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Novel Biocomposites with Feather Keratin

Research and development


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This work deals with the preparation and characterisation of cellulose-keratin biocomposites. A method of manufacturing fibrous composite materials by wet spinning is presented. We used natural polymers, biomodified cellulose and keratin obtained from chicken feathers. Keratin waste is a potential renewable starting material. Spinning solutions were prepared from these polymers, and after filtration and aeration they were used for the formation of fibres and fibrids . The investigations included the preparation of biomodified cellulose-keratin spinning solutions of different keratin content, estimation of the influences of formation speed and drawing on the fibre properties, estimation of the sorption properties of the composites obtained. The biomodified cellulose-keratin fibres obtained are characterised by better sorption properties, higher hygroscopicity and smaller wetting angle, than those of cellulose fibres. The introduction of keratin into cellulose fibres lowered their mechanical properties, but they reach a level which enables the application of these fibres for manufacturing composite fibrous materials. Composting tests, carried out at 500C, showed the better biodegradability of composite fibres than that of cellulose fibres. The biomodified cellulose-keratin fibrids are also characterised by better sorption properties than those of cellulose fibrids. As a result of the lyophilisation of composite fibrids cellulose-keratin sponges were obtained.


keratin, biomodified cellulose, composite fibres, fibrids, sponge, biodegradation

Published in issue no 5-6 (64-65) / 2007, pages 157–162.


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