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item Barone, Justin

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/13/2005
Publication Date: 10/29/2005
Citation: Barone, J.R. 2005. Keratin fiber-polymer composites. [abstract]. NSF/CAEFF Autopolymers 2005 Conference, Charleston, South Carolina. October 28-31, 2005.

Interpretive Summary: A short review presentation is given summarizing work on keratin fiber-polymer composites done at USDA over the past 3 years. The composites have a large potential to be utilized by the automotive industry. The conference is a NSF sponsored workshop on green automotive technologies including recyclable and renewable materials and hydrogen energy bringing together leading researchers and automobile industry representatives. The composites have low weight, high stiffness and strength, and are easily moldable. They are obtained from renewable resources (chicken feathers) and can be recycled or degraded in the environment.

Technical Abstract: Short-fiber reinforced composites are made from keratin fibers and polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). The keratin fibers are obtained from poultry feathers. It is shown that PE and PP are reinforced by the keratin fibers. There is good compatibility between the polymer and fiber without the use of a coupling agent. Composite weight is decreased because the keratin fibers are of lower density than the polymer. When using semi-crystalline polymers, a threshold of crystallinity is reached where the coefficient of thermal expansion of the polymer causes the matrix to detach from the fiber. This can be overcome by tailoring the interface crystallinity.