We made a series of aspen fibre medium density fibreboard panels adding various levels of chicken feather fibre to determine the relative effect of the feather fibre-wood fibre mixtures on composite panel properties. Chicken feathers are a waste product left over after processing chickens for meat. The feather fibre amounts used ranged from 20% to 95% and a 5% concentration of phenol formaldehyde resin was used as the adhesive. The panels were tested for mechanical and physical properties as well as decay. Initial mechanical properties show some loss in strength and stiffness for feather fibre-wood fibre mixtures when compared to the properties of all-wood control panels, but optimal resin chemistry and processing have yet to be studied. More importantly, the physical properties of feather fibre-wood fibre mixtures showed a marked improvement in resistance to water absorption and thickness swell over the control panels, probably related to the hydrophobic keratin in the feather fibre. Further testing is currently being done to determine the threshold s) of feather fibre required to decrease thickness swelling and increase water-resistance. We are also studying ways to improve process and resin-fibre compatibility.
Medium density fibreboard
chicken feather fibre
Winandy, Jerold E.; Muehl, James H.; Micales, Jessie A.; Raina, Ashok; Schmidt, Walter. 2003. Potential of chicken feather fibre in wood MDF composites. EcoComp 2003, Queen Mary, University of London, September 1-2, 2003: 6 pages