How does tanning work? And now we’re not talking about that orange stuff that comes out of a can… Well, at least not today, we’re wondering how leather become soft supple and perfect for shoes. Here’s how your winter boots come to be.
We can’t completely tiptoe around the fact that leathers made out of animal skin, completely untreated, it’s not useful to us because it’ll just rock, but simply drying animals can out-give you unfree ride those weird stirs you give to your dogs. You have to do a lot more than dry skin to turn into the leather, that process is called tanning. There are several purposes to tanning, it prevents bacteria from matching on the skin, which would cause it to rot, it stabilizes the internal molecular structure, making it flexible and long-lasting and improves the skins resistance to temperature, but even though people have been making leather since before the donor written history, chemists are still trying to understand exactly what’s happening on a molecular scale, other is mostly made of collagen, the main protein components of skin collagen is made of a long protein string, the twisted and Helix that’s wrapped up with other strands to form a bigger Helix that are bundled together into fibrils to make leather, you have to remove everything else from the skin while stabilizing the collagen, and that’s a long process.
Anakin may be preserved in salt before they’re 10, which drives them out slightly and discourages bacterial growth when they’re ready to use, the skins have to be soaked in water to wash off the salt and replace the moisture, then you have to get everything out that is in collagen, and there are a bunch of steps to do that, all of this is to prep the skin and get it ready for Taichi first, any excess hair and fat and other gun are removed, the skins are treated with an alkaline pH, which helps get rid of the rest of the hair, then they’re brought back into neutral and treated with enzymes to remove pretty much all the biological components that aren’t collagen from the skin, then the PHS brought down into acidic territory and more chemical treatments are added, but get this… All of this is to pretend the hide basically prepping to turn it into leather as opposed to actually doing that… That’s right, we haven’t even gotten to the tanning part not, which is the part that does all the things we told you about stabilizing the college and the leather and making it last… At this point, a leather makers have a few choices about what kinds of chemicals to use to actually Tamar, the most ancient method of leather tanning uses a class of compounds called polyphenols driven plans not a vegetable tanning.
There’re quite a few different potential chemicals involved in this based on the type of plants they’re coming from, but they might, for example, look like this, the OS interact with parts of the collagen, an alternative to polyphenols was developed around the Industrial Revolution. They began using chromium instead, specifically chromium 3. And here in the present day, it’s used to make about 90% of all leather kind of like the polyphenols, the chromium forms of larger complex… Is that interact for collagen? It’s faster than vegetable tanning, it smells better and it’s more versatile, it produces a softer, more flexible leather that’s better for garments, you probably don’t wanna wear a leather, check it to as vegetable tan. It’d be pretty stiff. However, there’s a real downside to chromium tanning, which is that certain chromium compounds are suspected to cause cancer, and tanning produces a lot of Chromium waste, which is why Chemist and leather workers are experimenting with greener, more efficient ways to use chromium as well as other metals like titanium, which don’t always work as well, but are probably safer, it’s not clear exactly what happens to the structure of collagen, one is treated with plant polyphenols or chromium, but what we do know is that the physical arrangement of the college in fibers and the way they’ve linked together, changes to form something sturdy yet flexible, in other words, leather, there are some final steps in which the lovers died and treated to give the proper finish, one of those as fat liquor and
Yes, that’s really what it’s called, which replaces some of the natural oils and fats that were removed during the tanning with different oils and pass to physically lubricate the new leather, another takes a long journey to get to you, and even though we’ve been using it for thousands of years, that ancient process still works with a few more modern chemical twists.