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Synthesis of specialty fatliquors by gemini surfactants for making the Smart Leather


Md. Sayem Alam1


1 Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)- Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), Industrial Chemistry Laboratory, Adyar, Chennai 600 020, India.

E-mail: sayemalam@gmail.com, sayem@clri.res.in.



Gemini surfactants are surfactants that have two hydrophilic groups and two hydrophobic groups per molecule, rather than the single hydrophilic and single hydrophobic group of conventional surfactants [1]. Because of the greater efficiency and effectiveness of Gemini surfactants (viz., surface activity (10 to 100 times more efficient), lower critical micelle concentration (CMC) (CMC is at least one order of magnitude lower), solubilization (better solubilizing), low Kraft temperature, etc.) over comparable conventional surfactants make them more cost-effective as well as environmentally desirable [1].

The leather and leather products industry is one of the oldest manufacturing industries in India and holds a very prominent place in the Indian economy (among the top ten foreign exchange earners). Indian tanneries produce about 2 billion sq.ft of leather per annum. The industry employs 2.5 million people. More than 50% of the total turnover of $7.5 billion is from exports.

For thousands of years, leather as one of the collagen materials has been among the most dominant fibrous materials used by humans. It needs lots of processes to get excellent leather. Fatliquoring is one of the most important processes in order to get excellent leather. Oil and a lubricant called as fatliquoring agent is added to the leather can give the leather a supple and plump handle, and improve the physical capabilities of the leather [2]. At the same time, fatliquoring influences the physical properties of the leather, such as extensibility, tensile strength, wetting properties, waterproofness and permeability to air and water vapour. Therefore, fatliquors are very important chemicals for making quality leathers. The specialty fatliquors by Gemini surfactants (viz., waterproof fatliquoring agent, low fogging fatliquoring agent, sun-proof fatliquoring agent, filling performance of fatliquoring agent, etc. could be used to make the smart leather which would have air permeabilit , thermal stability and other purpose wise advantages. The leather fatliquored should be good fullness, softness, water-resistance, elasticity and silky feeling, which will be full- illed the peoples demands [2].


Keywords: Indian economy; Emulsion; Gemini surfactants; Fatliquors; Smart leather; Leather Industries.


Acknowledgement: Thankful to Department of Science and Technology (DST), New Delhi, Govt. of India for the financial support.



1. R. Zana and Y. Talmon, Nature, 362, 228 (1993);

2. R. Zana, J. Xia (eds.), Gemini Surfactants: Synthesis, Interfacial and SolutionPhase Behavior, and applications, Marcel Dekker: New York (2004).