular form structure. In such an instance, the textile or yarn may be processed in at or above about 120 degrees Celsius or above, including at or above about 145 degrees Celsius.

[0070] In some embodiments, the method of solidifying the partially-processed thermoplastic material into a foamed textile 200 further comprises adhering the foamed textile 200 to a surrounding portion of the textile. This step may comprise decreasing the temperature of the foamed textile 200.

[0071] In some embodiments, during the foaming step, the material 110 may expand from about 10 percent to 2000 percent by volume, or from about 100 percent to about 1000 percent. During the foaming, the material 110 may expand from about 200 percent to about 700 percent by volume, or from about 300 percent to about 500 percent by volume.

[0072] In other embodiments, the method of processing the foamable textile 100 or yarn 110 further comprises the step of molding the textile or yarn. The step of applying the mold 600 to the textile 100 can be conducted before, during or after the foaming of the thermoplastic material. As exemplified in Figures 6A-7D, in some embodiments, this step comprises applying a mold to the textile. In some instances, the mold may be a compression mold 600, such as in Figures 6A-7D, having a first mold surface 610 and a second mold surface 620, or slump mold having only one molding surface. Although the mold may be at an ambient temperature, in other embodiments, the step of molding the textile or yarn may further comprise heating the mold 600.

[0073] The step of heating may comprise exposing the mold 600 to a heating solid surface, a heating fluid, electricity, actinic radiation, or a combination thereof. The temperature of the mold 600 for processing the textile 100 or yarn 110 will vary depending on the desired characteristics of the multicellular foam 210 as well as the blowing agent, processing pressure, and thermoplastic polymer. One possible range is between about 60 and 250 degrees Celsius. By molding the foamable textile 100 at a temperature at least 20 degrees Celsius above a temperature at which the foamed textile 200 is used is one way to allow the textile to maintain a molded shape during general use, wear, washing, drying, cleaning, and storage. This additional step of heating the mold 600 may be performed after the applying the foamble textile 100 or yarn 110 to the mold 600 or before applying the foamable textile 100 or yarn 110 to the mold 600.

[0074] Additionally, for instances where the textile is applied to a compression mold 600, the step of molding the textile may comprise applying additional pressure to the mold, i.e., pressure exceeding atmospheric pressure. Appling pressure to the mold can shape and/or restrict the foaming of the material 110, portion of the textile, creating a shaped foam and/or a denser foam. The amount of pressure applied will vary depending on the desired characteristics of the multicellular foam as well as the blowing agent, processing temperature, and thermoplastic polymer.

[0075] In some embodiments the step of molding comprises applying the mold 600 to the foamable textile 100, as seen in Figure 6A, activating the blowing agent, as seen in Figure 6B to foam at least a portion of the foamable textile 100. In some of these embodiments, the step of molding further comprises removing the yarn 110 or textile 200 from the mold, as depicted in Figure 6C. In some such embodiments, the step of decreasing the temperature of the first thermoplastic material is performed before, after, or during removing the foamed textile 200 from the mold 600.

In other embodiments, as exemplified by Figures 7A-7C, the blowing agent in the foamable textile is activated to start foaming the thermoplastic material, and then a mold 600 is applied to the foamed textile while the thermoplastic material is thermo-moldable. In some of these embodiments, the step of molding further comprises removing the yarn 110 or textile from the mold, as depicted in Figure 7D. In some such embodiments, the step of decreasing the temperature of the first thermoplastic material is performed after removing the foamed textile 200 from the mold.

[0076] In some embodiments, the step of applying the mold 600 to the thermo- moldable foamed textile 200 or a foamable textile 100 results in at least one surface texture feature that sits proud of the surface of the textile, i.e. projecting or protruding from the textile, and/or adjacent foamed area. In other embodiments, the step of applying the mold 600 to the thermo-moldable foamed textile 200 or a foamable textile 100 results in at least one foamed area that sits flush with the surface of the textile. In still other embodiments, the step of applying the mold 600 to the thermo-moldable foamed textile 200 or a foamable textile 100 results in at least one foamed area wherein the multicellular foam does not extend beyond the surface of the textile. In still other embodiments, the step of applying the mold 600 to the thermo-moldable foamed textile 200 or a foamable textile 100 results an area of increased rigidity 700 wherein the foamed textile 200 maintains a non- planar morphology after solidifying. In any such embodiments, the foamable yarn 110 may be enmeshed with at least some of the multicellular foam 210.

Hi. A PROCESSED TEXTILE

[0077] Described herein is a foamed textile 200 comprising a multicellular foam 210. The multicellular foam 210, can be either-open celled or closed-cell, and can be the reaction product of foaming at least a portion of a first yarn, wherein the first yarn is a strand comprising at least one thermoplastic material comprising at least one thermoplastic polymer and a blowing agent.

[0078] A foamed textile incorporating yarn may exhibit some of the advantageous properties of a fiber-based textiles, such as ease of manufacture, minimal waste, flexibility of design, variation of elasticity and thickness, ease of customization, and the like. A foamed textile incorporating multicellular foam may exhibit some of the advantageous properties of foams, such as increased hardness, water resistance, moldablity, rigidity, cushioning, sound dampening, mechanical dampening, among others. Additionally, a foamed textile incorporating yarn may exhibit other advantageous properties, such as maintaining fixed distance between textile fibers, strands, and yarns, i.e. effectively locking the textile into a specified morphology. This may be additionally advantageous in instances where the spacing of textile fibers, strands, yarns, or the like has an effect on the properties of the material such as, but not limited to, electrical conductivity or resistance, elasticity, strength, shear strength, tear resistance, or resistance to fraying.

[0079] In some embodiments, the multicellular foam 210 is a thermoplastic multicellular foam. For example, the thermoplastic multicellular foam may comprise a thermoplastic material which is the reaction product of a thermoplastic material comprising a chemical blowing agent, wherein the reacted thermoplastic material comprises reacted chemical blowing agent. In other embodiments, the multicellular foam 210 may comprise a thermoset material which is the crosslinked reaction product of a thermoplastic material comprising a blowing agent and a cross-linking agent.

[0080] In some embodiments, the multicellular material may comprise a thermoplastic material. In other embodiments, the multicellular foam 210 may comprise a thermoset material. In yet other embodiments, the multicellular foam 210 may comprise a thermoformable material.

[0081] The foamed textile 200 further comprises a first surface having a first surface texture, and a second surface, having a second surface texture, and at least one intermeshing region 220 where foam 210 and un-foamed textile 120 are interconnected. The first and second surface textures may or may not be similar. For example, the first surface may include foamed areas in which the foamed area has a greater height (i.e., sits proud of) the surrounding textile, and the second surface may be substantially flat. The intermeshing region 220 may have individual yarns 110 or fibers running through, creating an internal structure in foam 210. In some embodiments, the internal structure may act as a substructure to the multicellular foam 210, imparting various properties, such as tension or stretch resistance, stiffness, etc. In some embodiments, this structure may be web-like. In other embodiments, individual yarns 110 may be arranged substantially parallel to each other. In still other embodiments, the yarns 110 may form a series of loops through the multicellular foam 210. In any such embodiments, the yarns 110 running through the multicellular foam 210 can impart specific qualities to the multicellular foam including, but not limited to, elasticity, durability, strength, hardness, abrasion resistance, electrical conductivity, among others. Additionally, a foamed textile incorporating yarn may exhibit other advantageous properties, such as maintaining fixed distance between textile fibers, strands, and yarns, i.e. effectively locking the textile into a specified morphology. This may be additionally advantageous in instances where the spacing of textile fibers, strands, yarns, or the like has an effect on the properties of the material such as, but not limited to, electrical conductivity or resistance, elasticity, strength, shear strength, tear resistance, or resistance to fraying.

[0082] In some embodiments, and as depicted in Figures 2B, 2C, and 2E, the first surface texture comprises an area of continuous foam surface with little or no visible yarns 110 or un-foamed textile 120. As stated above, In Figures 1-8, element 120 is a genericized representation of a portion of a textile. The portion of the textile represented by 120 may be, but is not limited to, a knitted textile, a woven textile, a crocheted textile, a braided textile, a tatted textile, a wrapped textile, or some combination thereof. This first surface may be bumpy, with smaller sub-areas where a depth of the foam is relatively thicker and smaller sub-areas where the foam is relatively thinner. These sub-areas of relatively thicker and relatively thinner foam may be regularly spaced or randomly distributed over the first surface. In other embodiments, the thickness of the foam may be about uniform so that the first surface texture is essentially smooth.

[0083] The smoothness of the surface may be measured by either contact or non-contact methods. Contact methods involve dragging a measurement stylus across the surface, for instance, with a profilometer. Non-contact methods include: interferometry, confocal microscopy, focus variation, structured light, electrical capacitance, electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and photogrammetry. [0084] In other embodiments, as exemplified in Figure 5, the foamed areas 220 may be discrete at the surface, creating a ridged or dotted texture. In still other embodiments, such as the one exemplified in Figure 8, the foamed textile 200 may have a variety of foamed areas 220 creating a variety of surface features. These may include abstract designs, symbols, or other depictions, decorative textures, or functional textures.

[0085] In other embodiments, as depicted in Figures 2A, 2D, and 2F, the first surface texture comprises an area of discontinuous foam surface where sub-areas of foam are distributed between sub-areas of exposed un-foamed textile 120. These sub-areas may be regularly spaced to create a pattern or randomly distributed over the first surface.

[0086] In some embodiments, the multicellular foam 210 extends beyond the surface of the unfoamed textile 120 through a gap or aperture in the unfoamed textile. The gap or aperture may be a space between a first knit stitch and a second knit stitch in an embodiment where the unfoamed textile 120 is a knitted textile. Alternatively, in instances where the unfoamed textile is a woven textile, the gap or aperture may be the space between a first strand and a second strand of the woven textile. In other embodiments, the multicellular foam 210 extends beyond the surface of the unfoamed textile 120 through a plurality of gaps or apertures in the unfoamed textile.

[0087] In other embodiments, as depicted in Figures 2B, 2E and 2F, the foamed textile 200 may comprise foamed regions 220 where the multicellular foam 210 does not extend beyond the surface of the unfoamed textile 120. In some embodiments, such foamed areas 220 may remain below the surface of the unfoamed textile 120. In other embodiments, such foamed areas 220 may sit flush with the surface of the foamed textile 120 either such that the unfoamed textile 120 is encapsulated in the multicellular foam 210 or such that the unfoamed textile 120 is not fully encapsulated in the multicellular foam 210.

[0088] In some embodiments, exemplified in Figures 3A-3C, the foamed textile 200 may comprise a plurality of textile layers 300, 310, 320. Any one of the textile layers 300, 310, 320 may contain a foamed area 220. The layers 300, 310, 320 may be layered or interconnected to form a variety of foamed areas 220 and un foamed areas 230 creating a variety of surface textures, some of which are described above, and inner layers of intermeshed foam 210 and un-foamed textile 120. In some embodiments, of which Figure 3B is a representative, a first textile layer 300 may have a foamed area 220 comprising a first multicellular foam material 330 and a second textile layer 310 may have a foamed area 220 comprising a second multicellular foam material 340. In some embodiments, the first and second foam materials 330, 340 may comprise the same thermoplastic material. In some embodiments, the first and second foam materials 330, 340 may comprise different thermoplastic materials. In other embodiments, the first and second foam materials 330, 340 may have different densities or different multicellular structures. In still other embodiments, a third textile layer 310 may include a third multicellular foam material 350.

[0089] In some embodiments, the first and second foam materials may form a gradient zone where the first foam material 330 transitions into the second foam material 340. In other multilayer embodiments, the first foam material may not be in physical contact with the second foam material 340. In still other embodiments, the first foam material 330 may abut the second foam material 340 without forming a gradient zone.

[0090] In some embodiments, the multicellular foam 210 has a hardness ranging from about 20 to 70 Asker C, or from about 30 to about 60 Asker C, or from about 40 to about 50 Asker C. However, depending on the desired properties of the multicellular foam 210, the hardness may be greater than 70 Asker C, or less than 20 Asker C. For example, if the foamed yarn is intended to provide cushioning, a softer foam may be desirable. If the foamed yarn is intended to provide abrasion resistance or act as a sacrificial layer, a harder foam may be desirable.

IV. AN ARTICLE COMPRISING THE TEXTILE [0091] Described herein are articles incorporating the foamed textile 200 or yarn 110 described above, comprising a multicellular foam 210, wherein the multicellular foam 200 may be either-open celled or closed-cell and may be the reaction product of foaming at least a portion of a first yarn, wherein the yarn 110is a strand comprising a least one thermoplastic material comprising at least one thermoplastic polymer and a blowing agent. [0092] Such articles may include an article of footwear or a portion of an article of such (such as an upper, a sole, a collar, a tongue, a heel, or other), an article of apparel or a portion of such, an article of sporting equipment or a portion of such. The article may include the foamable textile 100 or the foamed textile 200 wherein the foamed textile 220 has un-foamed areas 230, foamed areas 220, or some combination of the two. Additionally, such articles may include or a grip element of the article, a cushioning element of the article, a sound dampening element of the article, a vibration dampening element of the article.

V. METHODS OF MANUFACTURING ARTICLES [0093] Described herein are methods of manufacturing articles incorporating the foamed textile 200 or yarn described above, comprising a multicellular foam 210.

[0094] A first method of manufacturing an article comprises the steps of affixing a first component to a second component, wherein the first component includes a textile 100 or 200 as described above.

[0095] For the purposes of this disclosure, “consisting essentially of permits inclusion of components not enumerated, provided that they do not materially affect the basic properties or characteristics of the disclosure. For example, the basic properties or characteristics can be determined using standard tests, such as standard tests of physical properties, known to one of ordinary skill in the art. Depending on the property, alteration of the property by at least 1 percent or by at least 2 percent or by at least 5 percent may be considered a material effect. Alternatively or additionally, the presence of at least 1 weight percent or at least 2 weight percent or at least 5 weight percent of impurities or other materials may be considered to materially alter a composition. These are examples and not to be considered as a finite list of properties or methods where this terminology may apply.

[0096] While various embodiments have been described, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that many more embodiments and implementations are possible. Accordingly, the embodiments described herein are examples, not the only possible embodiments and implementations. [0097] The subject matter of the disclosure may also relate to the following aspects:

[0098] A first aspect relates to a textile comprising a first yarn, the first yarn comprising: a first thermoplastic material comprising a blowing agent and at least one at least one thermoplastic polymer.

[0099] A second aspect relates to the textile of the first aspect, wherein the blowing agent is a chemical blowing agent.

[00100] A third aspect relates to the textile of the first aspect, wherein the blowing agent is a physical blowing agent.

[00101] A fourth aspect relates to the textile of the first through third aspects, wherein the textile is chosen from a knitted textile, a woven textile, a crocheted textile, a braided textile, a tatted textile, or a non-woven textile.

[00102] A fifth aspect relates to the textile of the fourth aspect, wherein the textile is a non-woven textile.

[00103] A sixth aspect relates to the textile of the fourth aspect, wherein the textile further comprises a second yarn, and the first yarn and the second yarn are in contact with each other.

[00104] A seventh aspect relates to the textile of the fourth aspect, wherein the first yarn is inlaid in the textile.

[00105] An eighth aspect relates to the textile of the seventh aspect, wherein the textile is a knitted textile, and the first yarn is inlayed in the knitted textile. [00106] A ninth aspect relates to the textile of the sixth aspect, wherein the first yarn and the second yarn are interlooped.

[00107] A tenth aspect relates to the textile of the ninth aspect, wherein the second yarn excludes the first thermoplastic material.

[00108] An eleventh aspect relates to the textile of the tenth aspect, wherein the second yarn is interlooped with at least one loop of the first yarn, thereby forming a second knitted course that is adjacent to the first knitted course. [00109] A twelfth aspect relates to the textile of the eleventh aspect, further comprising a third yarn inlaid between at least a first loop and a second loop of the knitted component.

[00110] A thirteenth aspect relates to the textile of the ninth aspect, wherein the first yarn forms a plurality of crocheted stiches. [00111] A fourteenth aspect relates to the textile of the thirteenth aspect, wherein the second yarn is interconnected to the first yarn, forming a second crocheted course.

[00112] A fifteenth aspect relates to the textile of the fourteenth aspect, further comprising a third yarn inlaid between the first and second courses. [00113] A sixteenth aspect relates to the textile of any preceding aspect, further comprising a first plurality of yarns oriented along a first direction, forming a warp comprising a plurality of warp yarns.

[00114] A seventeenth aspect relates to the textile of the sixteenth aspect, further comprising a second plurality of yarns oriented along a second direction unique from the first direction, forming a weft comprising a plurality of weft yarns. [00115] An eighteenth aspect relates to the textile of the seventeenth aspect, wherein the warp and weft are interwoven.

[00116] A nineteenth aspect relates to the textile of the sixth aspect, further comprising a third yarn, wherein the first, second, and third yarns are braided. [00117] A twentieth aspect relates to the textile of any preceding aspect, wherein the thermoplastic material comprises thermoplastic ethylene-vinyl acetate and a thermally-activated chemical blowing agent, and a thermally activated cross- linking agent.

[00118] A twenty-first aspect relates to a textile comprising: a multicellular foam, wherein the multicellular foam is the reaction product of foaming at least a portion of a first yarn, the first yarn comprising a first thermoplastic material, the first thermoplastic material comprising one or more thermoplastic polymers, optionally wherein the first thermoplastic material comprises a blowing agent. [00119] A twenty-second aspect relates to a textile comprising: a first yarn comprising a core and a multicellular foam surrounding the core.

[00120] A twenty-third aspect relates to the textile of the twenty-second aspect, wherein the multicellular foam is attached to the core.

[00121] A twenty-fourth aspect relates to the textile of the twenty-third aspect, wherein the multicellular foam is substantially surrounding the core.

[00122] A twenty-fifth aspect relates to the textile of the twenty-third aspect, wherein the multicellular foam is partially surrounding the core. [00123] A twenty-sixth aspect relates to the textile of any of the twenty-third through twenty-fifth aspects, comprising a second yarn interconnected with the first yarn.

[00124] A twenty-seventh aspect relates to the textile of the twenty-sixth aspect, wherein the second yarn is interloped with the first yarn.

[00125] A twenty-eighth aspect relates to the textile of the twenty-sixth or twenty-seventh aspect, wherein the second yarn is not surrounded by foam. [00126] A twenty-ninth aspect relates to the textile of the twenty-eighth aspect, wherein the second yarn is exposed on a first surface of the textile. [00127] A thirtieth aspect relates to the textile of any of the twentieth through the twenty-ninth aspects, wherein the first yarn comprises a core, and the core comprises a core material at least partially surrounded by a sheath material. [00128] A thirty-first aspect relates to the textile of the thirtieth aspect, wherein the sheath material comprises a thermoplastic material further comprising a blowing agent.

[00129] A thirty-second aspect relates to the textile of the thirty-first aspect, wherein the blowing agent is a physical blowing agent.

[00130] A thirty-third aspect relates to the textile of the thirty-first aspect, wherein the blowing agent is a chemical blowing agent, wherein the multicellular foam comprises a second material comprising a reacted form of the chemical blowing agent, and the second material is a foamed product of the first thermoplastic material comprising one or more polymers and the chemical blowing agent, optionally wherein the chemical blowing agent is a thermally-activated chemical blowing agent.

[00131] A thirty-fourth aspect relates to the thirty-first aspect, wherein the thermoplastic material comprises thermoplastic ethylene-vinyl acetate and a thermally-activated chemical blowing agent, and a thermally activated cross- linking agent.

[00132] A thirty-fifth aspect relates to the textile of any one of the twenty-first through the thirty-fourth aspects, wherein the multicellular foam is an open-celled multicellular foam. [00133] A thirty-sixth aspect relates to the textile of any one of the twenty-first through the thirty-fifth aspects, wherein the multicellular foam is a closed-cell multicellular foam.

[00134] A thirty-seventh aspect relates to the textile of any one of the twenty- first through the thirty-sixth aspects, wherein the second material is a thermoplastic material.

[00135] A thirty-eighth aspect relates to the textile of any one of the twenty- first through the thirty-seventh aspects, wherein the second material is a thermoset material.

[00136] A thirty-ninth aspect relates to the textile of any one of the thirty-third through the thirty-eighth aspects, wherein the second material is a cross-linked product of the first thermoplastic material comprising the one or more polymers, and wherein the first thermoplastic material comprises a cross-linking agent, optionally wherein the cross-linking agent is a thermally-activated cross-linking agent.

[00137] A fortieth aspect relates to the textile of any one of the twenty-first through the thirty-ninth aspects, wherein the textile is chosen from a knitted textile, a woven textile, a crocheted textile, a braided textile, or a non-woven textile. [00138] A forty-first aspect relates to the textile of any one of the twenty-first through the fortieth aspects, wherein the multicellular foam has a hardness from about 30 to about 60 as measured on an Asker C durometer.

[00139] A forty-second aspect relates to the textile of any one of the twenty- first through the forty-first aspects, wherein the multicellular foam has a hardness from about 40 to about 50 measured on an Asker C durometer.

[00140] A forty-third aspect relates to the textile of any one of the twenty-first through the forty-second aspects, wherein the textile has a first surface having a first texture and a second surface having a second texture.

[00141] A forty-fourth aspect relates to the textile of the forty-third aspect, wherein the multicellular foam defines a foamed area on the first surface of the textile.

[00142] A forty-fifth aspect relates to the textile of the forty-fourth aspect, wherein the foamed area sits flush with the first surface. [00143] A forty-sixth aspect relates to the textile of the forty-fourth aspect, wherein the foamed area sits proud of the first surface.

[00144] A forty-seventh aspect relates to the textile of the forty-first aspect, wherein the foamed area, having a maximum height as measured as the maximum distance from the first surface of the foamed area to the second surface, that is at least about 5 millimeters greater than a minimum height, as measured as the minimum distance from the first surface to the second surface.

[00145] A forty-eighth aspect relates to the textile of any of the forty-fifth through the forty-seventh aspects, wherein the textile includes a plurality of the foamed areas.

[00146] A forty-ninth aspect relates to the textile of the forty-eighth aspect, wherein at least three of the foamed areas are regularly spaced or periodically arranged relative to each other.

[00147] A fiftieth aspect relates to the textile of the forty-eighth aspect, wherein at the plurality of foamed areas are randomly dispersed across the first surface of the textile.

[00148] A fifty-first aspect relates to the textile of the forty-fifth or forty-sixth aspect, wherein the foamed area has a shape, and the shape is a representative shape.

[00149] A fifty-second aspect relates to the textile of any one of the forty-third through the fifty-first aspects, wherein the textile further comprises a first textile layer, comprising a first front layer surface and a first back layer surface, and a second textile layer, comprising a second front layer surface and a second back layer surface.

[00150] A fifty-third aspect relates to the textile of the fifty-second aspect, wherein the first back layer surface is in contact with at least a portion of the second front layer surface, defining an interior portion of the textile layers.

[00151] A fifty-fourth aspect relates to the textile of the fifty-third aspect, wherein the first front layer surface comprises the foamed area.

[00152] A fifty-fifth aspect relates to the textile of the fifty-third or fifty-fourth aspect, wherein the first back layer surface comprises the foamed area. [00153] A fifty-sixth aspect relates to the textile of any one of the fifty-third through the fifty-fifth aspects, wherein the second front layer surface comprises the foamed area.

[00154] A fifty-seventh aspect relates to the textile of any one of the fifty-third through the fifty-sixth aspects, wherein the first back layer surface comprises the foamed area.

[00155] A fifty-eighth aspect relates to the text of the fifty-third aspect, wherein the first back layer comprises a first foamed area comprising a first foamed material and the second front layer comprises a second foamed area comprising a second foamed material such that the first foamed material is in contact with the second foamed material within the interior portion of the textile layers.

[00156] A fifty-ninth aspect relates to the textile of the fifty-eighth aspect, wherein the first foamed material and second foamed material form a blended region where the first foamed material is intermixed with the second foamed material.

[00157] A sixtieth aspect relates to the textile of the fifty-ninth aspect, wherein the blended region is defined by a concentration gradient of the first foamed material.

[00158] A sixty-first aspect relates to the textile of any one of the fifty-third through the sixtieth aspects, wherein the textile further comprises a third textile layer, comprises a third front surface and a third back surface, such that the third front surface is in contact with at least a portion of the second back surface. [00159] A sixty-second aspect relates to the textile of the sixty-first aspect, wherein the third textile layer further comprises the foamed area.

[00160] A sixty-third aspect relates to a method for processing a textile, the method comprising the steps of: increasing a temperature of a textile, the textile comprising a first yarn, the first yarn comprising a first thermoplastic material, the first thermoplastic material comprising a blowing agent and one or more thermoplastic polymers, the first yarn optionally comprising a core, wherein, increasing the temperature comprises increasing a temperature of at least a portion of the yarn to a temperature at or above a softening temperature of the first thermoplastic material; activating the blowing agent, thereby foaming the at least a portion the first thermoplastic material of the first yarn into a multicellular foam; and solidifying the multicellular foam to form a foamed area in the textile.

[00161] A sixty-fourth aspect relates to a method for processing a textile, the method comprising the steps of: impregnating a first thermoplastic material with a blowing agent, the first thermoplastic material comprising one or more thermoplastic polymers, the first thermoplastic material forming at least a portion of a first yarn, the first yarn optionally comprising a core formed of a core material; increasing a temperature of at least a portion of a textile comprising the first yarn to a temperature at or above a softening temperature of the first thermoplastic material; activating the blowing agent, thereby foaming at least a portion the first thermoplastic material of the first yarn into a multicellular foam, and solidifying the multicellular foam to form a foamed area in the textile.

[00162] A sixty-fifth aspect relates to the method of the sixty-third aspect, wherein the blowing agent is a chemical blowing agent, optionally wherein the chemical blowing agent is a thermally-activated blowing agent.

[00163] A sixty-sixth aspect relates to the method of the sixty-fifth aspect, wherein the chemical blowing agent is chosen from sodium bicarbonate, ammonium carbonate, ammonium bicarbonate, calcium azide, azodicarbonamide, hydrazocarbonamide, benzenesulfonyl hydrazide, dinitrosopentamethylene tetramine, toluenesulfonyl hydrazide, p,p’-oxybis(benzenesulfonylhydrazide), azobisisobutyronitrile, barium azodicarboxylate, or any combination thereof. [00164] A sixty-seventh aspect relates to the method of the sixty-third or sixty-fourth aspect, wherein the blowing agent is a physical blowing agent. [00165] A sixty-eighth aspect relates to the method of the sixty-seventh aspect, wherein the physical blowing agent is chosen from a fluorocarbon; a hydrocarbon; an inert gas; an inert liquid; a supercritical fluid; or any combination thereof.

[00166] A sixty-ninth aspect relates to the method of the sixty-eighth aspect, wherein the physical blowing agent is chosen from, an inert liquid, an inert gas, or a supercritical fluid.

[00167] A seventieth aspect relates to the method of the sixty-ninth aspect, wherein the inert liquid, the inert gas, or the supercritical fluid comprises nitrogen. [00168] A seventy-first aspect relates to the method of the sixty-ninth aspect, wherein the inert liquid, the inert gas, or the supercritical fluid comprises carbon dioxide.

[00169] A seventy-second aspect relates to the method of the seventy-first aspect, wherein, prior to the foaming, the first thermoplastic material comprises the physical blowing agent in an amount of about 1 percent to about 5 percent, by weight based on upon a total weight of thermoplastic material.

[00170] A seventy-third aspect relates to the yarn of the fiftieth aspect, wherein, prior to the foaming, the first thermoplastic material comprises the physical blowing agent in an amount of about 1 percent to about 3 percent by weight based on upon the total weight of the thermoplastic material.

[00171] A seventy-fourth aspect relates to the method of the sixty-fourth aspect, wherein the impregnating the first thermoplastic material comprises infusing the first thermoplastic material with the physical blowing agent.

[00172] A seventy-fifth aspect relates to the method of the seventy-fourth aspect, wherein infusing the physical blowing agent comprises dissolving the blowing agent in the first thermoplastic material.

[00173] A seventy-sixth aspect relates to the method of the seventy-fourth or seventy-fifth aspect, further comprising the step of softening the first thermoplastic material prior to or during the step of impregnating, and re-softening the first thermoplastic material during the step of increasing the temperature.

[00174] A seventy-seventh aspect relates to the method of the seventy-sixth aspect, wherein the infusing comprises adding the physical blowing agent to a molten first thermoplastic material, forming a single phase solution of the physical blowing agent in the first at least one thermoplastic material, and solidifying the single phase solution under conditions effective to maintain the physical blowing agent in solution when solidified.

[00175] A seventy-eighth aspect relates to the method of the seventy-fourth aspect, wherein the infusing comprises infusing a solid first thermoplastic material with the physical blowing agent to form infused solid first thermoplastic material. [00176] A seventy-ninth aspect relates to the method of any one of the sixty- third through the seventy-eighth aspects, wherein the first yarn is present in at least a portion of a textile, optionally wherein the textile comprises a second yarn. [00177] An eightieth aspect relates to the method of any one of the sixty-third through the seventy-ninth aspects, wherein the step of solidifying further comprises adhering the multicellular foam to a surrounding portion of the textile, forming the foamed area.

[00178] An eighty-first aspect relates to the method of any one of the sixty- third through the eightieth aspects, wherein the step of solidifying the multicellular foam comprises decreasing the temperature of the multicellular foam.

[00179] An eighty-second aspect relates to the method of the eighty-first aspect, wherein decreasing the temperature comprises cooling the multicellular foam at ambient temperature.

[00180] An eighty-third aspect relates to the method of the eighty-first aspect, wherein the step of decreasing the temperature further comprises quenching the multicellular foam with a liquid.

[00181] An eighty-fourth aspect relates to the method of the eighty-third aspect, wherein quenching the multicellular foam comprises spraying the textile with the liquid.

[00182] An eighty-fifth aspect relates to the method of the eighty-third aspect, wherein quenching the multicellular foam comprises placing the textile in contact with the liquid in a bath.

[00183] An eighty-sixth aspect relates to the method of the eighty-third aspect, wherein quenching the multicellular foam comprises pouring the liquid on the textile.

[00184] An eighty-seventh aspect relates to the method of the eighty-first aspect, wherein the step of decreasing the temperature further comprises exposing the multicellular foam to a gas.

[00185] An eighty-eighth aspect relates to the method of the eighty-first aspect, wherein the step of decreasing the temperature further comprises placing at least the portion of the textile comprising the multicellular foam in contact with a surface.

[00186] An eighty-ninth aspect relates to the method of any one of the sixty- third through the eighty-eighth aspects, wherein the step of increasing the temperature of the first yarn comprises exposing the textile to a heat source. [00187] A ninetieth aspect relates to the method of the eighty-ninth aspect, wherein the heat source is a convection heat source.

[00188] A ninety-first aspect relates to the method of the eighty-ninth aspect, wherein the heat source is a direct heat source.

[00189] A ninety-second aspect relates to the method of the eighty-ninth aspect, wherein the heat source is an indirect heat source.

[00190] A ninety-third aspect relates to the method of the eighty-ninth aspect, wherein the heat source is an oven.

[00191] A ninety-fourth aspect relates to the method of the ninety-first aspect, wherein the direct heat source is a liquid, optionally wherein the direct heat source is a liquid bath.

[00192] A ninety-fifth aspect relates to the method of the ninety-first aspect, wherein the direct heat source is a surface.

[00193] A ninety-sixth aspect relates to the method of the ninety-first aspect, wherein the direct heat source is a surface.

[00194] A ninety-seventh aspect relates to the method of the any one of the sixty-third through the ninety-sixth aspects, wherein the step of foaming the first thermoplastic material comprises exposing the first yarn to actinic radiation. [00195] A ninety-eighth aspect relates to the method of the ninety-seventh aspect, wherein the actinic radiation is chosen from microwave radiation, radio wave radiation, electron beam radiation, gamma beam radiation, infrared radiation, ultraviolet light, visible light, or a combination thereof.

[00196] A ninety-ninth aspect relates to the method of any one of the sixty- third through ninety-eighth aspects, further comprising the step of molding the textile.

[00197] A one-hundredth aspect relates to the method of the ninety-ninth aspect, wherein molding the textile comprises applying a mold to the textile. [00198] A one hundred and first aspect relates to the method of the one hundredth aspect, wherein the mold is a slump mold.

[00199] A one hundred and second aspect relates to the method of the one hundredth aspect, wherein the mold is a compression mold. [00200] A one hundred and third aspect relates to the method of the one hundredth through the one hundred and second aspect, further comprising the step of increasing a temperature of the mold.

[00201] A one hundred and fourth aspect relates to the method of the one hundred and third aspect, wherein the step of increasing a temperature of the mold is performed after applying the mold to the textile.

[00202] A one hundred and fifth aspect relates to the method of the one hundred and third aspect, wherein the step of increasing a temperature of the mold is performed before applying the mold to the textile.

[00203] A one hundred and sixth aspect relates to the method of the one hundredth through the one hundred and fifth aspects, further comprising the step of removing the textile from the mold following the step of solidifying the multicellular foam.

[00204] A one hundred and seventh aspect relates to the method of the one hundred and sixth aspect, wherein the step of decreasing the temperature of the first thermoplastic material is performed before or during the step of removing the textile from the mold.

[00205] A one hundred and eighth aspect relates to the method of the one hundred and sixth aspect, wherein the step of decreasing the temperature of the first thermoplastic material is performed after removing the textile from the mold. [00206] A one hundred and ninth aspect relates to the method of any one of the sixty-third through the one hundred and eighth aspects, further comprising the step of infusing a physical blowing agent into the first thermoplastic material, wherein the infusing is conducted prior to the steps of softening the first thermoplastic material, foaming the first thermoplastic material, and solidifying the multicellular foam.

[00207] A one hundred and tenth aspect relates to a textile made by the method of any one of the sixty-third through the hundred and ninth aspects. [00208] A one hundred and eleventh aspect relates to an article comprising: a textile comprising a first yarn, the first yarn comprising a first thermoplastic material, the first thermoplastic material comprising a blowing agent and one or more thermoplastic polymers, optionally wherein the first yarn comprises a core, the core comprising a core material. [00209] A one hundred and twelfth aspect relates to an article comprising: a first yarn, the first yarn comprising a first thermoplastic material, the first thermoplastic material comprising a blowing agent and one or more thermoplastic polymers.

[00210] A one hundred and thirteenth aspect relates to an article comprising: a textile comprising a multicellular foam, wherein the multicellular foam is the reaction product of foaming at least a portion of a first yarn, the first yarn comprising a first thermoplastic material, the first thermoplastic material comprising a blowing agent and one or more thermoplastic polymers, optionally wherein the first yarn comprises a core, the core comprising a core material.

[00211] A one hundred and fourteenth aspect relates to the article of the one hundred and thirteenth aspect, wherein the textile is a textile according to any one of the first through the sixty-first aspects.

[00212] A one hundred and fifteenth aspect relates to the article of the one hundred and fourteenth aspect, wherein the multicellular foam has a hardness from about 30 to about 60 as measured on an Asker C durometer.

[00213] A one hundred and sixteenth aspect relates to the article of the one hundred and fourteenth aspect, wherein the multicellular foam has a hardness from about 40 to about 50 measured on an Asker C durometer.

[00214] A one hundred and seventeenth aspect relates to the article of any one of the one hundred and eleventh through the one hundred and sixteenth aspects, wherein the article is an article of footwear.

[00215] A one hundred and eighteenth aspect relates to the article of any one of the one hundred and eleventh through the one hundred and sixteenth aspects, wherein the article is an article of apparel.

[00216] A one hundred and nineteenth aspect relates to the article of any one of the one hundred and eleventh through the one hundred and sixteenth aspects, wherein the article is an article of sporting equipment.

[00217] A one hundred and twentieth aspect relates to the article of any one of the one hundred and eleventh through the one hundred and sixteenth aspects, wherein the textile is a grip element of the article. [00218] A one hundred and twenty-first aspect relates to the article of any one of the one hundred and eleventh through the one hundred and sixteenth aspects, wherein the textile is a cushioning element of the article.

[00219] A one hundred and twenty-second aspect relates to the article of any one of the one hundred and eleventh through the one hundred and sixteenth aspects, wherein the textile is sound dampening element of the article.

[00220] A one hundred and twenty-third aspect relates to the article of any one of the one hundred and eleventh through the one hundred and sixteenth aspects, wherein the textile is a vibration dampening element of the article. [00221] A one hundred and twenty-fourth aspect relates to a method of manufacturing an article, the method comprising: affixing a first component to a second component, wherein the first component includes a textile according to any one of the sixty-third through the eighty-second aspects.

[00222] A one hundred and twenty-fifth aspect relates to the method of the one hundred and twenty-fourth aspect, wherein the first component is an upper for an article of footwear, and the second component is a sole structure for an article of footwear.

[00223] A one hundred and twenty-sixth aspect relates to an upper for an article of footwear comprising: a textile including a first yarn, the first yarn comprising a core yarn and a first thermoplastic material forming an unfoamed coating at least partially surrounding the core yarn; wherein the core yarn comprises a plurality of fibers or filaments, each of the plurality of fibers or filaments comprising a core material; and wherein the first thermoplastic material comprises at least one first thermoplastic polymer chosen from a thermoplastic polyurethane, a thermoplastic polyolefin, a thermoplastic polyester, a thermoplastic polyether, a thermoplastic polyamide, or any combination thereof; and a chemical blowing agent, wherein the chemical blowing agent is present in the first thermoplastic material in an amount effective to foam the unfoamed coating of the first thermoplastic material into a multicellular foam.

[00224] A one hundred and twenty-seventh aspect relates to the upper for an article of footwear of the one hundred and twenty-sixth aspect, wherein the textile is a knitted textile, and the knitted textile further comprises a second yarn. [00225] A one hundred and twenty-eighth aspect relates to the upper of the one hundred and twenty-seventh aspect, wherein the first yarn is inlayed in the knitted textile between courses of the second yarn.

[00226] A one hundred and twenty-ninth aspect relates to the upper of the twenty-seventh aspect, wherein the second yarn is interlooped with at least one loop of the first yarn.

[00227] A one hundred and thirtieth aspect relates to the upper of any one of the one hundred and twenty-sixth through the one hundred and twenty-ninth aspects, wherein the first thermoplastic material comprises the thermoplastic polyolefin and the thermoplastic polyolefin includes a thermoplastic ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer, wherein the chemical blowing agent is a thermally-activated chemical blowing agent, wherein the first thermoplastic material further comprises a thermally-activated cross-linking agent, and wherein the core material comprises a thermoplastic polyester.

[00228] A one hundred and thirty-first aspect relates to an upper for an article of footwear comprising: a textile comprising a multicellular foam at least partially surrounding and attached to a core yarn; wherein the core yarn comprises a plurality of fibers or filaments, each of the plurality of fibers or filaments comprising a core material; and wherein the multicellular foam is the product of processing an unfoamed coating at least partially surrounding the core yarn to expand the unfoamed coating into the multicellular foam; wherein the multicellular foam comprises a first polymeric material including at least one first polymer chosen from a polyurethane, a polyolefin, a polyether, a polyamide, or any combination thereof; and the degradation product of a chemical blowing agent.

[00229] A one hundred and thirty-second aspect relates to the upper of the one hundred and thirty-first aspect, wherein the unfoamed coating comprises a first thermoplastic material including at least one first thermoplastic polymer chosen from a thermoplastic polyurethane, a thermoplastic polyolefin, a thermoplastic polyester, a thermoplastic polyether, a thermoplastic polyamide, or any combination thereof; and a chemical blowing agent, wherein the chemical blowing agent is present in the first thermoplastic material in an amount effective to foam the unfoamed coating of the first thermoplastic material into the multicellular foam. [00230] A one hundred and thirty-third aspect relates to the upper of the one hundred and thirty-second aspect, wherein the first polymeric material is a cross- linked polymeric material.

[00231] A one hundred and thirty-fourth aspect relates to the upper of the one hundred and thirty-third aspect, wherein the unfoamed coating comprises a first thermoplastic material including at least one first thermoplastic polymer chosen from a thermoplastic polyurethane, a thermoplastic polyolefin, a thermoplastic polyester, a thermoplastic polyether, a thermoplastic polyamide, or any combination thereof; a cross-linking agent; and a chemical blowing agent, wherein the chemical blowing agent is present in the first thermoplastic material in an amount effective to foam the unfoamed coating of the first thermoplastic material into the multicellular foam.

[00232] A one hundred and thirty-fifth aspect relates to the upper of any one of one hundred and thirty-second through the one hundred and thirty-fourth aspects, wherein the multicellular foam has a hardness from about 30 to about 60 as measured by an Asker C durometer.

[00233] A one hundred and thirty-sixth aspect relates to the upper of any one of one hundred and thirty-second through the one hundred and thirty-fifth aspects, wherein the textile further comprises a second yarn, and the second yarn is exposed on a first surface of the textile.

[00234] A one hundred and thirty-seventh aspect relates to the upper of any one of one hundred and thirty-second through the one hundred and thirty-sixth aspects, wherein the multicellular foam defines a foamed area on the first surface of the textile.

[00235] A one hundred and thirty-eighth aspect relates to the upper of the one hundred and thirty-seventh aspect, wherein the textile includes a plurality of the foamed areas, and at least three of the plurality of foamed areas are regularly spaced or periodically arranged relative to each other.

[00236] A one hundred and thirty-ninth aspect relates to the upper of the one hundred and thirty-seventh aspect, wherein the textile includes a plurality of the foamed areas, and the plurality of foamed areas are randomly dispersed across the first surface of the textile. [00237] A one hundred and fortieth aspect relates to the upper of the one hundred and thirty-seventh aspect, wherein the foamed area has a shape, and the shape is a representative shape.

[00238] A one hundred and forty-first aspect relates to a method for processing an upper for an article of footwear, the method comprising the steps of: forming a foamed area in a textile portion of the upper by expanding at least a portion of an unfoamed coating of a yarn present in the textile into a multicellular foam by increasing a temperature of the yarn to a first processing temperature; after expanding the unfoamed coating into the multicellular foam, decreasing a temperature of the multicellular foam to a second processing temperature at which the multicellular foam adheres to the core yarn, adheres to a surrounding portion of the textile, and solidifies while retaining its multicellular structure, thereby forming the foamed area in the textile portion; wherein the yarn comprises a core yarn and a first thermoplastic material forming the unfoamed coating, the first thermoplastic material at least partially surrounds the core yarn, the core yarn comprises a plurality of fibers or filaments, and each of the plurality of fibers or filaments comprising a core material; wherein the first thermoplastic material comprises at least one first thermoplastic polymer chosen from a thermoplastic polyurethane, a thermoplastic polyolefin, a thermoplastic polyester, a thermoplastic polyether, a thermoplastic polyamide, or any combination thereof, the first thermoplastic material further comprises a blowing agent, and the blowing agent is present in the first thermoplastic material in an amount effective to expand the unfoamed coating of the first thermoplastic material into a multicellular foam; and wherein the first processing temperature is a temperature at or above a softening temperature of the first thermoplastic material.

[00239] A one hundred and forty-second aspect relates to the method of the one hundred and forty-first aspect, wherein the multicellular foam is a cross-linked foam, and the first thermoplastic material further comprises a cross-linking agent. [00240] A one hundred and forty-third aspect relates to the method of the one hundred and forty-first or one hundred and forty-second aspect, wherein the core material is a second thermoplastic material, and the first processing temperature is a temperature at least 20 degrees Celsius below a softening temperature of the second thermoplastic material. [00241] A one hundred and forty-fourth aspect relates to the method of any one of the one hundred and forty-first through the one hundred and forty-third aspects, wherein the blowing agent is a thermally-activated blowing agent, and the first processing temperature is a temperature at or above the activation temperature of the thermally-activated blowing agent, and optionally, when the multicellular foam is a cross-linked foam and the first thermoplastic material further comprises a thermally-activated cross-linking agent, the first processing temperature is a temperature at or above the activation temperature of the thermally-activated cross-linking agent.

[00242] A one hundred and forty-fifth aspect relates to an upper for an article of footwear made by the method of any one of the one hundred and forty-first through the one hundred and forty-fourth aspects.