A cross-linkable spring-like polymer finishing agent inserted into calfskin leather for high elastic recovery performance.

The recovery property of leather after being stretched or bent will decrease over time because of intermolecular interaction, such as hydrogen bonding between collagen fibers.

The current methods to improve leather elasticity include chemical-softening which leads to shorter polymer chains and mechanical-shaking which is a merely physical interaction. All these cannot reach an outstanding or durable effect.

In this project, led by Prof. Jinlian HU at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), a novel polymer with spring-like chains is inserted between the collagen fibers by cross-linking to the active terminal groups of leather. Those chains will work as “spring” to support the fiber network so that the leather can spring back to its original shape after pressure deformation.

Special features and advantages

• The new chemical can be easily used together with existing polymers during the post-processing of calfskin leather such as retanning, colouring and softening agents.

• The calfskin leather with good elastic recovery will be particularly suitable for handbag production which requires good shape retention and soft hand feel.


• The new chemical can improve the performance and added values of leather.

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Materials provided by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.