Many people quite rightly believe thatusing animal skins for clothing is too cruel. In this regard, scientists are constantly trying to create an inexpensive, durable and beautiful replacement for natural leather. During Soviet times, the most common leather substitute was leatherettewhich was a cottonfabric with leather-like coating applied on both sides. This material has been used almost everywhere, from the automotive industry to clothing. But the quality of the material was considered terrible, because it torn easily and did not look very beautiful outwardly. Today, better materials are used together with genuine leather, but work is still underway to create an even better alternative. Scientists from the UK have recently succeeded in developing artificial leather from a very unexpected raw material.
Leatherette - one of a kind of artificial leather. Natural cotton acts as the basis of this material, and the surface is covered with nitrocellulose (flash cotton). It is believed that leatherette is highly flammable, so people check natural leather by bringing fire to it - real leather supposedly does not burn.
Pros of genuine leather
People started making clothes from animal skinsmillions of years ago, one might say, in the Stone Age. Natural material is still actively used because it has a lot of advantages. Unlike environmentally friendly substitutes, genuine leather is highly durable, has a structure of several layers and is flexible to various types of processing and dyeing. Leather clothes and shoes easily take the shape of the wearer's body and can last for decades and practically not lose their original beauty. Because of all these positive qualities, leather goods cost several thousand dollars. But, with all this, the skin also has significant disadvantages.
Cons of genuine leather
The most obvious disadvantage of making leather clothingand footwear is that it is necessary to kill animals. Many people do not even imagine what terrible pain animals have to endure - sometimes they peel off their skin without even killing them. All these horrors are shown in a shocking the film "Earthlings"which I mentioned in the article about the new spider withpainted on the back "Joker". And people who know about all this nightmare are increasingly abandoning leather and fur products. They only buy clothes and shoes made from artificial materials. In general, they buy a down jacket instead of a fur coat and feel calmer.
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But the use of natural leather does not harmonly to animals, but also to the environment. To get a lot of skin, it is necessary to breed animals from which they are brutally stripped. But animals need to be well fed, for which huge pastures are created. At the same time, the natural habitats of many other living organisms are being destroyed, some of which are already on the verge of complete extinction. In addition, some animals, such as cattle, produce massive amounts of greenhouse gases, triggering global warming.
Faux leather made from mushrooms
As mentioned above, artificial materialslike leatherette can not boast of high quality at all. Therefore, in published in the scientific journal Nature Sustainability, British scientists have proposed to create artificial leather from mushrooms. This is a mushroom mycelium, which is a structure of many thin filaments called hyphae. From the school curriculum, many of us already know that mushrooms that grow on the surface of the Earth are only a tiny part of a huge system. Surface fungi are interconnected by an extensive mycelium, the main part of which is the mycelium. Around the 1950s, papermakers discovered the organic substance chitin in the walls of the mycelium. Some manufacturers even made building materials from mycelium. So why not make faux leather too?
The researchers did not reveal the essence of the technologymanufacture of leatherette, but they already exist. It is believed that artificial leather made from mushroom raw materials will be as strong, elastic and beautiful as natural. Moreover, its production will not harm either animals or the environment. The main thing now is to put the cultivation of mycelium and the production of leather into use. In the meantime, only a few companies around the world are engaged in this business.
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You can look at the appearance of mushroom skinalready now, because the founder of the Mycoworks company, artist Phil Ross, is engaged in the manufacture of such material. He and his team grow mycelium with different properties by manipulating the temperature and humidity of the air in which it grows. Raw materials from mushrooms are tanned, in which they are treated with various substances to impart plasticity, strength and other properties inherent in natural leather. Locks, buttons, and other garments can be embedded into leather during the manufacturing process, so that the garments of the future may not even use ordinary thread sewing. Therefore, jackets and boots for people will be as durable as possible.
In general, big mushrooms are being laid todayhope. In one of the materials, my colleague Lyubov Sokovikova told how mushrooms can save humanity from disease. You can read about it in this article. It turned out very interesting, so don't postpone it and read it now!