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Future houses to be made of feathers

world Updated: Aug 04, 2008 01:55 IST
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A Filipino scientist says he has created a new composite building board made of chicken feathers that could be a major breakthrough for the construction industry in Asia.

The new material would be resistant to the region’s armies of termites, and could also solve a major environment problem in the Philippines by providing a way to dispose of millions of kilos of waste feathers each year.

The research done by University of the Philippines Los Baqos professor Menandro Acda, which is funded by the Ford Conservation and Environmental Grants programme, is being heralded as economically and environmentally sound.

In an interview with AFP, Acda said the material, made of compressed cement and chicken feathers, could be widely used for housing, replacing boards now made with wood chips, which are easily ruined by hungry insects. The composite boards are “resistant to insect infestation such as termites because the feathers are inedible,” Acda said. “They are also not as flammable or combustible as conventional cement and wood-fibre composite boards,” he added.

Although more research needs to be done, Acda said the feather boards could be used for paneling, ceilings and as insulation but not for weight-bearing building components like walls or pillars.