Extraction and Characterization of Nano-keratin from Horse Hoof: A Potential Material for Recycled Plastic Applications

Authors: Attila Kazemian, Amirali Mirabi, Parsa Mahmoudian Moghaddam, Naami Salehin, Seyyed Saber Mirhosseini

Company/Faculty/School: Allameh Tabatabaei Junior High School, Tehran, Iran

Country: Iran

e-mail: info@irtopinventors.com

web page: www.irtopinventors.com

The amount of plastics ending up in the waste stream seems to be ever increasing. In Western Europe, it is currently estimated to be rising at 4% a year. This is because plastics are an extremely useful and versatile set of materials. They have found use in a whole range of products such as consumer goods, packaging, automotive, and construction. The way to solve the reduction of plastics in the environment is to make recycled plastics, one of the main problems of which is not having enough strength. A broad category of insoluble proteins that associate as intermediate filaments (IFs), a cytoskeletal element with 8–10 nm diameter, were being referred to the term “keratin”. Apart from being the principal constituent of the stratum corneum of human and animal skin, keratins are also found in exoskeletal materials such as horns, hooves, hair, feathers, wool, and nails. Keratin from the hoof is a less explored source for making valuable products. In this invention, recyclable polyethylene plastics were collected and to strengthen and resist the wear of these plastics, keratin nano-powder from horse hoof was used. The resulting keratin nanopowder was used in recycled plastics to increase strength and abrasion resistance due to its high strength. Then 20 g of the collected plastics were melted by suitable heat and solvent and 0, 0.3, 0.5, and 1 g of keratin nano-powder were added and molded. Tensile strength and wear tests were performed to evaluate the properties and the best properties and results were obtained for the sample with 0.5 g of keratin nanopowder.