Others have tried to develop thermoplastics from feathers,” said
Yiqi Yang, who reported on the research. “But none of them perform well
when wet. Using this technique, we believe we’re the first to
demonstrate that we can make chicken-feather-based thermoplastics stable
in water while still maintaining strong mechanical properties.”
And I thought chicken feathers were only useful to ensure white bread is nice and fluffy.
Comedic value aside, the Reprap currently can use Polylactic acid
(PLA), a bio-degradable polymer that can be produced from lactic acid,
which can be fermented from crops such as maize. It is harder then PTFE and
melts at a lower temperature (around 180°C to 220°C), so is potentially
a very useful material for 3D printing but exhibits higher friction
than PTFE however which can make it difficult to extrude and more
susceptible to extruder jams. The concept of using an animal waste
product for plastic manufacture, either 3D printed or injection molded
is a step away from reliance on fossil fuels for polymer production.
Will the big guns in plastics and 3D printing start a rush of merger and acquisition in chicken farms next?