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Research Project: Improving the Quality of Animal Hides, Reducing Environmental Impacts of Hide Production, and Developing Value-Added Products from Wool

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Title: The Quality of Leather Estimated From Airborne Ultrasonic Testing of Hides

Author
item LIU, CHENG KUNG
item CHEN, NUSHENG - OAK RIDGE INSTITUTE FOR SCIENCE AND EDUCATION (ORISE)
item Latona, Nicholas - Nick

Submitted to: Journal of American Leather Chemists Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/7/2019
Publication Date: 11/7/2019
Citation: Liu, C., Chen, N., Latona, N.P. 2019. The quality of leather estimated from airborne ultrasonic testing of hides. Journal of American Leather Chemists Association. 115(2):63-70.

Interpretive Summary: Cattle hides are the highest value byproducts of the beef industry. High quality, clean, and well-preserved hides are important for competitiveness in both domestic and export markets. However, at present, hides are only visually inspected and ranked for their quality. Since visual inspection is not reliable for evaluating the quality of hides when hair is present, the development of an objective and nondestructive method to accurately characterize the quality of hides is necessary and indispensable. Efforts have been made to develop new technologies to provide a quality estimation before leather making process, thereby placing U.S. hides and skins in a competitive advantage in the global marketplace over other national competitors. This report revealed the method using non-contact ultrasonic sensors to characterize the hides and further to estimate the quality and physical properties of corresponding leather. The developed nondestructive method is based on measuring the ultrasound waves transmitted through the hide samples. We have discovered that ultrasound amplitude distribution value yielded the best correlation with the ultrasound test variables. Observations showed that the fullness, overall quality, tensile strength, stiffness, elongation, and toughness of leather could be estimated by the ultrasound quantities tested from corresponding hides. The results derived from this research are instrumental for establishing a quality control/quality assurance method for manufacturing.

Technical Abstract: High-quality 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 estimate the characters and mechanical properties of leather. We were the first to carry out research for airborne ultrasonic (AU) methods to nondestructively characterize the quality of hides. The developed nondestructive method is based on measuring the AU waves transmitted through the hide samples. Research results demonstrated that the amplitude average distribution received from ultrasonic wave transmitted through the hide samples yielded the best correlation with the AU key test variables: gain, speed, and frequency. Observations showed AU parameters derived from the average distribution of amplitude value (AMPa) and time of flight (TOFa) of transmitted ultrasound waves have a correlation with the quality of leather. This study demonstrated that the fullness, overall characters, tensile strength, stiffness, elongation, and toughness of leather could be nondestructively estimated by the ultrasonic quantities obtained from AU testing of hides.