Exploring Mordants for Improved Fastness Of Plant Dyes for Application on Local Vegetable Tanned Leather

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Natural dyes which were pushed for long in about six decades by synthetic dyes are gradually emerging to the interest of consumers. This as a result of the possible risk associated with the use of synthetic dyes on the environment. The manufacture of these dyes are energy intensive with adverse impact on environment adding to its greater pollution because of the petro-chemicals in its production. Against this background, that the researcher has delved into the exploration and use of different mordants on plant based dyes to test their affinity on natural leather. Different mordants in the group of metallic, tannins and oil were experimented for the purpose of the research. Plant based dyes namely, Sorghum bicolor leaves and Hibiscus sabdarifa flowers were tested together with identified mordants. The experimental processes were recorded critically and the results were observed and recorded as well. Interviews were also conducted with the sampled population as a means of ascertaining the experimental results obtained. According to the findings secured, it was noticed that plant dyes available locally require mordants to ensure fastness to light and washing, especially if applied on leather. However, not all mordants available on the local market work well with any plant dyes. Mordants used with plant dyes need to be applied in the right quantities to achieve the required efficacy. From all the mordants explored, three main ones worked very well in this study: salt, carbide, lime juice. It was recommended that locally available plant dyes when given the needed attention can serve as a breakthrough for obtaining variety of dye colours to enhance the aesthetics appeal of leathers tanned locally. Dye chemists and leather technicians therefore need to join forces to advance deeper research to harness the potentials of local plant dyes to expand socio-economic benefits.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MASTER OF PHILOSOPHY IN INTEGRATED ART (LEATHER TECHNOLOGY)