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Elena Dieckmann

MA work


AEROPOWDER is a highly versatile additive for composites and paints that captures the core properties of bird feathers in the form of five different powders that can be used for transforming existing products and materials. 

Feather waste from poultry farming is a huge issue that contributes to the global waste crisis. Worldwide, the poultry industry produces more than 350 million tons p.a. of chicken feather waste alone. Feathers are made out of keratin, which has a strong structural protein that only degrades after 250 years in soil. Last year in the UK alone, 900 million chickens were slaughtered, equating to 2000 tons of feather waste per week in the UK. Nature has designed feathers as an amazing composite material, that keeps birds warm, repels water, has great aerodynamic properties and is the lightest material in nature. In the process of identifying the five AEROPOWDERs, more than 400 materials were sampled and analysed to identify the most promising candidates. Scientific testing, such as thermal conductivity, measurement of hydrophobicity and flammability assessment were conducted throughout the development process to optimise the additives. Feathers are natural non-toxic fibres, which are chemically unreactive and lightweight. Working conditions and end user safety will be improved due to the dermatological inert nature of the feathers. 


  • MA Degree


    School of Design


    MA Innovation Design Engineering, 2016

  • Degrees

  • BA Cultural Engineering, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany, 2011
  • Experience

  • International management trainee, Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg, 2012; Bachelor-Thesis, BMW AG, Munich, 2011; Internhip, BMW AG, Munich, 2010; Internship, IBM Consulting, Munich, 2010
  • Awards

  • Mayor of London Low Carbon Entrepreneur Award, 2016; SHELL LiveWire, 2016; James Dyson Award: International Runners-Up, 2014; International Design Award, 2014