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Researcher examines polymers created with poultry feathers

ed plastics. They are cheaper to manufacture and meet or exceed most properties except for water resistance and longevity. Meeting these performance requirements is a challenge, Barone explains.

Barone is taking his lead from nature to find potential solutions to these performance requirements. He is investigating the properties of polymers created from poultry feather keratin. The protein, keratin, is a major component of hair, nails, and feathers and makes them hard and strong.

Barone has found that altering the amino acid structure of keratin can improve the strength and longevity of the polymer. In addition, the viscosity can be improved with reducing agents such as sodium sulfite and lubricants such as poultry fat. The solid-state properties can also be modified using divalent transition metal ions to affect stiffness and smell. These will help the keratin polymer be processed faster, be more aesthetically pleasing, and become water resistant and stronger for increased longevity.


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Source:Virginia Tech


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