Mechanical and Thermal Properties of Chitin from Diverse


  • Jessica Caldwell Division of Science, Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus
  • J.D. Mendez Division of Science, Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus


chitin, chitosan, cicada, lobster, shrimp, TGA, mechanical properties


Chitin is an abundant polysaccharide that can be found in the exoskeletons and sloughs of many different organisms. Commercially, chitin is extracted from shrimp exoskeletons and used in applications ranging from thickening agents to wound dressing. Previous studies in our group showed that other sources of chitin (lobster, crawfish, and the sloughs of cicada) can be extracted in a similar manner but produce chitin with varying degrees of acetylation and protein content. In this study, chitin from a cicada, lobster, and shrimp source materials was studied to determine their mechanical and thermal properties. The chitin to chitosan ratio of the resulting product also was altered through a reaction with sodium hydroxide at differing temperatures or for differing time periods. The three source materials produced films with similar mechanical strength and thermal properties. Likewise, each responded similarly to changes in the degree of acetylation.