Hemp – Strong Fibers

Hemp Strong Fiber

Fike: I’m just going to wrap this around my fingers. I can break it, but it’s not really easy to do, like some plants would be.

The plant in question is hemp, and it has many useful properties, including its strong fiber. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Fike: That explains some of the interest in this plant and why these fibers were so good for making things like rope and canvas and that sort of thing.

John Fike is an associate professor in the Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences Department at Virginia Tech.

Fike: Historically, the interest in these plants was in these, what we call “bast fibers”. They can be very long and very strong. Materials that are made from that last for a long time.

Other pipes of the hemp plant are being studied for potential use.

Nowadays we’ve figured out that we can take these inner fibers . We call this “herd”. That herd material will just break up. It has a lot of absorbent properties, and it can be used to make hempcrete. You would mix this with, say Portland cement. People are making houses with that. The hempcrete, because of the hemp, has a lot of absorbent properties, so things like volatile organic compounds that come off of things like urethane or flame retardants that you might find in your house. Those compounds, according to some, those materials can be absorbed by these short fibers. There are other people that are looking at these materials for maybe a substitute or a compliment to wood products. It also is being used as bedding. Anecdotally, I was talking to a colleague recently who uses hemp to bed her horses. She said, “You know, right now we’re importing it, so it’s much more expensive than pine shavings.” But she says it acts sort of like kitty litter. So, there are people saying, “Can we make organic diapers or things like that, with these natural products- that would have these natural absorbent properties?”

We’ll hear more on hemp in future programs. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Hemp - Strong Fibers

Hempcrete, rope, canvas, absorbent bedding - just a few of the thousands of uses for this most versatile plant.
Air Date:01/23/2017
Scientist:
Transcript:

Hemp Strong Fiber

Fike: I'm just going to wrap this around my fingers. I can break it, but it's not really easy to do, like some plants would be.

The plant in question is hemp, and it has many useful properties, including its strong fiber. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Fike: That explains some of the interest in this plant and why these fibers were so good for making things like rope and canvas and that sort of thing.

John Fike is an associate professor in the Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences Department at Virginia Tech.

Fike: Historically, the interest in these plants was in these, what we call "bast fibers". They can be very long and very strong. Materials that are made from that last for a long time.

Other pipes of the hemp plant are being studied for potential use.

Nowadays we've figured out that we can take these inner fibers . We call this "herd". That herd material will just break up. It has a lot of absorbent properties, and it can be used to make hempcrete. You would mix this with, say Portland cement. People are making houses with that. The hempcrete, because of the hemp, has a lot of absorbent properties, so things like volatile organic compounds that come off of things like urethane or flame retardants that you might find in your house. Those compounds, according to some, those materials can be absorbed by these short fibers. There are other people that are looking at these materials for maybe a substitute or a compliment to wood products. It also is being used as bedding. Anecdotally, I was talking to a colleague recently who uses hemp to bed her horses. She said, "You know, right now we're importing it, so it's much more expensive than pine shavings." But she says it acts sort of like kitty litter. So, there are people saying, "Can we make organic diapers or things like that, with these natural products- that would have these natural absorbent properties?"

We'll hear more on hemp in future programs. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.