A Fish Is An Animal That Lives In A Brook Why Leather Is Special

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Why Leather Is Special

Indeed, tanning has been described as the first human leather production process. But what are the properties that make these leather-based products so special? To begin with, leather is a sheet material with the area of ​​each piece varying from tens of square centimeters to six, seven or more square meters depending on the animal from which it is taken. Until the development of woven textiles, it was the only material available in sheets of this size. Then there is the complex physical structure of leather and the materials made from it. A close examination of the composition of a piece of leather shows that it consists mainly of long thick fibers and bundles of fibers interwoven in three dimensions within a jelly-like ‘ground substance’. Other features such as hairs and roots, muscles, blood vessels and fat cells are present, but it is this intricate, three-dimensional, woven structure that predominates and gives skin-based materials many of their unique physical qualities. These properties include flexibility, a relatively high tensile strength with particular resistance to shock loads, resistance to tearing, puncture and abrasion, low bulk density, good heat insulation and water vapor transmission. They also include formability, resistance to wind and liquid water, and the ability to stretch and compress without distorting the surface.

Many of these characteristics are common to both leather and other leather products, but linguistic studies suggest that materials as diverse as rawhide, oil-tanned leather, alum-tanned leather, and vegetable-tanned leather were differentiated from each other since early times. However, by the end of the eighteenth century, the actual nature of the tanning process was examined and the question was raised as to how leather was different from these other materials. These will be taken into account. A fundamental property of leather is that while a rawhide is subject to rapid bacterial degradation mainly due to the action of proteolytic enzymes, the leather is resistant to such microbiological attack even if kept moist. However, there are a number of techniques such as salting, drying, solvent dehydration and acid pickling which will provide temporary protection against bacterial attack. This rot resistance, however, is lost if the fibers are allowed to get wet. Similarly, the effects of treatments involved in the preparation of parchment or alum skins, known for their longevity, are altered by repeated immersion in water.

Leather is a material made from the skin of a vertebrate, whether a mammal, reptile, bird, fish or amphibian, by a process or a series of processes that renders it non-decomposable in warm, moist conditions. A genuine leather retains this property after repeated wetting and drying. Leather is usually dried to give a relatively supple and dark product, but it can be hard or soft, flexible or rigid, rigid or pliable, thick or thin, limp or elastic, depending on the nature of the leather used and the process used. It has been the aim of the tanner throughout the ages to produce a product with only the combination of properties required by the end user.

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