Waste Chicken Feather as Reinforcement in Cement-Bonded ...

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Philippine Journal of Science 139 (2): 161-166, December 2010 ISSN 0031 - 7683

Waste Chicken Feather as Reinforcement in Cement-Bonded Composites Menandro N. Acda Department of Forest Products and Paper Science, College of Forestry and Natural Resources University of the Philippines Los Baños, College, Laguna 4031 Philippines This study investigated the use of waste chicken feather (barbs and rachis) as reinforcement in cement-bonded composites. A series of composite boards consisting of various proportions of waste feather, cement, sand, and chemical admixtures were prepared. Mix workability decreased significantly as the proportion by weight of feathers or ground feathers increased from 5% to 20%. Boards containing 5% to 10% fiber and/or ground feather by weight showed comparable strength and dimensional stability to commercial wood fiber-cement composites of similar thickness and density. Stiffness, flexural strength, and dimensional stability of the feather-cement boards decreased as the proportion of feathers was increased above 10%. Higher proportions of feather, however, showed significant reduction in modulus of elasticity (MOE) and modulus of rupture (MOR), and increased water absorption and thickness swelling after 24 hours of soaking in water. Key Words: Barbs, Chicken Feather, Cement Composites, Coupling Agent, Dimensional stability, Hygroscopicity, Keratin, Silane, Superplasticizer

INTRODUCTION Chicken feathers are waste products of the poultry industry. Billions of kilograms of waste feathers are generated each year by poultry processing plants, creating a serious solid waste problem (Parkinson 1998; Schmidt 1998). The Philippine poultry industry produced about 40 million broiler chickens annually (USDA FAS 2005). These chickens generate about six million kilograms of waste feathers annually when the birds are processed in commercial dressing plants. Traditional disposal strategies of chicken feather are expensive and difficult. They are often burned in incineration plants, buried in landfills, or recycled into low quality animal feeds. However, these disposal methods are restricted or generate green house gases that pose danger to the environment. Chicken feathers are approximately half feather fiber (barbs) and half quill (rachis) by weight, the quill being *Corresponding author: [email protected]

the stiff central core with hollow tube structure. Both feather fiber and quill are made of keratin (about 90% by weight), an insoluble and highly durable protein found in hair, hoofs, and horns of animals (Karshan 1930; Schmidt 2002). Keratin consists of a number of amino acids but largely made up of cystine, lysine, proline, and serine (Ward et al. 1955; Harrar and Woods 1963). These amino acids tend to cross-link with one another by forming disulfide or hydrogen bonds resulting in fibers that are tough, strong, lightweight, and with good thermal and acoustic insulating properties (Schmidt 2002; Poole et al. 2009). The unique characteristics of keratin has generated interest in investigating the use of waste chicken feathers for a number of potential applications ranging from reinforcement in plastics to microchips (Khot et al. 2001; Frazer 2004; Schmidt and Jayasundera 2004; Wool 2005; Barone and Schmidt 2005; Barone et al. 2005a,b; Barone and Gregoire 2006; Hong and Wool 2005; Aluigi et al. 2008; Huda and Yang 2008). Unfortunately, due to the low volume requirements of these products, they have 161

Philippine Journal of Science Vol. 139 No. 2, December 2010

not significantly reduced the volume of waste feathers generated each year. In 1998, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed the technology for separating chicken feathers into fiber and particulate (quill) fractions (Gassner et al. 1998). This discovery paved the way for the use of chicken fibers as reinforcements in composite products. Winandy et al. (2007) investigated the use of chicken feather fibers as a substitute for wood fibers in medium density fiberboard. The results showed that the fiberboards had a slight reduction in strength but improved dimensional stability and decay resistance compared with boards made from wood fiber. Other investigators used feather fibers to develop new bio-composites (Wrześniewska-Tosik et al. 2007, Aluigi et al. 2008, Huda and Yang 2008) or as reinforcement in plastics (Barone 2005, Barone and Schmidt 2005, Barone et al. 2005a,b; Barone and Gregoire 2006). A number of commercial applications have been explored to utilize fibers from chicken feathers. Unfortunately, due to the low volume requirements of these products they have not significantly reduced the volume of waste feathers generated each year. Composite building materials, such as fiberboard and particleboard, are high volume, high value applications which could potentially consume a large amount of waste chicken feathers. A simple, practical way to incorporate poultry feathers into composite boards is to bind them with Portland cement. Limited studies on this aspect of feather utilization have been reported (Hamoush and El-Hawary 1994). However, if this could be proven feasible, it could offer an affordable new building material with both economic and environmental advantages. This paper reports on the use of waste chicken feather and/or fiber as reinforcement in cement bonded composites. The study is part of a larger project investigating the use of waste chicken feather in the production of low cost and durable building materials suitable for tropical conditions.

Acda MN: Waste Chicken Feather as Reinforcement in Cement-Bonded Composites

ground into powder form (100 mesh) using a laboratory Wiley Mill. Feather fibers (barbs) were obtained by manually cutting dried feather off the quill using scissors. The feather fiber was semicrystalline and had a diameter of ~5 µm and density of 0.85 g cm-3. Fiber length ranged from 4.2 to 15 mm. The ground feather or fibers were oven dried for 24 hours at 102 ± 3ºC prior to panel fabrication (~0% MC). Binder and Admixtures Ordinary Portland cement (Type 1, Island® Cement, Solid Cement Corporation, Philippines) was used as the binder while reagent grade calcium chloride (CaCl2) was used as cement setting accelerator. An alkoxysilane coupling agent (Dow Corning® Z-6020 Silane, Dow Corning®, NC, USA) with both organic and inorganic reactivity was used to improve the bonding of feather fibers to the cement matrix. An aqueous lignosulfonate-based superplasticizer (Daracem® RM, Grace Construction Products, Philippines) was used as a water reducer to improve slump workability and cement hydration. Ordinary river sand screened to pass 100 mesh was used in all boards. Experimental Design and Statistical Analyses Thirty six (36) feather-cement composites were fabricated consisting of twelve (12) blends of chicken feather (fiber and/or ground feather), cement, sand, and chemical admixtures combinations (Table 1). For each cement/ feather/admixture combination three replicate boards were made. No control panel was used in this study because it was practically impossible to make a panel from only cement at said density and dimension. However, the Table 1. Composition (% by weight) of cement bonded composites containing waste chicken feather. Portland Cement (%)

Sand (%)

Feather Fiber (%)

Ground Feather (%)

47.5

47.5

5

0

MATERIALS AND METHODS

47.5

47.5

0

5

47.5

47.5

2.5

2.5

Chicken Feather Waste chicken feathers were obtained from a poultry processing facility of Purefoods Company, Inc. in Lipa City, Batangas, Philippines. Waste feathers were brought to the laboratory in sacks and washed several times with water mixed with laundry detergent and sodium chlorite to remove blood, manure and extraneous materials. The clean feathers were then spread on galvanized iron sheets and dried under the sun for three days. Dried feathers were chopped into approximately 25 mm long pieces then

45.0

45.0

10

0

45.0

45.0

0

10

45.0

45.0

5

5

42.5

42.5

15

0

42.5

42.5

0

15

42.5

42.5

7.5

7.5

40.0

40

20

0

40.0

40

0

20

40.0

40

10

10

162

Philippine Journal of Science Vol. 139 No. 2, December 2010

properties of experimental composites were compared with a commercial fiber-cement board (HardieLite®, James Hardie Philippines) of similar thickness and density. The strength properties (modulus of rupture [MOR), modulus of elasticity [MOE)) and dimensional stability (thickness swelling and water absorption) were measured on one specimen from each replicate board. The strength and dimensional stability data were analyzed using a two factor analysis of variance (ANOVA) fitted in a randomized complete block design with W/C as blocking factor and means separated using Tukey’s highly significant difference test (HSD, α = 0.05) (Statgraphics 1999) to determine if treatment resulted in significant effect on strength properties. Panel Fabrication A series of feather-cement composites measuring 4mm x 254 mm x 254 mm with target density 1.20 g/cm3 were fabricated in the laboratory. Water-cement ratio was held at 0.60 to 0.80 adjusted accordingly to give a workable paste that can support cement hydration. Levels of calcium chloride and superplasticizer were maintained at 3% and 5%, respectively, based on the weight of cement. Ground feather or fiber was sprayed with the required amount of superplasticizer dissolved in distilled water then dried in an oven set at 102± 3ºC for 24 hours (~0% MC). Boards were made by first mixing the required amount of sand and cement in a large plastic bucket. Ground feather and/or fiber treated with Z-6020 Silane was then added and mixed thoroughly. The required amount of calcium chloride completely dissolved in water to give a water–cement ratio of 0.60 was added to the mix. The superplasticizer was then added while stirring continuously to uniformly coat the feather particles with cement/sand mix. Additional water was added when the mix was judged too dry and would not be able to form a cement paste that could uniformly coat all feather particles. The amount of additional water varied depending on the formulation used but did not exceed a water-cement ratio of 0.80. The mix was uniformly distributed into a wooden box form placed over a caul plate lined with a 1-mm thick felt sheet. The felt facilitated escape of water upon mat consolidation during pressing. A polyethylene sheet was placed on top of the formed mat before the top caul plate was placed in position. The mats were pressed separately to 4 mm thickness using a hydraulic press and left under pressure (3.8 MPa) for three hours. The consolidated mat was then removed from the press, taken out of the mold, and placed on a table and allowed to completely cure for 28 days in a controlled room maintained at 21ºC and 65% relative humidity. After curing, the boards were trimmed or cut to required test specimen sizes. Each feather-cement mix combination in this study was replicated three times.

Acda MN: Waste Chicken Feather as Reinforcement in Cement-Bonded Composites

Stiffness and Flexural Strength The effects of different formulations on board stiffness and flexural strength were evaluated using a three point bending test following ASTM D 1037 (ASTM 1995) with some modifications. One specimen measuring 80mm x 250mm was cut from each of the three cured replicate boards for each cement-feather combination. MOE, MOR, maximum load, and deflection were determined for each specimen by applying the load at the rate of 6 mm/ min on 220 mm span using a Shimadzu universal testing machine. Three replicates were used for each test and a commercial fiber-cement board of similar density and thickness were used as control. Thickness Swelling and Water Absorption The effects of various blends of cement and chicken feather on the hygroscopicity and dimensional stability were measured using water absorption and thickness swelling tests in accordance with the American Society for Testing Materials D 1037 (ASTM 1995) with some modifications. Specimens (160mm x 250mm) were cut from each of the three cured replicate boards for each cement-feather combination. Water absorption and thickness swelling tests were determined by submerging specimens horizontally in water at room temperature for two and 22 hours. After each submersion period, samples were drained of excess water and measured for change in thickness and amount of water absorbed. Thickness swelling (nearest 0.01) was measured from two marked points along the length of each sample with a digital sliding caliper (Mitutoyo Corporation). Water absorption and thickness swelling were expressed as a percentage of the original weight and thickness, respectively. Three replicates were used for each treatment and a commercial fiber-cement board as described above served as control. Data were subjected to an analysis of variance and means separated as described above.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION A cement-feather mix containing 5% to 10% fiber or ground feather at water-cement ratio (W/C) of 0.60 showed good workability, allowing formation of a paste that coated all feather fibers or particles with cement. However, workability of the mix decreased significantly at 15% to 20% fiber or ground feather content due to the tendency of short fibers to form clumps and cling to one another, a problem also noted by Chung (2005). Apparently, the superplasticizer had no or little effect on improving mix workability at these higher levels of feather content. Chicken feather contains both hygroscopic (~60%) and hydrophilic amino acid sequences (Barone and Gregoire 2006). Water absorption by the hygroscopic protein 163

Philippine Journal of Science Vol. 139 No. 2, December 2010

Acda MN: Waste Chicken Feather as Reinforcement in Cement-Bonded Composites

A

B

Figure 1. Cement bonded composites containing a blend of cement, sand and ground chicken feather (A) and/or feather fiber (B) fabricated at wood-cement ratio of 0.60 and target density of 1.20 g/cc.

Table 2. Strength properties and dimensional stability of 4mm thick cement bonded composites as affected by various amount of waste chicken feather1 Mix Ratio2 (% weight) (C+S)/FF/GF

Density (g/cc)

Water/Cement Ratio (W/C)

Modulus of Elasticity (GPa)

Modulus of Rupture (MPa)

% Thickness Swelling (24 hrs)

% Water Absorption (24 hrs)

95/5/0

1.24

0.60

2.42 ± 0.34 a

8.36 ± 1.68 a

2.25 ± 0.39 a

7.55 ± 0.43 a

95/0/5

1.19

0.60

2.85 ± 0.55 a

9.22 ± 0.75 a

2.06 ± 0.90 a

8.81 ± 0.49 a

95/2.5/2.5

1.28

0.60

2.38 ± 0.38 a

8.19 ± 0.43 a

2.70 ± 0.17 a

8.95 ± 0.81 a

90/10/0

1.25

0.60

2.35 ± 0.24 a

8.15 ± 1.27 a

2.00 ± 0.84 a

12.07 ± 0.03 a

90/0/10

1.33

0.60

1.98 ± 0.15 b

7.84 ± 0.45 ab

2.36 ± 0.55 a

10.49 ± 1.19 a

90/5/5

1.28

0.60

2.63 ± 0.18 a

8.75 ± 1.02 a

4.71 ± 0.48 a

15.29 ± 0.17 a

85/15/0

1.21

0.80

1.54 ± 0.13 bc

5.22 ± 0.16 b

18.90 ± 0.35 bc

38.63 ± 1.14 bc

85/0/15

1.37

0.80

1.25 ± 0.06 c

4.97 ± 0.75 bc

15.81 ± 0.62 b

27.41 ± 3.35 bc

85/7.5/7.5

1.24

0.80

1.87 ± 0.42 b

7.42 ± 1.14 b

16.15 ± 0.51 b

40.85 ± 1.12 c

80/20/0

1.32

0.80

1.09 ± 0.14 c

3.12 ± 0.67 c

22.31 ± 2.52 bc

45.43 ± 3.43 c

80/0/20

1.24

0.80

1.26 ± 0.22 c

4.63 ± 0.55 c

33.24 ± 3.67 c

45.91 ± 1.78 c

80/10/10

1.28

0.80

1.15 ± 0.30 c

4.51 ± 1.02 c

27.04 ± 1.83 c

46.01 ± 2.06 c

1

Each value is the mean of 3 replicates; numbers within a column followed by the same letter are not significantly different using Tukey’s HSD test, α = 0.05. 2 C = Cement S = Sand FF = Feather fiber GF = Ground Feather

residues may have contributed to the low workability of the cement-feather mix by wicking water out of the cement paste. Mix workability improved when additional water was used (increasing the W/C ratio to 0.80), permitting the formation of a cement paste that coated the feather fibers or particles. Improving mix workability by increasing the levels of the superplasticizer was not attempted. High 164

levels of plasticizer retards cement hydration and were reported to have detrimental effects on strength properties of feather-cement bonded composites (Hamoush and ElHawary 1994). Excessive water also reduces composite strength properties by increasing the porosity of the hardened cement (Simatupang and Geimer 1990). Feather content at levels of 5% to 10% using W/C of 0.60 and 15% to 20% using W/C of 0.80 allowed proper mat formation

Philippine Journal of Science Vol. 139 No. 2, December 2010

and consolidation (Figure 1). The stiffness (MOE) and flexural strength (MOR) of boards decreased significantly (P < 0.001) with increasing quantities of feather (Table 2). However, boards containing 5% to 10% fiber or ground feather were comparable in MOE and MOR compared with the commercial fiber cement board (MOE = 3.84 GPa, MOR = 12.54 MPa). The strength properties at 5% to 10% fiber and/or ground feather replacement obtained in the present study were also comparable to those reported for wood-fiber reinforced cement composites (Campbell and Coutts 1980; Coutts 1987) but lower than those with sisal and banana fibers (Savastrano et al. 2005). The difference was probably due to the higher slenderness ratio of the materials such as sisal resulting in stronger and stiffer boards (Badejo 1988). The use of only fiber or mixing fiber and ground feather at levels used in this study seemed to have no significant effect (P < 0.001) on the MOE and MOR of the boards at each proportion tested (Table 2). Addition of feather fiber could potentially improve fracture toughness by blocking crack propagation while ground feather could reduce void space and irregularities (Frybort et al. 2008). We observed that adding ground feather improved the surface texture of the boards but there was no improvement in strength at any of the levels tested. Hygroscopicity and dimensional stability was also affected by the different proportions of chicken feather used in the study. Water absorption and thickness swelling after 24 hours of soaking increased significantly (P10% fiber or feather loading. This effect may be due to the use of silane coupling agent in the boards containing a mix of cement and chicken feather. Silane coupling agents have two reactive groups (diamino and a trimethoxysilyl) capable of forming chemical bonds with the feather fibers or particles and the surface of the cement matrix (Wituki 1993). The coupling agent acts at the interface bridging two dissimilar materials to improve adhesion. However, the formation of chemical bonds with the amino acids of the feather or silicate hydrates of the cement reduces or blocks potential adsorption sites of water. Consequently, boards showed improved dimensional stability at 5% to 10% feather content. At higher feather loading, the boards showed very high water absorption and thickness swelling (>30%) after 24 hours of water soaking. These boards are likely to have contained too much feather for the level of coupling agent and cement used such that fibers were not completely coated with cement. This may have allowed water

Acda MN: Waste Chicken Feather as Reinforcement in Cement-Bonded Composites

molecules to be adsorbed by the amino acids resulting in very high water absorption and thickness swelling.

CONCLUSION In general, the study showed that waste chicken feather can be used as reinforcement in cement bonded composites but only up to about 10% feather content. Boards containing 5% to 10% fiber and/or ground feather were comparable in stiffness and strength properties to commercial wood fibercement board of similar thickness and density. Increasing the proportion of chicken feather above 10% resulted in significant reduction of MOE and MOR, and decreased dimensional stability. Potential use of waste chicken feather as reinforcement in cement bonded composites could benefit the poultry industry by reducing waste disposal costs and gain profit from the sale of chicken feathers to the building and construction industry.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This study was supported by the Ford Conservation and Environmental Grant and the U.P. Research Grant Program, University of the Philippines System. The author is also grateful to Ms. Elvira Bondad of the Forest Products Research and Development Institute, Department of Science and Technology for the use of the Institute’s Universal testing machine and Mr. Juanito Orozco for his laboratory assistance throughout the experiment.

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