Eco-friendly Chrome Tanning of Leather using Ultrasound Technique

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Md. Abu Sayid Mia
Shamima Yeasmin
Mohammad Nurnabi
Md. Zahangir Alam


This article describes the development of an environmentally friendly chrome tanning process of leather using ultrasound. Most of the leathers are tanned by the conventional method using basic chromium sulfate. It is one of the most polluting and time-consuming steps in leather processing. Investigations were carried out on ultrasound assisted eco-friendly tanning process so that the chrome tanning agent could provide better quality leather. Effects of using ultrasound in chrome tanning process were studied at different pH, tanning time, tanning agent dosage, and then compared with that of conventional method. Tanned leathers were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), photomicrographic analysis, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX). SEM analyses of the surface and cross-section of the tanned leather showed that fiber structures were not affected by ultrasound. It was also found that the shrinkage temperature of leather tanned with ultrasound was increased by about 5-29 °C. Chrome uptake and content were found to increase by 30-50% and 1-7%, respectively. Tanning time was shortened from 6 hours to 2 hours and the quantity of leachable chromium in ultrasound assisted chrome tanned leather was also decreased significantly. The noteworthy enhancing effects have been attributed largely because of the increased penetration of tanning agents into pickled leather. Photomicrographic analysis of the cross-section of the tanned leather also showed a higher penetration of tanning agents in presence of ultrasound.

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