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

Narendra Reddy, Jiasong Jiang, Yiqi Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-317
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Polymers and the Environment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014


  • Biodegradable
  • Chicken feathers
  • Composites
  • Matrix

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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