Simulation of Leather Visco-Elastic Behavior Based on Collagen Fiber-Bundle Properties and a Meso-Structure Network Model
Simulation-based prediction of mechanical properties is highly desirable for optimal choice and treatment of leather. Nowadays, this is state-of-the-art for many man-made materials. For the natural material leather, this task is however much more demanding due to the leather's high variability and its extremely intricate structure. Here, essential geometric features of the leather's meso-scale are derived from 3D images obtained by micro-computed tomography and subsumed in a parameterizable structural model. That is, the fiber-bundle structure is modeled. The structure model is combined with bundle properties derived from tensile tests. Then the effective leather visco-elastic properties are simulated numerically in the finite element representation of the bundle structure model with sliding contacts between bundles. The simulation results are validated experimentally for two animal types, several tanning procedures, and varying sample positions within the hide. Finally, a complete workflow for assessing leather quality by multi-scale simulation of elastic and visco-elastic properties is established and validated.