Reducing leather pollution with molten salts

phys.org | 9/13/2017 | Staff
sheenabeanna (Posted by) Level 3


From handbags and jackets to car interiors, leather products are almost everywhere. But processing the leather for these luxury items creates a lot of potentially harmful pollution. Now, one group reports in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering a new method for processing leather that is more eco-friendly.

According to Rolls Royce, it takes 12 cow hides to upholster the interior of one of their automobiles. The journey from cow to a leather seat is a long one, involving many steps. One of the more well-known steps is called tanning, but before that can even happen, hair must be removed from the hides, and the fibers must be "opened" up or swollen. Currently, manufacturers use lime and sodium sulfide to accomplish these steps, but this produces sludge waste and toxic gas, and then it requires ammonium salts to remove the lime. Ionic liquids are molten salts at room temperature and are not very volatile, making them attractive alternatives to harsh substances. These liquids have been investigated for use in leather-making, but they've only been applied to a single process. Jaya Prakash Alla, Jonnalagadda Raghava Rao and Nishter Nishad Fathima wanted to see whether they could completely eliminate the need for lime and sodium sulfide by using ionic liquids in both the hair removal and fiber opening steps.

Team - Treatments - Goat - Skins - Control

The team performed three different treatments on goat skins. For the control, the researchers used traditional methods. The second...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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