Structure and properties of chicken feather barbs as natural protein fibers

Narendra Reddy, Yiqi Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


The structure and properties of chicken feather barbs makes them unique fibers preferable for several applications. The presence of hollow honeycomb structures, their low density, high flexibility and possible structural interaction with other fibers when made into products such as textiles provides them unique properties unlike any other natural or synthetic fibers. No literature is available on the physical structure and tensile properties of chicken feather barbs. In this study, we report the physical and morphological structure and the properties of chicken feather barbs for potential use as natural protein fibers. The morphological structure of chicken feather barbs is similar to that of the rachis but the physical structure of the protein crystals in chicken feather barbs is different than that reported for feather rachis keratin. The tensile properties of barbs in terms of their strength and modulus are similar but the elongation is lower than that of wool. Using the cheap and abundant feathers as protein fibers will conserve the energy, benefit the environment and also make the fiber industry more sustainable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-87
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Polymers and the Environment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Barbs
  • Feathers
  • Properties
  • Protein fibers
  • Structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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