Feather Paper

Topics: Recycling, Paper, Waste Pages: 9 (2546 words) Published: January 4, 2013
The Problem and its Background
The Philippines is mainly known as an agricultural country. It is known for having huge amount of plains and fields where crops are planted, which serve as source of our country’s economic development. With that being said, there are significant number of farms around our country that produce crops such as rice and other grains. However, not all farms exclusively produce such products. Farms also play an important role in one’s nutritional survival. It is in farms that we get the healthy foods that our body needs. It is where we also get the fruits, vegetables, and meat that we eat daily for our healthy living. Farms, therefore, don’t only serve as keys to the economic progress of our country, but also serve as people’s sources for healthy nutritional maintenance.

However, crops are not the only ones that our farms have. There are also animals living there for the development of our ecosystem. One of those animals existing in those farms is ducks. Ducks are part of the Filipino culture through the local delicacy, balut (fertilized Itik egg) and salted egg. In February 1998, Walter Schmidt and his colleagues; George Gassner, Mike Line, Rolland Waters and Clayton Thomas received a patent process for extracting chicken feather fibers. Five years earlier, Schmidt used a magnetic resonance spectroscopy to figure out what at the molecular level, made the physical properties of skin and tendons so different. He wanted to compare collagen to another natural biopolymer, and thought: keratin... feathers. Schmidt tried to grind the feathers into a powder and it was really hard. Grinding does not work for the fiber, and only poorly for the quill. Essentially, one has to cut into shorter units. And he thought that the fibers are really tough and durable; why is no one using them? In December 1993, he made paper from feathers.[1] Chickens and ducks are closely related, they are both birds, they are both poultry birds, and they are both farm birds. Both chickens and ducks have feathers that are made of keratin, and keratin is why feathers can be made into paper. So feathers from ducks have the possibility of being made into paper.

Background of the Study
The duck industry is a lucrative agricultural industry in the Philippines, because of the local delicacy; balut, which is made from duck eggs. The native duck in the Philippines is called the Pateros duck, or commonly known as Itik. Itik is mainly raised for eggs to make balut and salted egg, but when they have exhausted their limit, they are sold for meat.[2] The poultry industry produces a by-product, and that’s the feathers. Conventionally, they are used as additives to cheap chicken feed, and sometimes they’re just thrown out and composted, that is a waste. We are already running out of natural resources, trees are becoming scarce in the Philippines, forests are slowly disappearing. Also, feathers are waste products of the poultry industry, and utilizing these feathers will make the waste useful. A study conducted by Walter F. Schmidt, an environment chemist utilized chicken feathers to make all sorts of products, like paper, plastic, and even strong plastics used in car dashboards. His discovery of the practical uses of chicken feather was an accident when he was trying to compare collagen to keratin. He discovered the feathers’ use. Feathers are primarily composed of keratin, a protein that makes strong bonds. Keratin is also found in hair, nails, and even animal hooves and horns. Keratin can be extremely strong and hard like the ones found in hooves, but it can also be flexible and soft like the ones found in our hair. The reason why keratin can make strong bonds is because it has cysteine disulfide, and this compound can make disulfide bridges that can make helix shape that is very strong. Sulfur atoms bond to the helix shape and create a fiber that is...
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