China’s automotive industry has made car interior air quality improvement a top-priority issue. The country’s New Vehicle Interior Air Quality (VIAQ) policy aims to harmonize the testing of harmful substances in car interiors and reduce their side effects.

Leather odour results from a complex mixture of multiple chemicals, and can intensify and change over time. Within leather products, these chemicals known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) may reach levels that are potentially harmful to humans. Today more than 70 known substances are released by leather, and their detection, localization and analysis is extremely problematic.  This hampers efforts to improve odour by reducing emissions of selected compounds, especially when working within the confined space of an automobile’s passenger compartment. Additionally, improvements in sustainable processes such as recycling systems and water-efficiency in leather production can negatively impact odour ratings. The safest strategy is the reduction or avoidance of molecules contributing to smell, such as acetaldehyde. Hence, the decision by several countries to impose concentration limits on these components.

Talking at a Technical Luncheon held during the All China Leather Exhibition (ACLE) in Shanghai last Autumn, Dr. Volker Rabe, Head of Technical Product Management for Tanning Technology at LanXESS, presented the latest findings on VOCs and the minimization of odours from leather vehicle components. He also introduced LanXESS’ latest  solutions to reduce leather-related VOC-Acetaldehyde and odour issues in car interiors.

A few of LanXESS’ solutions include Tanigan SR-CO1 and Levotan RV, which are chemicals that reduce acetaldehyde and VOC values in leather. According to Rabe, applying Tanigan SR-C01 on wet blue and/or crust can reduce the acetaldehyde that is generated by the decomposition of proteins. Meanwhile, Primal Fleshcoat AR-2 emulsion applied in finishing further reduces emissions and brings the volatile compounds to a minimum.