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Effects of alpha-tocopherol addition to polymeric coatings on the UV and heat resistance of a fibrous collagen material—chrome-free leather

Authors

  • Cheng-Kung Liu,

    Corresponding author
    1. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038-8598
    • United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038-8598
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  • Nicholas P. Latona,

    1. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038-8598
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  • Mila Ramos

    1. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Eastern Regional Research Center, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038-8598
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  • Mention of brand or firm name does not constitute an endorsement by the US Department of Agriculture over others of a similar nature not mentioned.

Abstract

The US is the world's 3rd largest hide producing country and currently produces approximately 35 million cattle hides annually. The majority of hides are tanned into leather, which is composed of collagen fibers interwoven into fibrous networks. Most leather products are constantly exposed to outdoor environments, therefore UV and heat resistance are very important qualities, particularly for nonchrome-tanned (chrome-free) leather. In recent years, we have focused on using environmentally friendly antioxidants that will improve the UV and heat resistance of chrome-free leather. Tocopherols are well-known antioxidants commonly used in the cosmetic and food industries. They are known as potent free radical scavengers and highly protective agents for collagen fibers against UV damage. We have investigated their potential to improve the UV and heat resistance of chrome-free leather. Experiments were conducted by adding 5–12% α-tocopherol to the polymeric topcoat on the grain of chrome-free leather. The treated samples were tested in a weatherometer, where they were exposed to artificial sunlight. Colorfastness and mechanical property tests showed that α-tocopherol significantly improved UV and heat resistance of leather. Dynamic mechanical tests showed that α-tocopherol reduced the hardening effects on leather caused by UV irradiation. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011

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