Politecnico di Torino - Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24 - 10129 Torino, ITALY

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INNOVATIVE LEATHER-LIKE MATERIAL

Circular economyLeather scrapsPolishing powdersRecyclingTannery waste

Introduction

The exploitation of waste from the leather production chain is the main purpose of this invention, which proposes an innovative process of processing leather waste for the production of reusable leatherette material in various sectors. The leather production chain produces various scraps material such as: pieces of leather and fleshing, splitting in pelt or tanned, or polishing powders, scissors scraps or parts of non-workable leather, whose disposal involves heavy costs both economically and environmentally.

Technical features

The waste from the tanning industry can be advantageously used instead of resorting to the expensive disposal or reuse procedures conventionally used. The process for the production of imitation leather material starting from scraps of leather processing includes the steps of: a) reduction into fibers with the sole use of mechanical means, b) preparation of a mixture containing a thermoplastic polymer and the aforementioned fibers, c ) Heating of the mixture in order to cause the melting of the thermoplastic polymer, generally based on polyurethanes and polycaprolactones, d) extrusion and cooling at room temperature with the obtainment of the imitation leather material.

This material meets the commodity, performance and eco-toxicological requirements envisaged by the industry standards, whose parameters can be evaluated according to the IULTCS international methods (IUP-IUC-IUF). It has physical-mechanical properties, such as fibrousness, permeability and breathability, very similar to those of real leather, since the collagen of the fibers of the material has not been degraded or pulverized.

Possible Applications

  • Footwear, clothing, furniture / upholstery;
  • Other sectors such as saddlery, technical articles, construction and automotive components;
  • Suitable for surface colouring in every possible nuance (application of dyes or pigments, in combination with polymers).

Advantages

  • Colour durability to rubbing, resistant to light and water damage (including chlorine or sea water) or dry cleaning;
  • Breathable, water repellent, and with low flammability;
  • Resistant to abrasions, tearing, sewing, traction and even extreme atmospheric agents.