Reducing environmental pollution of the textile industry using keratin as alternative sizing agent to poly(vinyl alcohol)

Narendra Reddy, Lihong Chen, Yue Zhang, Yiqi Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations


Keratin from chicken feathers used as warp sizing agents on polyester/cotton blends and polyester provide similar sizing performance compared to poly(vinyl alcohol) and are also easily degradable in activated sludge. Poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA), the most common sizing agent is not degradable in textile effluent treatment plants. Efforts to find substitutes to PVA that can provide similar sizing performance, be biodegradable and cost-effective have not been successful. In this research, keratin was studied as potential sizing agents for polyester and polyester/cotton materials and the sizing performance was evaluated in comparison to PVA. Keratin provided similar cohesion and strength improvements but had low abrasion resistance on polyester/cotton fabrics. Keratin in activated sludge showed a substantial decrease in Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) whereas there was a negligible decrease in COD for PVA. Overall, the low cost and biodegradable keratin exhibited potential to replace PVA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-567
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 2014



  • Biodegradation
  • Chicken feathers
  • Keratin
  • Polyvinyl alcohol
  • Sizing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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