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Author Topic: Is there a plastic with similar properties to leather?  (Read 3649 times)

Paul Anderson

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Paul Anderson  asked the Naked Scientists:

Dear Chris and team,

These days lots of things are made of plastic, e.g. lunch boxes, toolboxes, etc , and with being used each day, it is not long before the plastic hinge along the back breaks, or the little plastic lug at the front breaks.

Why cannot someone come up with a flexible plastic that is as good as leather or skin which can last animals for a life time?

You might point to plastic school bags, but when I was a lad I seem to remember only having one leather schoolbag, but these days the cheap Asian plastic school bags only seem to last a couple of terms or a year if you are lucky.

I presume my late father would have said it was the consumer market and inbuilt obsolescence.

Regards

Paul
NZ

What do you think?


 

Offline RD

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Is there a plastic with similar properties to leather?
« Reply #1 on: 01/09/2008 19:22:46 »
Neoprene is quite resilient. (it's used to make fan-belts).
 

lyner

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Is there a plastic with similar properties to leather?
« Reply #2 on: 04/09/2008 09:33:25 »
It depends on which particular property of leather you need.
A lot of very serviceable and attractive luggage is made from PVC. It's often hard to tell the difference - they even put little holes in it to look like the pores in leather. A fabric backing helps to resist splitting. It won't rot like leather, either.
Btw, skin only lasts an animal for a lifetime because it is being constantly repaired. Self-repairing plastics really would be something.
 

Offline Don_1

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Is there a plastic with similar properties to leather?
« Reply #3 on: 09/09/2008 10:05:39 »
Back in the 70's a PVU was developed for furniture as an alternative to leather called 'Airskin'. As it's name suggests, it was a 'breathing' leather substitute on a cloth backing. It was a very good mimic of the soft supple hides. But like all plastics of it's type, it was susceptible to oils from the human skin. This made the 'Airskin' turn brittle over time.

There is no substitute for the real leather that combines all the properties of the real thing.

Antique leather furniture can still be serviceable after more than 100 years if kept clean with saddle soap and fed with leather treatments containing the right oils and waxes. I think almond oil is one of the ingredients of such treatments.
 

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Is there a plastic with similar properties to leather?
« Reply #3 on: 09/09/2008 10:05:39 »

 

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