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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY PROCESSES AND NEW APPLICATIONS FOR ANIMAL HIDES AND LEATHER

Location: Biobased and Other Animal Co-Products

Title: Effects of dehydration methods on the characteristics of fibrous networks from un-tanned hides

Authors
item Liu, Cheng Kung
item Latona, Nicholas
item Taylor, Maryann
item Latona, Renee

Submitted to: Journal of American Leather Chemists Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 5, 2011
Publication Date: March 1, 2012
Citation: Liu, C., Latona, N.P., Taylor, M.M., Latona, R.J. 2012. Effects of dehydration methods on the characteristics of fibrous networks from un-tanned hides. Journal of American Leather Chemists Association. 107(3):70-77.

Interpretive Summary: The hides and leather industry has been facing a serious challenge in the deposal of solid wastes such as trimmings and splits. Most of these wastes are transported out of processing plants for landfills, not only incurring the expense of transportation but also creating environmental issues. Obviously, the best strategy to solve this problem is to convert these wastes into useful products. Therefore, research is needed to investigate the preparation of fibrous materials having adequate mechanical properties and optimal degree of fiber separation from waste hides. This study was devoted to understand the effects of a key processing step--dehydration on the morphology and physical properties of the resultant fiber networks from un-tanned hides, which will be the starting material for constructing air filters and fiber reinforced composites. Five dehydration methods were investigated and observation showed solvent- and freeze- drying yielded the lowest apparent density indicating a higher degree of separation in the fibrous networks that will be favorable for further processing into useful products. Microscopic observations also confirmed the fibers were more separated from solvent- and freeze-drying than those from the other dehydration methods. The results of this research will be useful for the production of high quality fibrous products and composites.

Technical Abstract: To improve prospective markets and to secure a viable future for the hides and leather industries, it is important to develop new uses and novel biobased products from hides. We hypothesize collagen fiber networks derived from un-tanned hides can be utilized to prepare high performance green composites and air filters, of which both have a great market potential. Collagen fiber networks were obtained from split hides after the bating step in the tanning process in order to remove the noncollagenous materials from the hides. This study was devoted to understand the effects of a key processing step--dehydration on the morphology and physical properties of the resultant fiber networks, which will be the starting material for constructing air filters and green composites. Five dehydration methods were investigated and observation showed solvent- and freeze- drying yielded the lowest apparent density indicating a higher degree of separation in the fibrous networks that will be favorable for further processing into useful products. SEM observations also confirmed the fibers were more separated from solvent- and freeze-drying than those from other the dehydration methods. Mechanical testing showed the lower apparent density led to lower tensile strength, greater elongation at break, lower Young’s modulus, and higher toughness. The results of this research will be useful for the production of high quality fibrous products and green composites.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014