Current trends in leather science

Anthony D. Covington*, William R. Wise

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview Articlepeer-review


Abstract: In preparing the second edition of ‘Tanning Chemistry. The Science of Leather.’, the literature was updated and the content was revised and reviewed. Here, the new findings are presented and discussed. Notable developments include the necessary rethinking of the mechanism of sulfide unhairing because of new understanding of the aqueous chemistry of sulfide species. Revision upwards of the value of the second pKa for sulfide species ionisation means that S2− cannot exist in an aqueous medium, so the unhairing species in hair burn reactions is HS−. Although the technology remains the same, this means the mechanisms of associated reactions such as immunisation must be revised. Rawstock preservation has benefitted from studies of the potential role of materials from plants which accumulate salt, but which also contribute terpene compounds. There is also further discussion on the continuing issue of chromium (VI) in the leather industry. The application to processing of new solvents, ionic liquids and deep eutectics, is the coming technology, which offers transforming options for new chemistries and products. Renewed interest in vegetable tanning and methods of wet white processing are current trends. Also, within the topic of reagent delivery is processing in a solid medium of plastic beads. Graphical abstract:
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Leather Science and Engineering
Issue number1
Early online date15 Dec 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Dec 2020


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