Inderscience Publishers

Microstructural characterisation of keratin fibres from chicken feathers

Natural fibres have recently attracted scientists' attention because of their advantages from the environmental standpoint. However, almost all the research has been directed towards cellulose from vegetal sources without taking into account other potentially interesting compounds like keratin, which can be found in feathers, wool, nail or hair. In spite of its strength, low density and biodegradability, keratin has been studied only from the medical and textile point of view, whereas others aspects have not been highlighted. The object of this work is to give an exhaustive characterisation of one of the most abundant sources of keratin fibre, that is, of chicken feather. To accomplish this programme we have made spectroscopic analysis using both Fourier transform, infrared and Raman thermal analysis including differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetric analysis, and contact angle determinations. Finally optical, transmission and scanning electron microscopy have been realised to ensure a full characterisation.

Keywords: keratin fibre, chicken feathers, natural fibres, microstructural characterisation, microstructure, spectroscopic analysis

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