Is there value in chemical modification of fish scale surfaces?

X Xiang, F Long, A Narkar, RE Kinnunen, R Shahbazian-Yassar, BP Lee, PA Heiden
August 25, 2015
Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 133, 42868, 2016.

Fish scales are an abundant biowaste apparently unused except for isolating major components as feedstocks, sacrificing the useful properties inherent to scales. We modified scale surfaces using hydrophilic and hydrophobic (meth)acrylates and tetraethylorthosilicate with in situ polymerization, and partial degradation of the biomineral or collagen layer. Chemical changes were assessed qualitatively by FTIR and quantitatively by nanomechanical analysis. No modification was selective but they were “preferential”. Hydrophobic modifications were inefficient and reduced scale modulus. Inorganic and hydrophilic modification were efficient and increased modulus. On adding sodium citrate modified scales to a weak alginate hydrogel rheology showed an order of magnitude increase in storage modulus compared to alginate with no or unmodified scale reinforcement. Fish scales can be a useful new reinforcement. This work highlights simple pathways to manipulate surface composition and modulus of waste fish scale to enhance composite properties.

Back To Publications