What chemicals are used to tan leather?
After the hides are removed from the beam house and thoroughly cleaned of debris, blood, salt, and hair, leather tanning is the first step in producing leather. We must process a hide or skin before it can make a leather product. This process is called the Leather Tanning Chemical. The leather becomes more durable through tanning, which alters the fibers' chemistry, making it more difficult for bacterial and fungal enzymes to break them down.
It is most likely chrome-tanned leather when buying leather goods or sourcing leather. Most leathers—about 80% of them—are chrome-tanned. Thus, the most common chemical used to tan leather is chromium. However, there are other options besides chrome tanning. Tan leather, there are several techniques and substances available. The following four tanning techniques and chemicals will be covered:
· Chrome tanning
· Vegetable tanning
· Zeology: zeolite-based tanning
Chromium (chromium III) mineral salts are used in the process of chrome tanning, as the name implies. Most people are unaware that chromium is a necessary component of our daily diet, despite chromium III being a safe mineral... It has been asserted on the occasion that chromium VI (Cr VI), also known as hexavalent chrome, is a carcinogen used for tanning leather. Chrome VI is used in the production of leather.
Chrome tanning creates consistent leathers that keep their qualities after being used or worn year after year. Leather Tanning Chemical results in a blue/grey color after tanning; this colour is typically recolored to provide the desired final color in the leather.
The oldest tanning technique is vegetable tanning. It makes use of tree and shrub nuts and wood extracts. These are obtained from a sustainable source, thanks to responsible vendors. This approach typically requires more time to tan leather, but the end product has a unique appearance and handling that age nicely.
Vegetable-tanned leather gives the impression that it is more "eco-friendly" based on its name and the tanning substances employed. However, to draw a more relevant comparison with other approaches, we must consider the overall balance throughout the process. For instance, leathers tanned with chromium require several times as much tannin as leathers tanned with vegetables. Therefore, additional treatment is necessary before the generated effluent can be released. However, it offers the advantage of using raw materials that are natural, sustainable, and renewable.
Zeology: zeolite-based tanning-
The usage of zeolites is a breakthrough in leather tanning chemical technology. Zeolites have the unusual ability to release or absorb water depending on the temperature. Leather comfort depends on its ability to absorb water, so it is ideal to have a tannage without swelling.
It's crucial to understand that when purchased as a raw ingredient sold by the kilogram, zeolite cannot be used as a tanning agent. The cost of the tanning ingredient per kilogram is the only benefit cited for these zeolite mixtures. On the other hand, Zeology was created for the best leather performance on any substrate with minimal environmental effect and unequalled production consistency. It uses a changed zeolite (patented).