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  • An introduction to materials science
  • Alcantara

What is alcantara?

Important: Alcantara is not a type of leather, but a fabric. Many consumers are fooled into believing that they have a high-quality leather interior with Alcantara seats in their car.

It is thanks to the nubuck-like appearance and pleasant softness of this upholstery fabric that it is often mistaken for suede. Undeniably, Alcantara resembles nubuck leather at first glance. But at the second glance at the latest, when you look at the material from its reverse side, the difference becomes clear: with Alcantara you can see the microfiber fleece layer, while with nubuck leather the reverse side is also genuine leather.

Alcantara is a high-quality "leather replacement fabric" originating in Japan and is technically a microfiber fabric. The name Alcantara is only the brand name of the manufacturer, not a general category of material.

How is alcantara made?

A microfiber fleece made of polyester is coated on both sides with polyurethane. Then the fleece is cut in the middle. In the process, the hairs of the fleece that protrude through the cut form the nubuck-like surface, and the outer urethane surface becomes the reverse side.

Material properties of alcantara

We have already mentioned the leather-like appearance and the pleasant, soft feel. In addition, Alcantara, like microfiber fabrics in general, is very easy to clean and hard-wearing, antistatic, elastic and virtually wrinkle-free. Compared to real leather, Alcantara has the advantage of being lighter, easier to clean and more slip-resistant. On the other hand, the fabric is not cheaper, because due to its complex and time-consuming production, it also has its price.