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Research Activities at CSIR-CLRI

Central Leather Research Institute has multidimensional expertise ranging from biochemistry aspects of collagen stabilization to utilization of proteinous byproducts in medical industries. Pioneering research is carried out on the understanding of the role of metal ions in the stabilization of proteins through experimental and theoretical molecular simulations, reactions occurring at the air/water, solid/liquid interfaces etc. Research in the areas of polymer chemistry and organic chemistry has led to the understanding of surface chemistry of small molecules and polymeric systems and development of several novel compounds with potential applications in molecular electronics, solar cells, biocides etc. Biology group of CLRI consisting of researchers in the areas of biomaterial development, biotechnology, microbiology and byproducts development are working towards development of skin substitutes, understanding the mechanism of burn/wound healing, developing biological routes to the process of leather making, identifying novel methods of preventing microbial attack on skins and developing collagen based eye lenses, burn dress materials etc. Leather technologists in tandem with chemists and biologists of the institute are constantly working towards developing industrially relevant and applicable green chemistry based technologies such as alternatives to salt based temporary preservation of hides/skins, avoidance of generation of neutral salts during processing, alternatives to chromium(III) based tanning methods, retanning agents devoid of formaldehyde, new technologies for emulsification of oils and fats meant for leather lubrication etc. Salient feature of the research topics pursued at CLRI is that it follows a cradle to grave approach with the environmental sciences group focusing on end-of-pipe treatment systems. Chemoautotropic treatment systems, treatment methods based on Fentons chemistry etc are the contributions from this group. A shoe design and development group focuses on developing products with high comfort. The development of diabetic footwear in association with leading diabetic research facilities in the country is a major research contribution of this group. This group works in tandem with doctors, mechanical engineers, CAD/CAM specialists for the development of these products. A group researching on leather goods and garments identifies and develops composites including nanocomposites for incorporation into leather products, thus making the products smarter and having added functional properties. The engineering sciences division of CLRI consisting of chemical engineers and environmental engineers work on areas such as understanding of the mass and heat transfer phenomena in leather processing, safety aspects relating to petrochemical industries, providing design inputs for treatment plants etc.