Bio-sourced artificial leather for interior automotive applications
Flexible interior artificial leather is today produced on the basis of soft PVC and PUR and to a small extent of polyolefins, whereby the polyurethanes are primarily suitable for high-quality materials. PU-based coating systems have several advantages: The mechanical properties of the coating can be adjusted in a wide range and they are thermally stable. Furthermore, they are considered as a substitute for PVC because they are free from plasticizers. Fraunhofer WKI has developed a series of bio-sourced polyurethane leathers with a bio-sourced proportion of >85 wt.-%. The polymer matrix consists of sugar and vegetable oil derivatives and it is waterborne. The polymer material is UV-curable, providing an improved mechanical performance for the leather as well as an excellent chemical resistance. The elongation at break could be up to 175%, while the bio-source artificial leather is resistant to water and common household chemicals, such as red wine, 48% alcohol, mustard and water. For applications where there is no requirement for highly flexible materials e.g. dashboard lamination or gear stick, we also developed a finish that is resistant to sunscreen. Furthermore, a flexible head rest was designed by memory-wood foam. The final properties of the wood foam are accomplished by a combination of wood and a bio-soured latex to reach a pliable head rest. After the construction of head rest, the material was covered with the bio-sourced polyurethane leather smoothing the surface of the memory-wood foam.