Today not only fashion items such as handbags, shoes and garments, but also everyday products like car seats and furniture are often made of polyurethane (PU) based artificial leather as a sustainable alternative to genuine leather. It is durable, weather-resistant, easy to clean and versatile in terms of colour and design.
Although the production process of PU based artificial leather is more environmentally friendly than those used for the genuine leather, it’s still not very green. Artificial leather largely consists of a porous layer of polyurethane that is applied to a textile and is then sealed with a top coat, and until now producers have been dependent on a process that uses the organic solvent dimethylformamide (DMF). According to the European Chemicals Regulation REACH, this solvent is a substance of very high concern, causing many manufacturers to look for an alternative sustainable solution.
Over the years, Evonik has been at the forefront in the development of sustainable solutions for producing artificial leather. At the All China Leather Exhibition (ACLE) 2019 from September 3 - 5, the biggest and most important leather trade show in China, Evonik will showcase its environmentally friendly solutions for PU based artificial leather.
Evonik’s Crosslinkers business provides high performance raw materials for PUD leather refinish, significantly improving the performance of 1K/2K high solids, waterborne systems.
• VESTANAT®IPDI/H12MDI, Cycloaliphatic diisocyanate for manufacturing light-stable PUR elastomers, PUR resins and PUD.
• VESTAMIN® IPD, Diamine chain extender for high performance PUR resins and PUD.
• VESTAMIN® A95, Sulfonate chain extender for high solid PUD
• 2K aliphatic PU for the adhesive layer.
Evonik’s Comfort and Insulation business has developed a series of additives specifically for use in the production of waterborne and solvent-free PU leathers.
• ORTEGOL® P series including innovative foam stabilizers that provide fast foam build-up, outstanding fine foam structure and superior foam stability. Additionally, these products have a much lower tendency of migration, they are low-emissive and provide high system compatibility.
• ORTEGOL® PD and PV dispersants and thickeners are optimized for PUD foaming applications to achieve the best film properties.
• TEGOSTAB® series offers a broad variety of silicone surfactants providing numerous benefits, such as optimized cell structure, improved substrate wetting or improved levelling.
• POLYCAT®, DABCO® and KOSMOS®, provide a broad variety of standard and delayed amine catalysts, as well as tin-free metal catalysts to give a full control of the reactivity of the PU coating.
Nowadays, around 90 percent of world’s PU based artificial leather is manufactured in China. In line with the Chinese government’s strong push towards an environmentally friendly society, Evonik focuses on developing eco-friendly and high performance solutions that strongly support the green initiatives in China.
Learn more about Evonik’s portfolio for a more sustainable way of making artificial leather by visiting us at E07b, E2 at All China Leather Expo in shanghai, China.
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