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item Liu, Cheng Kung
item Latona, Nicholas - Nick

Submitted to: American Leather Chemists Association Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2006
Publication Date: 6/21/2006
Citation: Godinez-Azcuaga, V.F., Liu, C., Latona, N.P., Hanson, M., Finlayson, R.D. 2006. Recent progress on acoustic methods for nondestructive evaluation of leather quality [abstract]. American Leather Chemists Association Meeting. p. 21.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Quality control and assurance procedures in the leather industry require destructive tests to be performed on finished leather in order to determine material properties. These destructive tests are performed prior to leather being made into a final product, are time consuming and lessen the square footage of the material, therefore infringing the manufacturer's total profit. Thus, there is the need for nondestructive tests that can evaluate the leather properties during the manufacturing process in an accurate and efficient manner. Previous research performed by ARS and Physical Acoustics Corporation (PAC) has shown that acoustic methods have the potential to be used for evaluating material properties of leather. More recent research shows that Acoustic Emission (AE) and Airborne Ultrasonics (UT) offer the best potential for on-line monitoring of the leather manufacturing process. If implemented, these acoustic methods would give the leather industry real time data during the manufacturing process, allowing them to differentiate between good and bad hides. This would save the leather manufacturers a considerable amount of money, decrease the use of chemicals, reduce production time, increase the value of the leather and increase quality. This paper discusses the activities performed by PAC, ARS, and SETON during the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I project "Acoustic Emission for the Characterization of Leather." The main objective of this project was to demonstrate the feasibility of using AE and Airborne UT to assess, characterize, and classify the quality level of various types of leather. The results obtained in this project show that it is feasible to use AE for the evaluation of leather quality during the manufacturing process. Also, results show that Airborne UT C-scan imaging techniques can be used to reveal the presence of areas of different acoustic properties, which are an indication of local variations of the leather material properties. Also, these UT imaging techniques can reveal the presence of defects in the leather created by healed wounds in the hide or any other physical discontinuity that could affect the leather quality. Finally, this paper discusses PAC's newly designed AE system for the evaluation of leather quality. This system, which combines a handheld AE instrument with a rolling sensor probe, offers the potential for testing entire hides in the manufacturing plant. Data could be gathered from different sections of the hide, along different directions with respect to the backbone, and during different stages in the milling process.