Hemp Biocomposites

Natural Durability

The most rapidly expanding application for hemp fiber is as reinforcement in composites. The blending materials range from thermoplastics such as polypropylene and polyethylene to thermoset fiber such as polyester. Plant based resins from soy, canola or corn are also used so that a 100% biocomposite is feasible. Typical applications include automotive interior substrates, furniture and other consumer products. Hemp fiber is also used to produce mineral based composites, in much the same way polypropylene or glass fiber is used to reinforce cement or plaster. The use of injection molding technology is also starting to gain ground using hemp fiber as a reinforcing material allowing hemp fiber to be used in more complex shapes and structures.

More than two million cars and trucks in North America use biocomposites. These are made of nonwoven hemp matting and polypropylene or epoxy pressed into parts such as door panels, window pillars, package trays, trunk liners and luggage racks. These biocomposites are used in place of heavier and less safe fiberglass composites.
The applications are numerous, hemp fiber has incredible potential as a cost effective option for companies implementing sustainable and environmentally sound building practices.
Several companies are researching techniques to produce composites that retain the natural antibacterial properties of hemp fiber that have been shown to kill several types of surface bacteria including E. coli. The applications of such products would cut across many industries including medical facilities, kitchen supplies, baby toys, exercise mats etc.