Kangaroo Leather (K-Leather)
The kangaroo leather range, known internationally as K-Leather,
is by far the most popular choice of manufacturers looking for high performance technical leather with superior
Kangaroo leather boasts the following performance properties:
- High strength
- Light weight
What is so special about kangaroo leather?
K-Leather is the strongest leather fibre structure readily available.
Period. Recent studies have suggested links between the kangaroo
fibre matrix and that of mions (birds) and reptiles. This ultimately
has been further linked to a prehistoric fibre structure –
one that evolved from animals needing to survive in the harshest
environments against many predators – almost a fibre structure
that time forgot!
You will note from the SEM pictures, above,
the highly organized main fibre bundle structure, which has a secondary
fibre mesh in support of the bundles. It is this, combined with the
low angle of weave, low fat content and a grain:corium ratio, that
provides the superior strength against leathers from such raw materials
as cabretta (otherwise known as hairsheep), goat and bovine at similar
thickness levels. These particular attributes are explained further
below, and are the prime reasons for why K-Leather is the preferred choice
for leather products that require lightweight, yet strong, designs.
Angle of Weave
This section refers to the fibre orientation in the corium. The
kangaroo fibre structure is aligned almost in parallel to the surface
of the leather, and is formed from very long threadlike molecules
of proteinous collagen twisted together. This is termed as having
a low angle of weave (<30¹), and differs significantly to bovine
(cow) products, which typically have weave angles in excess of 60¹, or goat
and cabretta leathers, which range between 45¹ and 60¹. The flat
fibre structure can be analogous with a rope that has a network
of fibres all running in the same direction, and results in exceptional
Low Fat Content
The fat content of the skin structure is often determined by the
environment in which the animal lives. The diet of the kangaroo
is generally quite poor and this, combined with the extreme heat in which
they live, results in virtually no fat within the fibre structure.
In comparison a cabretta or goat leather has anywhere between 5% and 8%,
while bovine leather is much more variable. Ultimately, fat takes up space in
the cross-section of the skin and when it is removed during tanning,
“voids” are left, which can cause a reduction in strength
per unit thickness.
Grain - Corium Ratio
Most animals have two distinct layers in the cross-section
of the skin – the grain and the corium. The majority of the
strength comes from the corium, where the fibre bundles are much
more dense. However, on certain animals, and in particular bovine substrates,
a large amount of the corium is shaved off to gain a lightweight
thickness, resulting in dramatically reduced strength characteristics.
However, kangaroo skin has a very thin grain layer and it’s thickness
can easily be reduced without detriment to the strength of the final
leather, owing to the fact that the natural thickness of a kangaroo
skin is mainly found to be in the range of 1.0 to 1.2 mm.