Materials

An Alternative to Leather Starts with Silk

Researchers at Tufts University School of Engineering used silk to create an alternative to leather. The material has a leather-like texture, flexibility, and stiffness, while being sustainable, non-toxic, and friendly to the environment.

“Our work is centered on the use of naturally-derived materials that minimize the use of toxic chemicals while maintaining material performance so as to provide alternatives for products that are commonly and widely used today,” said Tufts professor Fiorenzo Omenetto . “By using silk, as well as cellulose from textile and agricultural waste and chitosan from shell-fish waste, and all the relatively gentle chemistries used to combine them, we are making progress towards this goal.”