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Innovative technology for surface modification of materials for leather industry

Introducing the biocide with the participation of the plasma and vacuum technique on surfaces of polymers (both synthetic and natural) and thus obtain materials with biocidal properties. Surface modification is to be made in such a way as to ensure lasting attachment biocide materials.

There is no doubt that shoes play a very important role in everyday life. Maybe they are sometimes a bit underestimated but very vital part of human clothing. These usual and common shoes are essential isolation, which separates foot from ground while walking. They provide protection from direct, mechanical injuries. At the same time they greatly improve the comfort of walking. Due to significant changes in the human environment (conditions of living, technical and technological development, the widespread use of chemicals in production), both comfort as well as safety of the shoes user are the most important areas of interest. Hygiene and comfort properties ensure well-being of shoes’ user and his or her feet health. Shoes cater for diverse and frequently changing human needs. The method of biocide (PHMB) introduction onto the surface of polymer materials is an innovative attempt to use this antibacterial substance in order to obtain textile and leather materials resistant to bacteria and fungi. It is expected that in the future these innovative materials will be used in the footwear industry in order to improve physiological and usable properties of the footwear. Mainly small and medium-sized companies producing materials for the footwear industry, and belonging to the textile, leather, and polymer processing branch will be the potential customer of the project results. The rational result of the project will be to develop an innovative technology of using PHMB to modify footwear materials including polymer surfaces used for their production. As a result, significant progress in the work to improve the comfort of footwear use will be achieved. Physiological and usable properties of the footwear will be improved, as the risk of potential adverse health impact of the material to the skin will be reduced. The risk of negative impact on feet skin health occurs in the shoes, in which internal microclimate, setting during long-term use promotes growth of fungi and bacteria. If the materials used do not provide adequate heat and moisture exchange with the environment, this can lead to establishing of such, disadvantageous conditions. The undertaken issue has characteristics of innovation both due to the use of plasma treatment of leather, as well as an attempt to give it biocidal properties. The project also involves development of instrumental methods for determining PHMB attachment to the leather and textile materials. Footwear available on the market, especially in the lower price segment, is almost entirely made of synthetic polymeric materials. Approximately 70% of footwear available on the market is made of these types of material, but in the case of shoes imported from the Far East, its contribution is over 90%. The scale of import to the domestic market is very high - over 50 million pairs yearly. Thus it is very import to develop methods of material modification, which will enable giving them physiological and functional features that are user friendly. This will allow keeping beneficial economic relations in the case of shoes production of plastic material with a significant improvement of their wholesomeness.
Acronym: 
PLAZ-BIO
Project ID: 
8 812
Start date: 
01-01-2014
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
1 030 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Footwear / Leather Technology
Market Area: 
Clothing, shoes and accessories (including jewellery)

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.