The physical properties which make leather a unique and valuable material for upholstery purposes includes:
- High tensile strength
- Resistance to tear
- High resistance to flexing
- High resistance to puncture
- Good heat insulation
- Leather contains a great deal of air, which is a poor conductor of heat. This is an important comfort consideration.
- Permeability to water vapour
Leather fibres will hold large quantities of water vapour. This property enables leather to absorb perspiration, which is later dissipated.
A significant factor in comfort.
- Leather is warm in winter and cool in summer.
- Leather can be moulded and will retain its new shape. It has both elastic and plastic properties in wear.
Resistance to wet and dry abrasion
- These properties, concerned with wear and maintenance, are controlled by the tannage and surface finish. These have now reached high levels of excellence.
Resistance to fire
- Leather is inherently resistant to heat and flame.
Resistance to fungi
- Leather is resistant to mildew.
Resistance to chemical attack
- The atmosphere of modern cities is polluted from the burning of carbon fuels with sulphur dioxide gas, which can accelerate the deterioration of leather. Modern leathers are tanned and dressed to resist these harmful chemicals.