Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 310–317 | Cite as

Biodegradable Composites Containing Chicken Feathers as Matrix and Jute Fibers as Reinforcement

Original Paper


This research demonstrates that chicken feathers can be used as matrix to develop completely biodegradable composites with properties similar to that of composites having polypropylene (PP) as matrix. Feathers are ubiquitous and inexpensive but have limited industrial applications. Feathers have been preferably used for composite applications due to their low density and presence of hollow structures that facilitate sound absorption. However, previous approaches on using feathers for composites have used the whole feather or the feather fractions as reinforcement with synthetic polymers as matrix resulting in partially degradable composites. In addition, the hydrophilicity of the feathers and hydrophobicity of the synthetic matrix results in poor compatibility and therefore less than optimum properties. Although it has been shown that feathers can be made thermoplastic and suitable to develop films and other thermoplastics, there are no reports on using feathers as matrix for composites. In this research, chicken feathers were used as matrix and jute fibers as reinforcement to develop completely biodegradable composites. Tensile, flexural and acoustic properties of the feather-jute composites were compared to PP-jute composites. Utilizing feathers as matrix could enable us to develop low cost 100 % biodegradable composites containing feathers or other biopolymers as the reinforcement.


Chicken feathers Matrix Composites Biodegradable 



We thank the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET Project 10-116), Agricultural Research Division at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USDA Hatch Act, Multi-state project (S-1054, NEB37-037) for their financial support to complete this work. The sponsors do not endorse the views expressed in this publication.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion DesignUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological Systems EngineeringUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  3. 3.Nebraska Center for Materials and NanoscienceUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA

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