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Boiled leather

Boiled leather

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Boiled leather, sometimes called cuir bouilli, was a historical construction material for armour
Armour
Armour or armor is protective covering used to prevent damage from being inflicted to an object, individual or a vehicle through use of direct contact weapons or projectiles, usually during combat, or from damage caused by a potentially dangerous environment or action...

. It consists of thick leather
Leather
Leather is a durable and flexible material created via the tanning of putrescible animal rawhide and skin, primarily cattlehide. It can be produced through different manufacturing processes, ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry.-Forms:...

, boiled in water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 (some sources hold that oil
Cooking oil
Cooking oil is purified fat of plant origin, which is usually liquid at room temperature ....

 and wax
Wax
thumb|right|[[Cetyl palmitate]], a typical wax ester.Wax refers to a class of chemical compounds that are plastic near ambient temperatures. Characteristically, they melt above 45 °C to give a low viscosity liquid. Waxes are insoluble in water but soluble in organic, nonpolar solvents...

 were used as well, others posit the use of ammonia
Ammonia
Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula . It is a colourless gas with a characteristic pungent odour. Ammonia contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to food and fertilizers. Ammonia, either directly or...

 from fermented animal urine
Urine
Urine is a typically sterile liquid by-product of the body that is secreted by the kidneys through a process called urination and excreted through the urethra. Cellular metabolism generates numerous by-products, many rich in nitrogen, that require elimination from the bloodstream...

). The boiling causes the leather to be harder but more brittle. The boiled leather can be fashioned into lames or scales
Scale armour
Scale armour is an early form of armour sometimes erroneously called scale mail consisting of many individual small armour scales of various shapes attached to each other and to a backing of cloth or leather in overlapping rows. Scale armour was worn by warriors of many different cultures as well...

 to make lamellar
Lamellar armour
Lamellar armour was one of three early body armour types made from armour plates. The other two types are scale armour and laminar armour.-Description:...

 or scale armor. The leather remains flexible for a short time after boiling, allowing it to be molded into larger 'plates'.

Cuir bouilli has also been employed to bind books
Bookbinding
Bookbinding is the process of physically assembling a book from a number of folded or unfolded sheets of paper or other material. It usually involves attaching covers to the resulting text-block.-Origins of the book:...

.

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