Sustainable efforts carried out by tanneries, committed to outlining processes to reduce consumption of water and chemicals, have to deal with some limits imposed by current technologies. “Conversely, nanotechnology may enhance efficiency and bring it to standards which are not feasible at present – illustrates Paolo Netti, Professor of Industrial Bio-Engineering at Federico II University of Naples -. We can prevent wastefulness, by using a strictly necessary quantity of tanning agents. We can completely remove water, therefore solving the sewage issue. Furthermore, we can also functionalize leather in a brand new way”.
Netti presented the work-in-progress of the Leather Plus project (“we are confident it will be ready within 12 to 18 months”) at Lineapelle Innovation Square, while talking about the Nano Tech Trends. “We have created a few somehow challenging prototypes, such as ice bucket and swimsuit, made of leather and fully hydrophobic – carried on the professor –. Since we can act very specifically on the structure of collagen, we may consequently obtain anti-scratch or fireproof materials, depending on our needs”. Netti focuses on the concept of efficiency: “Nanotechnology enables us to be surgical, spatially as well. Nowadays, owing to hides tanning in drums, the whole leather undergoes the same processing – he remarks –. Conversely, we shall manage to tan variously different parts of the same hides”.
Moreover, nanotechnologies enable AFFOA, a US research institute, to develop “intelligent” fabrics that can interact and swap information with device, therefore providing items of clothing and accessories with new capacities. Pursuing such research attitude, Laura Fabris, associate professor at Rutgers University (USA), has been working on the use of precious metals for several functions. Lineapelle Innovation Square agenda goes on with some panels on Wearable technologies and bio-based materials. It is going to end on October 4 with a focus on upcycling and fashion outlooks.