Physical and Mechanical Properties of Chicken Feather Materials
Kock, Jeffrey Wayne
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Materials derived from chicken feathers could be used advantageously in composite building material applications. Such applications could potentially consume the five billion pounds of feathers produced annually as a by-product of the U.S. poultry industry. To aid the development of successful applications for chicken feather materials (CFM), the physical and mechanical properties of processed CFM have been characterized in this research. Results describing the moisture content, aspect ratio, apparent specific gravity, chemical durability, Youngs modulus, and tensile strength for processed CFM and specifically their fiber and quill components are presented herein. Processed chicken feather fiber and quill samples were found to have similar moisture contents in the range of 16 - 20%. The aspect ratio (i.e., length/diameter) of samples were found to be in the range of 30 - 50, and the fiber material was found to have a larger aspect ratio than the quill material. A comparison with values in the literature suggests that different processing regimes produce CFM with higher aspect ratios. Samples were found to have apparent specific gravities in the range of 0.7 - 1.2, with the fiber material having a higher apparent specific gravity than the quill material. A comparison with values in the literature suggests that apparent specific gravity results vary with fiber length and approach the value for keratin as fiber length decreases and internal voids become increasingly accessible. Chemical durability results showed that CFM rapidly degrade in highly alkaline (pH=12.4) environments and are, thus, likely incompatible with cement-based materials without special treatment. The Youngs modulus of processed chicken feather materials was found to be in the range of 3 - greater than 50 GPa and, thus, comparable to the Youngs moduli of other natural fibers. The tensile strength of oven-dried samples was found to be in the range of 10 - greater than 70 MPa. In agreement with results in the literature, the fiber material was found to have a greater tensile strength than the quill material. Finally, a simplified approach for comparing the effective Youngs moduli and effective tensile strengths of various processed CFM samples was introduced.