Chicken feathers based biocomposites: a new sustainable product?
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Plastic composites are made of polymers and different reinforcements that originally were synthetic and non-biodegradable. Since 1990’s, many biodegradable composites, formed by a biodegradable matrix and natural fibers, have been proposed. In spite of the advantages of biocomposites, it is important to ponder the technical drawbacks of these natural fibers, mainly from a vegetable origin, and their environmental impacts (EIs). Vegetable fibers imply a land use that can compete with food production. Chicken feathers (CFs), made of keratin fibers, are a potential alternative as they are a waste material, produced in large quantities (800,000 ton/year in EU-27), do not compete with human food production and have been scarcely used up to now. Taking on board these premises, a biocomposite made of PLA and CFs was fabricated at lab-scale as new material. However, before using CFs as reinforcement, sanitizing pretreatments have been envisaged before, due to their quick decay. The EIs of these treatments were experimentally quantified and a cradle-to-gate Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was performed to evaluate altogether the impacts of manufacturing a technical panel with different content of CFs (up to 35% v/v). As main results, the avoided burdens of the CF waste treatment and the energy consumption for the drying step must be optimized to achieve lower EIs for the preparation of CFs/PLA composites
CitationMolins, G. [et al.]. Chicken feathers based biocomposites: a new sustainable product?. A: LCA Conference. "LCA Conference". 2013.
- SUMMLab - Sustainability Measurement and Modeling Lab - Ponències/Comunicacions de congressos 
- Departament d'Enginyeria Química - Ponències/Comunicacions de congressos 
- INTEXTER - Institut d'Investigació Tèxtil i Cooperació Industrial de Terrassa - Ponències/Comunicacions de congressos 
- Departament de Màquines i Motors Tèrmics - Ponències/Comunicacions de congressos 
- POLQUITEX - Materials Polimérics i Química Téxtil - Ponències/Comunicacions de congressos 
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