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Industrial Hemp


Hemp Stalks Ė The Fibre and Hurds


The Hemp stalks are dried and broken down into two parts: thread-like fibres called the "bast" and the inside pulp or "hurd." They have some applications in common, yet each one has its own very individual and distinct applications as well.

The long bark fibre from the stalks is cleaned and spun into threads and yarn for cordage, rope, carpets, or knit or woven into a variety of durable high quality textiles which can be used for an endless variety of products including clothing, curtains, upholstery, shoes, backpacks and towels.

The variety of fabrics made from Hemp range from those as tough as burlap and denim, to cotton-like fabrics, to those as fine as silk, or as intricate as lace. The original Leviís were made of Hemp cloth and today designer Giorgio Armani, as well as other clothing manufacturers, is weaving Hemp into clothes. Shoe companies are now using it in the manufacture of shoes. Within the last few years many cottage industries, offering an amazing array of Hemp products, have sprung up.

Hemp fabrics have added beneficial qualities of being stronger, more insulative, more absorbent and more durable than cotton and they donít stretch out of shape. Natural organic Hemp fibre "breathes" and is biodegradable. It is remarkable that Hemp will produce 1500 pounds of fibre per acre, whereas cotton will produce only 500 pounds per acre and it is estimated that half of all agricultural chemicals used in the US are employed in the growing of cotton.

The inner core of the stalk or hurd contains cellulose and can be made into tree-free, dioxin free paper. Paper made of Hemp is longer lasting than that made from trees and because it is acid free, does not crack, yellow or otherwise deteriorate. In turn, the paper may be used for any product that wood pulp paper is used to manufacture including diapers, newsprint, cardboard, filters, packing, non-woven and absorbent paper products. The long fibres from the stalks are also used to make paper alone or in combination with the pulp. The resulting paper utilizing the fibre is rougher, but stronger than the paper made from the hurd alone.

Furthermore, Hemp paper can be bleached with environmentally safe hydrogen peroxide instead of the chlorine bleach used in processing wood pulp paper and Hemp paper requires only a fraction of the chemicals as does paper produced from wood. Over a 20-year period, one acre of Hemp will produce as much pulp as 4.1 acres of forestland. This is an extremely important point because today only 4% of Americaís old-growth forest remains standing! Yet another bonus: Hemp paper has the capacity of being recycled 7 times as opposed to the 3 times for wood pulp paper.

Charcoal, methanol, methane and gasoline, can be manufactured utilizing the Hemp hurds. Fuels made of plants using a distillation process called "pyrolysis" are called biomass fuels. Biomass fuels are clean and virtually free from metals and sulfur, so will not produce the level of air pollution fossil fuels do. Equally as important, burning biomass fuels will not increase the level of carbon dioxide in the Earthís atmosphere.

Hemp hurds are also used in the manufacture of non-toxic inks, paints, stains, varnishes, lubricants and sealants, as well as industrial fabrication materials and construction materials such as insulation, particleboard and medium-density fibre-board. The hemi-cellulose from this part of the plant is utilized in the manufacture of plastics such as cellophane and phenol.

The use of Hemp in building construction is not new. In Europe Hemp has been used for manufacturing building materials and in construction for many years. French archaeologists made and intriguing find when they discovered old bridges that were built with a process that mineralises Hemp stalks into a long lasting "cement." The process requires no synthetic chemicals and the end product, which is called Isochanvre, is gaining popularity in France. It is used as a filler in building construction and as drywall. It is strong, durable and acts as an insulator of heat and noise.


In the 1930ís Henry Ford constructed an entire automobile body from Hemp and presently auto manufacturers such as BMW and Mercedes are beginning to incorporate Hemp into car bodies, door panels and dashboards.

Hemp-core chips are useable as horse-stable bedding and, when mixed with manure, make good compost.

The leaves and roots of the plant also deserve mention. The Hemp plants drop their leaves when they are mature, which reintroduces minerals and nitrogen back to the soil. Even Hempís deep roots offer an important contribution; they anchor and aerate the soil to control erosion and mudslides. When Hemp is used as a rotation crop, the crops that follow it are stronger and healthier.


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This Page was last updated on : 2016-12-08

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