Melissa Basil-Jones

Doctor of Philosophy, (Engineering)
Study Completed: 2013
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Fibrillar collagen structure in ovine leather and related materials and its relationship to strength

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Sheep leather is low in strength. A greater understanding of its structure could assist in designing processing steps to increase its strength. Ms Basil-Jones used small angle X-ray scattering to investigate the structure and distribution of fibrillar collagen (a major structural protein) in sheep leather. Stronger leather was found to have a greater alignment of collagen fibrils parallel to the surface, while weaker leather had more fibrils out of this plane. Furthermore, subjecting sheep leather to strain initially resulted in the reorientation of collagen fibrils, so they became more aligned with the direction of strain, followed by stretching of individual fibrils. The response to strain varied, with fibril stretching occurring more evenly in stronger leather than weaker leather. This indicates that strain is more uniformly shared in stronger leather. Ms Basil-Jones’ results have assisted in the development of processing techniques for producing leather with desirable characteristics.

Professor Richard Haverkamp
Associate Professor Gill Norris