Polyurethane Electrospun Fiber Biomimetics Membrane for Constructing the Structure of Grain Layer with Good Breathability for Cattle Split Leather

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Nan Chen
Yanchun Li
Jianbo Qu
Jian-Yong Wang


The traditional thick coating on split leather does not have the ability to breathe like full grain leather.  The air and water vapor permeabilities of full grain leather are well known properties due to its fiber woven structure. Simulating the fiber morphology and weaving structure of the dermis or grain layer is very important to construct a top surface layer for split leather. In this paper, a PU (polyurethane) foam layer is put first on the split to enhance the adhesion of a second application of a superfine fibrous PU resin. This foam uses well-known waterborne polyurethane foaming technology. This dried foam has good breathability because of high porosity. A superfine fiber membrane is next put atop of the foam layer by using an electro-spun polyurethane resin. This second resin imitates collagen fibers in the network structure of the leathers’ grain layer. Thus, this resultant electrospun fiber biomimetics membrane simulated the grain layer of natural leather. SEM showed the morphology and structure of this electrospun fiber biomimetic membrane to be like that of the grain layer of natural leather. The porosity and apparent density were basically the same as the grain of leather, which were 63.65% and 583.878 kg/m3 respectively. The air and water vapor permeability of the biomimetics membrane were also as high as 2250 mL·cm-2·h-1 and 8753.02 μg·cm-2·h-1 respectively. Therefore, the biomimetics membrane largely restored the ability to breathe of split leather. Thus, this method simulates the performance and structure of full grain leather and is a novel method for industrial production

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