17 August 2023

Alternative Materials - Plant-based fillers bring no technical benefit to alternative materials, FILK boss says

The views of the co-general manager of research body FILK, Dr Michael Meyer, are still in high demand when the subject of comparisons between leather and synthetic materials comes up, reports Leatherbiz.

In mid-August, German television channel ZDF aired a report about the appeal of alternative materials that include words such as apple or cactus in their descriptions.

When it asked Dr Meyer’s opinion, he made it clear that leather outperforms synthetic substitutes in comfort and in technical performance metrics such as tear-strength. Then the FILK co-general manager cast doubt on the validity of using the names of plants in the synthetic materials’ product names.

Having led an influential comparative study of leather and nine prominent alternatives at FILK in 2021, he said one of his conclusions is that the plant content adds nothing to performance of the alternative materials.

He told ZDF that, technically, these products are plastic with some filler based on extracts or pulp from plants such as apple or cactus. But he insisted the plant-based content brought no technical benefit to those materials and do nothing to enhance their performance. “They bring nothing at all,” he said.

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