1 Tahrcountry Musings: Inexpensive and biodegradable thermoplastics from chicken feather

Friday, April 01, 2011

Inexpensive and biodegradable thermoplastics from chicken feather

Researchers in USA have come up with a proposal to manufacture biodegradable thermoplastics from chicken feather.  The researchers processed chicken feathers and added a chemical known as methyl acrylate to turn them into a plastic. From this they made thin films which are more degradable and more sustainable. Another plus point is that the plastics are much more resistant to water.

 Poultry feathers are available in large quantities and this makes the proposal very attractive. The researchers claim that the feather-g-poly (methyl acrylate) developed showed good thermoplasticity, and feather films had substantially higher tensile properties than soy protein isolate and starch acetate films.

The tough and chemically stable protein keratin in feathers can lend strength while reducing weight in the mixtures of plastics chemicals known as composites. Feathers make up 50% of the new mass of the composite develped.

Tests on a grander scale will be necessary to assess the product in terms of economics and carbon footprint. The scientists are confident that this new proposal will come out with flying colors.

Graft Polymerization of Native Chicken Feathers for Thermoplastic Applications
Enqi Jin, Narendra Reddy, Zhifeng Zhu, and Yiqi Yang
J. Agric. Food Chem., 2011, 59 (5), pp 1729–1738
DOI: 10.1021/jf1039519

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