Keratin-Based Electrospun Films From Recycled Poultry Feathers

2019-2020 Fall
Faculty Department of Project Supervisor: 
Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences
Number of Students: 

Chicken feathers are waste products of the poultry industry. Worldwide poultry processing plants produce millions of tons of feather as a waste product annually, which consists of approximately 90% keratin feathers and represent 5­7% of the total weight of mature chickens. These feathers constitute a significant waste disposal problem. Traditional disposal strategies of chicken feather are expensive and difficult as they often include burning in incineration plants, burying in landfills, or recycling into low quality animal feeds. However, these disposal methods are restricted or generate greenhouse gases and sulphur oxides. Feathers are source of high quality proteins, such as keratins, which belong to the family of fibrous intermediate filament proteins and are the basic building blocks, other than feathers, also of hair, wool and the outer layer of human, epidermis and nails. Keratins, due to their unique chemical composition, biological activity and biocompatibility, have been extensively explored for applications in food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and fertilizer industries.
Currently the packaging industry is mainly based on cellulosic and synthetic polymeric materials. The use of recycled feather keratins offers the potential to add novel properties to packaging and introduce additional functionalities. In this context, nanometer polymer fiber materials present a very large surface area to volume ratio, flexibility in surface functionalities and superior mechanical performance, such as stiffness and tensile strength, compared with any other form of the material. Among the various techniques to produce nanofibers, the electrospinning is the most versatile, as it allows large-scale production. This project aims to prepare Keratin-based electrospun films and determine their thermal, mechanical and structural properties.

Related Areas of Project: 
Materials Science ve Nano Engineering

About Project Supervisors

Merve Senem Seven