Research & Development

Integrating natural fabrics with leather for making amalgamated products

Sustainability for the leather industry has become a great challenge. In the near future, leather is likely to be reserved for exclusive leather products due to its high cost and insufficient supply. As leather is a by-product of meat industry the supply of leather raw material is fairly constant, however the demand for leather products is increasing continuously. Synthetic leathers are emerging as an alternative material with comparable properties to that of natural leathers for most of the applications. However, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of environmental issues and hence there is a need for ecofriendly biodegradable materials to supplement natural as well as synthetic leathers. Natural fibers are the first choice when it comes to biodegradable materials. Therefore, in order to meet the growing demand for products, the possible alternative solution would be to amalgamate leather with natural fabrics for making lifestyle products. These combination products will definitely fetch a huge market potential and would possibly address the environmental issues and limited raw material supply.

Investigations on Structural, Mechanical and Thermal Properties of Banana Fabrics for Use in Leather Goods Application

Banana fiber is abundantly available in our country and it has been found to be a potential reinforcement in thermoplastic, thermoset, and rubber matrices. In this study, three types of banana fabric have been chosen and analyzed for physical, morphological and thermal properties. It was found that most of the physical properties of banana-based fabrics are comparable to that of buffalo shrunken grain leather used for leather goods application. The rub and light fastness properties of banana fabrics are better than that of buffalo shrunken grain leather. Scanning electron microscopic analysis and FT-IR provided convincing evidence for characteristic fiber pattern in the individual fiber bundles (yarn). The thermal decomposition behavior of banana fabrics seems to have uniform weight loss during decomposition. The results of this study suggest that the identified banana fabrics can be used for making a variety of products in combination with leather for several applications.

Sustainable Fashion Lifestyle Accessories: A Leather Perspective

In today’s scenario electronic gadgets have become an integral part of day-to-day activity. A large number of office goers frequently travel with backpacks to carry such gadgets; hence ergonomically designed backpacks have become important. If it is not suitably designed, in longer run this creates musculoskeletal disorders in human body. So there is always a need and potential for ergonomically designed back packs.

To improve motorcycle safety many countries mandate the wearing of personal protective equipment. Finding clothing to shield the bike rider from impact and abrasion is very important. Properly fitting protective gear will help the rider to stay comfortable when encountering various riding conditions. Touring gadgets for accommodating biker’s safety would be the prime focus. Design and development of indigenously made protective gears for bikers has huge market potential.

Development of Ankle-Foot Orthosis for Pressure Offloading Using Advanced Technologies

This project deals with the new design and development of AFO for patients with diabetic foot ulcer. Reduction in plantar pressure at the site of ulceration is essential for treatment of diabetic foot ulceration. Foot pressures, shock, and shear can be reduced with appropriately fitted Ankle-Foot Orthosis (AFO) and customized insoles. AFO offers lot of advantages for patients with active foot ulcers. The new design and materials used for fabrication of AFO make the treatment cost effective and affordable by the patients in India.

Design and Development of Assistive devices for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is a static neurologic condition resulting from brain injury that occurs before cerebral development is complete. Neonatal risk factors for Cerebral Palsy include birth lesser than 32 weeks gestation, birth weight of less than 2.5 kg, intrauterine growth retardation, intracranial hemorrhage and trauma. The estimated prevalence in the general population is 2-3/1000. A study reviewed one thousand children in North India with Cerebral Palsy (CP) to understand their clinical profile, etiological factors and associated problems. It was found that spastic quadriplegia constituted the predominant group (61%) followed by spastic diplegia (22 %). The United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) Foundation estimates that nearly 800,000 children and adults in the United States are living with one or more of the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy.

The rehabilitation options depend on particular condition of deformity. Physiotherapy, orthotic devices, spasticity reduction, medication and surgery are prime strategies handled by professionals to rehabilitate the children. Out of various options orthotic devices are considered to be a main form of therapy. As part of CSIR-CLRI research program, development of dynamic orthosis which used to rehabilitate the children along with gait training

a) Pneumatic Powered Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis

The device will give precise flexion and extension to knee joint which can be controlled by physiotherapist. By means of the said activity, one can overcome the spasticity of the muscle by externally powered actuator assembled with Dynamic Orthosis. Powered by externally compressed air and supplied to the orthosis the weight of the orthosis maintained at a minimum level. Physiotherapist by using the Control switches for extension and flexion of knee joint to regulate Dynamic Orthosis movement provides the stretching exercise along with gait training. Based on the preliminary promising result and feedback received from the stockholders, a advance orthosis development is also proposed.

b) Bio-mechatronic orthotic device for Rehabilitation of motor disorders (BioMOD)

Part of development of advance Knee ankle foot orthosis, in coloration with CSIR-CSIO Chandigarh, proposal under way to design and develop an improved knee ankle foot orthosis (KAFO) with virtual intelligence for children with cerebral palsy (CP) using rapid prototyping techniques. It incorporate advanced actuating mechanism to effectively utilize the residual movements. Control the movement precisely sensors used to measurement of range of motion (ROM) and quantification on ADL or similar scales for monitoring the rehabilitation progress.

Application of virtual intelligence and biofeedback system in the rehabilitation orthotic device is a new concept for the rehabilitation of CP children

Design and Development of Stimulating Footwear for People with Diabetic Neuropathy

According to International Diabetes Federation, 425 million adults worldwide are currently affected by diabetes, one of the leading causes of neuropathy. Currently there are over 69.2 million reported cases of Diabetes in India. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is a serious and common complication of type 1 and type 2 Diabetes. Generally, DPN affects the toes and distal foot, but slowly progresses proximally to involve the feet and legs which will finally result in problems with sensation in the feet, diabetic foot ulcer and finally ends with amputation. Many therapeutic approaches for treating DPN condition have been studied such as medications, electrical stimulation and acupuncture methods which are limited to relieving pain and discomfort, as well as to preventing additional tissue damage. Therefore, there is a need in the art for a therapy which promotes nerve regeneration rather than treating the symptoms of the pathologies.

This project is aimed to stimulate mechanoreceptors and nerve endings present in the plantar soles by using proper stimulating footwear for regenerating the nerves and thus improving poor posture and poor gait in People with Diabetic Neuropathy to prevent Diabetic Foot Ulcer.

Gait analysis to mass customization of footwear

Footwear have been used by mankind for several centuries and made based on the foot sizes normally measured in static position, considering the length and width of the foot. But in certain kind of footwear which is meant for particular purpose like athletic footwear, footwear for growing feet and health care footwear, it is expected to provide the appropriate fitting and comfort to the end-users to fulfill the purpose. But the shoe sizing system, which we follow in India, is an adopted shoe sizing system which calls for mass customization to specialty shoes at least. Though the standardized footwear sizing systems are available worldwide for general population, some customization is required for certain groups of people. In the present project, mass customization of footwear for three groups of people such as sports personnel (athletes), children with foot deformities and people with fallen foot arch on their specific foot dimensions and gait (walking pattern) is proposed. Foot anthropometric survey and Gait analysis of representing sample of population will be done and the unique gait features of athletes, children with foot deformities and mid-aged people will be utilized in the design of footwear to make it customized for mass but for a particular category of population to increase comfort as well as performance.

Health-Care Footwear for (a)Geriatric Population and (b) Obese people

The footwear ideally suitable for meeting the locomotion requirements of elderly population is a challenging task in the present scenario. It is commonly observed that the senior population predominantly prefers sports shoes as their choice for acquiring confidence during their walks of life. The density of population under the segment of senior citizens in our country and worldwide has been consistently rising in nature. It warrants design and development of footwear rendering health-care advantages for geriatric people as a significant component of research in footwear.

The design configurations on the bottom profile of footwear with the flared angles with different heel heights would be developed. This concept would help widen the base of footwear to obtain added contact area for the elder people to experience stability on the surface with improved stance in the phases of locomotion. Besides, this would help minimize the occurrence of slips/falls that are commonly witnessed by the elder people. Studies on Determination of Energy Absorption on Seat Regions of Footwear for the Obese were completed. Further studies are on for the determination on efficacy of footwear for using slip resistance tester which would help in designing ideal footwear for Obese/Geriatric population.

Design and development of light weight highly stable weightlifting shoe

Material related intervention: The upper materials presently used in weightlifting shoes are made of synthetics. The development of leather for weight lifting shoe using suitable tanning methodologies is proposed under this research. The functional characteristics of leather to ease the performance of weight lifting personnel need special attention and this aspect has not been so far explored especially for weight lift shoes. Indigenous materials are being identified to evaluate the properties meeting the functional aspects of weight lifting shoe. Wood from Indian origin for heel component application signifies the reduction in weight of shoe for the end-users. Polymeric materials are also suggested for fabricating the heel component and to make it light weight . Hence, the type and origin of wood and the polymer materials with required properties is the matter of concern and the research on exploring different classification of wood, polymer materials is one of the important components this research.

Design related intervention: The design and development of heel is a crucial area for the development of weight lifting shoe.. The experimentation and evaluation would be carried out and the best design would be suggested based on the scientific analysis for the construction of weight lifting shoe. Previous studies on athletes concluded that the weight lifting shoes possess restricted or limited ankle dorsi-flexion during the jerk phase of the clean and jerk movement during the process of lifting. The design features on the bottom profile to facilitate enhanced performance of weight lifters are proposed. The design of fasteners and alignment techniques in shoe to achieve comfort, fit and ergonomics of weight lifters is unexplored area of research. This component of research would be carried out in the development of weight lifting shoe.

Re-engineering concepts on used leather products for newer applications

This project mainly focuses on the best utilization of used leather products for the development of newer products applicable for end-user’s benefits. The measures such as servicing, maintenance, reuse, reinvent, repurpose would be employed under the proposed concept using the rich expertise available. The products emerging from this project would create value addition and would further help minimize disposal of solid waste into the environment. The longevity of newer products would increase demand as well as wider acceptance amongst the customers. The processes involved in the developmental applications would be suitable for traditional artisans also. It is also planned to devise a new training programme so that the benefits of the project would reach more beneficiaries

Development of Polyurethane based Biodegradable soles and Process Optimization thereof

Injection molded polyurethane- nanoclay composites base PU soles are prepared using commercially available polyol and isocyanate system commonly used for shoe sole production.

The injection molded PU footwear based on biodegradable polyol using the existing RIM facilities in PU footwear industry are distributed to CLRI staff, research scholars and contract workers and also to school students. After 1 year of regular usage, feedback is good and the footwear and sole are intact. This applied R& D and technology developed is beneficial to footwear industries manufacturing PU soles and PU footwear regarding reduction in raw material cost as nanofiller acts as blowing agent and also incorporation of biodegradable property at the end of life of footwear.

New PU Foot Design for Exoskeleton Foot for Lower Limb Amputees

An ideal prosthesis is the one that is made of uniform material, extremely light in weight and its method of production is simple. Such prosthesis can be catered to large masses that are in need of artificial limbs. The technology that goes behind the manufacturing of Jaipur foot is a complicated one. But it can be tweaked in a way, that is if an alternative lighter material to be used and a simpler mould design is obtained. In today’s world polymers play an important role. They are being used in almost every field. In the context described above, polyurethane polymer can replace the rubber. Since it is lighter in weight when compared to rubber, the resulting foot developed with new keel and mould design and by direct injection moulding process will not be as heavy as the Jaipur foot.

For Further Information Please Contact

Head, Shoe & Product Design Centre

CSIR-Central Leather Research Institute,
Adyar, Chennai - 600 020
Tel: +91 44 24437218