Natural and synthetic leather share strong similarities in many respects. Therefore, it is important that we know their unique characteristics to make it easier to distinguish amongst them. Also, the prices of high-quality synthetic leather items are somewhat similar to those of natural leather. Owing to this, one may even mistake synthetic leather as natural leather. This article unveils the unique features of both the natural and synthetic types while highlighting their strengths and limitations. This will assist leather craftsmen and clients who will be adequately informed about the types of leather to choose for the production of a particular article.
Some of the unique features of synthetic leather that would make its identification less strenuous have been stated below.
1. It is a chemical compound that can smell badly by false processing and become discolored by taints applied.
2. It is very cold, so it is not good to wear the garment even on a windy autumn day.
3. It is heavier in weight than sheepskin, but lighter than cowhide.
4. When it gets into contact with fire it burns out immediately, even with a quick touch of fire from a lighter.
5. Though it absorbs cream like natural leather, spots appear on its surface while natural leather absorbs the nutrients of the cream like the human skin without spots.
6. When synthetic leather is touched, its surface appears rigid and is very poor in terms of softness.
7. It has a strong irritating smell of plastic.
8. When synthetic leather is burned, it produces a pungent odor and forms a lump.
9. It tears easily.
10. It is not pliable or flexible.
11. It is also nonelastic. This implies that it is not capable of resuming its original shape after stretching or compression.
On the other hand, natural leather can be identified using four physical identification methods such as hand touching, seeing, smelling and burning.
1. Hand touching: touch leather surface, if smooth, soft, plump, flexible feel is the dermis; and a general artificial surface made of synthetic leather acerbity, rigid, and poor soft.
2. Seeing: real leather surface will have a clearer and more symmetrical fine pores and pattern.
3. Smelling: Natural leather has a leather smell while synthetic leather has a strong irritating smell of plastic.
4. Burning: Tear a litter fiber from the back of real leather and artificial leather, burning, the one issued by a pungent odor, formed a lump is an artificial leather; any given hair smell, not a hard nut to crack is the real leather.
These characteristics of the types of leather and the items they can best be used in their production must be known by the leather craftsman. This would enable him or her to professional recommend a specific leather choice for the production of a leather item to clients.