Submitted to: Journal of American Leather Chemists Association
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/30/2013
Publication Date: 5/1/2015
Citation: Ramos, M., Muir, Z.E., Uknalis, J., Trusello, J. 2015. Development of an alternative low salt bovine hide preservation using PEG and crude glycerol, part II: mechanical properties of leather products. Journal of American Leather Chemists Association. 110(5):125-129. Interpretive Summary: Good quality leather products can be obtained from well preserved hides. The objective of the current study is to develop an alternative brining process that is environmentally friendly requiring lesser amount of salt and still effectively preserve hides and have no adverse effects on the environment and resulting leather products. During proper hide preservation, moisture content is effectively reduced inhibiting microbial growth and preventing any spoilage. An effective low salt hide preservation was made possible by adding a water absorbing agent. It generated crust leather products with similar physical properties to the control leather obtained from traditionally preserved hides. Crude glycerol has a unique property that can be utilized in the effective bovine hide preservation. As a humectant, it can keep the hide from becoming too dry and brittle protecting it from any unwanted damage to the integrity of the hide grain and the resulting leather products.
Technical Abstract: To obtain good quality leather products, the hides from which they are derived should be preserved properly while in storage and transit to prevent putrefaction. Current practice for hide preservation is salt curing via concentrated NaCl solutions. The objective of the current study is to develop alternative brining processes that require lesser amounts of salt and have no adverse effect on the resulting leather products. By incorporating a dehydrating agent such as polyethylene glycol polymers (PEG), only a fraction of the commonly used amount of salt is necessary (from about 50% to less than a 25% of the weight of raw hide) to generate an efficiently preserved hide. The scanning electron microscopic (SEM) images and mechanical properties of the resulting crust leather products were comparable to the control obtained from traditionally preserved hides. To compensate for the potential over drying and formation of very tight grain, a humectant such as glycerol (with sodium carbonate) was also included. The rehydration of the test preserved hides is completed in a shorter period of time because the amount of salt in the hides is already quite low. Considering the low cost in obtaining the crude glycerol and its positive effects on quality of leather, it is quite desirable as an ingredient in the new alternative less salt hide preservation.