Submitted to: Journal of American Leather Chemists Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/3/2013
Publication Date: 2/1/2014
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/60239
Citation: Liu, C., Latona, N.P., Taylor, M.M. 2014. Preparation of nonwoven and green composites from collagen fibrous networks. Journal of American Leather Chemists Association. 109(2):35-40.
Interpretive Summary: The hides and leather industries are facing a serious challenge in the disposal of solid wastes, such as trimmings and splits generated during the manufacturing process. Most of these wastes are transported out of processing plants for landfills, not only incurring the expense of transportation but also creating environmental issues. ARS scientists at Wyndmoor, PA have solved this problem by developing the methods to convert these wastes into useful products such as fiber-reinforced composites (FRC). Research was done to process the solid wastes into collagen fibrous networks such as nonwoven mats, which were then mixed with gelatin and molded into fiber-reinforced composites. Potential applications of FRC include landscaping timbers, park benches, window and door frames, and indoor furniture.
Technical Abstract: The disposal of solid wastes, such as trimmings and splits generated in various manufacturing processes in a tannery is a serious challenge to the hides and leather industries. Most of these wastes are transported out of processing plants for landfills, not only incurring the expense of transportation but also creating environmental issues. Our effort to address these new challenges is to develop new uses and novel biobased products from solid wastes to improve prospective markets for the hides and leather industries. 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 that have been processed to remove the noncollagenous materials through the hair removal, liming, and bating steps. Previous research was devoted to understand the effects of dehydration on the resultant fiber networks and the effects of processing steps such as bating, pickling, and crosslinking treatments on the morphology and physical properties of the fiber networks derived from un-tanned hides, which will be the starting material for constructing air filters and green composites. This study focuses on preparations of nonwoven and green composites derived from fiber networks. Nonwoven sheets were prepared using paper-making technology. They were then used as reinforced components to make composites that use gelatin as the matrix. Mechanical properties were evaluated for the resultant composites; results showed that the fiber sizes and gelatin content have significant effects on the properties of resultant nonwoven and composites.