Materials take flight

A range of new materials with different attributes derived from chicken’s feathers has been developed

Holly Kuchera

Chickens are being used to create thermal insulation.

Feathers are being freeze-dried, burnt and braided by company Aeropowder after the discovery they have huge potential as insulators possessing good water repellence.

Thomas AngusProfessor Chris Cheeseman, Elena Dieckmann and Ryan Robinson

The start-up founded by PhD students, Elena Dieckmann (Dyson School of Design Engineering) and Ryan Robinson (National Heart and Lung Institute) are taking recycling to new heights as the feathers are discarded in huge quantities by the poultry industry each year.

The processed feathers offer a greener, biodegradable alternative to polyurethane in building construction.

The pair recently won £20,000 at the Mayor of London’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur Challenge competition for their thermal insulation material, Featherfill.