New Zealand researchers are developing a process to extract keratin from waste poultry feathers and produce a PIN flame retardant. Some 40 million tonnes (1) of chicken feathers are generated worldwide, considered as a waste. The researchers chemically modify the keratin in the feathers, and produce a powder which can be used as a flame retardant in plastics, claiming that fire performance can be achieved with relatively low loadings and with limited deterioration of mechanical properties. Previous work by the group looked as similarly using keratin extracted from low-grade, non-saleable wool. Keratins can contain over 15% nitrogen, 5% sulphur, and some other minerals, e.g. < 0.5% calcium and phosphorus (2). The researchers consider that the flame retardant effect is due to char formation.
“From chicken feathers to fire retardant”, D. Bhattacharyya, 23 July 2019 https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/news/2019/07/23/from-chicken-feathers-to-fire-retardant.html