Tough new pineapple leather is 60X stronger than other materials

June 17, 2024 | Times |

Researchers at Mahidol University in Thailand have created a novel leather alternative from pineapple leaf fibers, marking a significant advancement in sustainable materials. This bio-based leather surpasses other plant-derived options and even outperforms mushroom-based leather in strength and durability. Unlike traditional leather production, which often involves chemical treatments and environmental concerns, the process developed by the researchers utilizes natural rubber for adhesion without additional plastics.

The pineapple leaf fibers are processed by cleaning, chopping, grinding into a paste, drying, and sieving to extract fibers known as PALF (pineapple leaf fibers). Two types of PALF were tested: untreated (UPALF) and treated with sodium hydroxide (TPALF), each offering different properties. A thin layer of natural latex is applied to these fibers, which are then dried and compressed, mimicking the texture and structure of traditional leather.

In testing, PALF exhibited impressive mechanical properties, including a tensile strength of 12.3 MPa, far superior to mushroom-based leather alternatives like MuSkin. It also demonstrated excellent tear resistance and durability compared to existing pineapple leaf leather products. The research, published in the journal Sustainability, highlights PALF as a sustainable solution for the fashion industry, offering not only strength and durability but also the potential for diverse applications and environmental benefits compared to conventional leather production methods.

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