Submitted to: Journal of American Leather Chemists Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2016
Publication Date: 3/1/2017
Citation: Liu, C., Latona, N.P., Brady, B. 2017. The prediction of leather mechanical properties from airborne ultrasonic testing of hides. Journal of American Leather Chemists Association. 112(3):94-101.
Interpretive Summary: Animal hides are the highest value byproducts of the meat industry. The U.S. beef industry produces approximately 32 million cattle hides annually. Nearly 90% of the cattle hides are exported for processing to countries with lower labor costs and less restrictive environmental policies. This research is aimed to develop advanced technologies to provide greater precision in quality identification prior to tanning, which will place U.S. hides and skins in a competitive advantage in the global marketplace over other national competitors. This report revealed the nondestructive method using ultrasonic waves to characterize the properties of hides and further to predict the mechanical properties of leather. Observations showed that the tensile strength, stiffness, elongation, and toughness of leather could be predicted by the ultrasonic scanning of the raw hides. The significance of this finding is profound because it provides the industry with a nondestructive way in which to evaluate the quality of hides that are important to the leather properties.
Technical Abstract: High quality, clean, and well-preserved hides are paramount for competitiveness in both domestic and export markets. Currently, hides are visually inspected and ranked for quality and sale price, which is not reliable when hair is present on the hides. Advanced technologies are needed to nondestructively and accurately characterize the quality of hides and enable one to predict mechanical properties of leather. Research was carried out to develop airborne ultrasonic (AU) methods to nondestructively characterize the quality of hides that are useful for predicting the mechanical properties of leather. The developed nondestructive method is based on measuring the AU waves transmitted through the hide samples. We performed a systematic study and used a statistical experimental design to establish the relationship between key test parameters and responding AU quantities, thereby establishing proper AU testing methods for hides. Moreover, observations showed AU parameters derived from the distribution of Time of Flight (TOF) and the amplitude of transmitted waves (AMP) have a strong correlation with the mechanical properties of leather. This study demonstrated that the tensile strength, stiffness, elongation, and toughness of leather could be nondestructively predicted by the physical quantities obtained from AU testing of hides.