Yang, Ph.D., study leader and an authority on biomaterials and biofibers in the
Institute of Agriculture & Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska
- Lincoln, and a team of researchers, have created a new technique that
utilizes waste chicken feathers in
order to produce thermoplastics that can perform even when wet.
are polyethylene, nylon, polyvinyl chloride and polystyrene, just to name a
few. They are one of the most important groups of plastics, and are used to
make industrial and consumer products like car bumpers and toothbrush bristles.
and his team have developed a technique for creating thermoplastics that makes
use of the billions
of pounds of waste chicken feathers produced annually. The
purpose of using chicken feathers is to replace oil and natural gas, which are
two main ingredients in making thermoplastics. There are worries surrounding
petroleum prices and sustainability, which has motivated scientists to search
for alternative resources that are preferably biodegradable. With chicken
feathers, they are cheap and abundant, with over 3 billion pounds of waste
feathers incinerated or found in landfills annually.
have tried to develop thermoplastics from feathers," said Yang. "But
none of them perform well when wet. Using this technique, we believe we're the
first to demonstrate that we can make chicken-feather-based thermoplastics
stable in water while still maintaining mechanical properties."
technique developed by Yang and his colleagues utilized chicken feathers that
were processed with chemicals like methyl acrylate, which is found in nail
polish. This resulted in a film of "feather-g-poly(methyl acrylate)"
plastic. According to Yang, this technique produced a thermoplastic that was
stable and strong, even when wet. It was also more tear-resistant.
are trying to develop plastics from renewable resources to replace those
derived from petroleum products," said Yang. "Utilizing current
wastes as alternative sources for materials is one of the best approaches
toward a more sustainable and more environmentally
study was announced at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical
quote: Thermoplastics are made into these products through the use of heat, which hardens the liquid into a shape, and these plastics can be heated and molded several times.