“A preliminary investigation of piezoelectric effects in chicken feathers,” W. Van Dam, J.A. Tanner, and C. Romero-Sierra,IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, vol. 17, no. 1, 1970, pp. 71-71. The authors explain:
“Piezoelectric effects have been measured experimentally in chicken feathers. Quill sections subjected to alternating electric stress respond with an axial twisting motion that has a well-defined resonant mode. Conversely, subjecting the quill to mechanical stress produced an electrical signal.”
so how can this be used?
For circuit boards maybe...
Wool arranged a collaboration in which Tyson would provide waste feathers for experimentation. Tyson washed the feathers and stripped the quill material away, leaving behind the air-filled down, which the company pressed into thin mats.Wool coated the keratin fiber mats with two different commercial soybean oil preparations in several different proportions. The resulting boards were tested for qualities including rigidity and wetting (the fibers must be saturated by the soybean resin to achieve the desired dielectric constant), as well as vibration damping and thermal expansion, physical performance attributes important in applications including electronic, automotive, aerospace, defense, and farming equipment.
ModernFarmer has an article on more ways to use the feathers:
The list of things that the keratin-rich material has been used to make is vast: dishes and furniture, clothing, circuit boards, wall insulation, filters and planting pots (the feathers of one chicken makes three one-gallon containers). Feathers are used to make hurricane-proof roofing, shoe soles, and lightweight auto dashboards and glove compartments leading to fuel efficiency. While most are still prototypes, Schmidt says a “handful” of patents have been licensed by research institutes.