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The initial development and evaluation of cross-linked casein films for sustainable footwear

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 21:48 authored by Liliana Indrie, Steve McNeil, Mehmet Mete Mutlu, Sandra Bota, Dorina Camelia Ilies, Hüseyin Ata Karavana
To increase the sustainability of footwear and align it with the circular bioeconomy, there is a pressing need to develop novel bio-based materials to replace the synthetic polymers currently used. In this study, casein-based films were prepared by solution casting with a tannic acid cross-linker, and a glycerol plasticizer. The properties important to footwear materials were characterised, including tensile strength and elongation, stitch strength, hardness, grain cracking strength, water vapour permeability, and thermal properties. The tannic acid imparted a brown colour to the films with good resistance to light-induced fading. Their tensile strengths were 4–5 N/mm2, elongation at break 45%–73%, and water vapour permeability 0.2–0.6 mg/(cm2h), depending upon the levels of the cross-linker and plasticiser. The strength of the films was close to those of some non-leather footwear materials such as compact rubbers and insock materials, but below that required for leather shoe vamps/uppers. The casein films were successfully used in sneaker- and ballerina-style shoes as components of the insock and decorative design elements on the vamp. This work has demonstrated the concept of using casein films in footwear. The properties of the films could be improved by further research, particularly with respect to cross-linking, plasticizing, and combining with bio-based fibers and fabrics.


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© 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/).


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Journal title





Indrie, L., McNeil, S., Mutlu, M. M., Bota, S., Ilies, D. C., & Karavana, H. A. (2023). The initial development and evaluation of cross-linked casein films for sustainable footwear. Coatings, 13(2), 217.