Beyond the Flower: utilization of the Hemp Stalk for Products and Applications


Hemp in the usa and around the world is a hot subject due to the green nature, sustainability, and zero or carbon footprint that is low. This is only the tip of the iceberg with respect to applications while most of the hemp world has been flower-centric due to the health benefits of cannabinoids and terpenes. The plant that is entire including flower, seed, stalk, leaves, and root, has 50,000 different uses. For example, the stalk can be used for consumer textiles, industrial textiles, paper and building material. The seeds may be used for industrial products, foods, energy, and body care items. The leaves can be used for foods, animal bedding, mulch, and composting. The roots can be used for organic composting, nutrients, and as a remedy for other health conditions.

Just as any manufactured product requires some type of testing for accuracy, purity, stability, durability, etc., so do hemp-based products. The testing may require several analytical instruments, physical testing machines, x-ray equipment as well as other testing devices. This communication will focus on the stalk, providing an overview of some applications and the instruments needed to ensure finished product quality.

Textiles because of space limitations, and the nearly impossible task of discussing 50,000 possible products and Industry Textiles

The hemp stalk consist of an layer that is outer the bast fiber and an inner layer of woody pith. The layer that is outer employed for textiles although the internal layer may be used for gas, building materials, and animal bedding.

Examples of hemp textiles include woven and knit materials, non-woven fibre mats, yarns, and rope. Materials may be made from 100% hemp or blended along with other materials such as for example cotton, flax, or silk. As an example, clothes product might be made out of a blend of 30% cotton and 70% hemp fibre. A product that is blended be made softer or more durable. There are many advantages of hemp over cotton. Hemp can be grown nearly everywhere and with less oversight whereas cotton only grows in moderate climates and requires more water and pesticides. In addition, one acre of hemp can produce as much fiber as up to three acres of cotton. Hemp is also a stronger fiber and more mildew resistant.

Tensile Testing

Stretchability of Fabrics

Hemp fabrics can be used for T-shirts, dresses, hoodies, underwear, socks, other forms of apparel, as well as for household textiles such as blankets, duvets, towels, tablecloths, and upholstery. Hemp fibers are fine enough to make fabrics with a thread count of 250-300, which is considered percale, a closely woven fabric that is fine for sheets. An harvest that is early produce a softer fabric. The fabric is very breathable, has high-moisture-wicking abilities, and heat-retention that is low. The materials have actually a minimal chance for pilling where brief or broken materials team together as a result of abrasion and be tangled in a knot that is tiny ball, known as a pill.

Hemp fabrics are considered to have medium stretchability or give. Any of these parameters may be changed by blending with other fibers.

Example of a Universal Testing Machine and Stress-Strain plot

The physical properties of textiles are an result that is interdependent of kind, yarn spinning technique, and textile construction.

A Universal test machine measures displacement and force while deforming a sample. They can be configured with many different types of grips and accessories to evaluate the myriad properties of textile products that determine their function and feel, such as for example textile stretchability, tear resistance, burst energy, seam energy, and dietary fiber elongation.

Generally, Tensile testing of fabrics occurs in two directions: the warp (length) and the weft (width), also referred to as the fill or woof. Shown is an example of tensile testing of a sheet.

UV-Vis-NIR Spectroscopy

Analysis of Natural Illumination and Thermal Insulation

A variety of functional materials, such as fabrics, are being developed for their thermal insulation properties as well as to provide lighting that is natural. It may be assumed that increasing transmittance and reflectance that is lowering illuminating properties while lowering transmittance and increasing reflectance produce thermal insulation properties. Transmission and reflectance spectra of fabrics can be measured with a UV-VIS-NIR spectrophotometer equipped with an sphere that is integrating

Example of a UV-Vis-NIR spectrometer with integration sphere for calculating thermal insulation properties in addition to to supply normal illumination

Transmittance Spectra of Fabrics- Black & Red: created for Natural Illumination Blue: created for Thermal Insulation

Reflectance Spectra of Fabrics -Black & Red: created for Natural Illumination Blue: created for Thermal Insulation

Analysis of Dye Colors

As any consumer understands, textile color is a significant consideration whenever choosing and buying something. Utilized in a range that is wide of for material characterization, UV-Vis-NIR spectrophotometers are useful for analysis of dye colors through final product.

UV-Vis-NIR with Double Beam, Single Monochromator for measuring dyes & clothing colors

FTIR and Infrared Microscope

Determination of Pectin Removal Level

FTIR spectroscopy may be used to determine the pectin removal level during the purification process by monitoring the functional groups in the transmission mode. By using the attenuated total reflectance (ATR) accessory, the instrument is capable of differentiating textile fibers by their chemical composition, commonly classified by their origin as natural (e.g. hemp, cotton, linen, silk, wool), regenerated (e.g. viscose hemp, cellulose acetate) and synthetic (e.g. polyester, polyacrylic, polyamide).

A microscope used in conjunction with FTIR helps identify visible and contaminants that are chemical breaks into the fibre, and combinations of materials.

Example of a FTIR & Microscope

Chemical Structure of Pectin

X-Ray Diffraction (XRD)

Determination of Crystallinity

During the various phases of chemi-mechanical remedy for the materials, powder X-ray diffraction (XRD) in transmission mode could be used to figure out the crystallinity through the procedure. The purpose of the therapy procedure would be to eliminate aggregates that are amorphous increase the crystallinity. Elimination of amorphous compounds, with the increase of crystallinity index, is attributed to the ordered close packing of macromolecules of cellulose in the fibers and strengthening of the hemp fibers.

Example of an XRD

Textile Characteristic and the Instruments used for Measurement

Geotextiles & Construction

Universal Testing Machines


Geotextiles are soil reinforcements used in environmental engineering and construction projects to prevent erosion, aid in drainage, separate structural layers, and vegetation establishment that is improve. For their fiber that is long length strength, hemp fibers can be used in geotextiles in the form of fabric, fiber mats, and nets. In contrast to plastic that is synthetic, hemp is renewably sourced and biodegradable, therefore it doesn’t contaminate the surroundings at the conclusion of its helpful life. Shimadzu’s AGS-X Series Universal Electromechanical Test Frames are perfect for testing the effectiveness of geotextiles.

Worker laying geotextile employed for separation and reinforcement when preparing for a building that is new*)Examples of Universal Electromechanical Test Frames


Hemp hurd and fibers have found use in several construction materials, including concrete, insulation, and particleboard. When hemp hurds are incorporated to cement that is lime-based they create a renewably sourced, lightweight, and insulating building product that may replace tangible and artificial insulation in a few applications. Hemp stalk materials will also be replacements that are possible wood chips in fiberboard and particleboard materials. Typical tests for construction materials include compression and bending tests, and evaluation of changes in physical properties due to exposure that is environmental. Hydraulic test structures is capable of the forces needed for screening high-strength construction materials, and also the pc software includes a test that is concrete program.

Hempcrete Building

Hydraulic test frames compression for hempcrete

Compression Testing of Hempcrete

High Speed Video Camera (10M Frames/Sec)

Natural Fiber Composites

Universal Testing Machine

Tensile Testing

Natural fiber composites combine plant fibers, such as hemp, with a polymer matrix to create materials with improved rigidity and strength and decreased weight. Composites made with natural fibers have potential advantages over glass and carbon fiber reinforcements in many applications due to the balance that is right of, price, and gratification as well as generally speaking having lower power of manufacturing.

They are usually trusted into the industry that is automotive interior panels such as doors and trunk liners and are expected to be incorporated into more components as their properties are improved. Bending and testing that is shear crucial because composite energy can differ with regards to the way that force is used. Normal fibre composites are often more responsive to moisture and heat, so doing testing that is physical thermal chambers is necessary.

Car Door Liners Made of Hemp

Car Trunk Liners Made of Hemp

Universal Testing Machine 3-point bending

Results of a 3-point test that is bending on a composite product to figure out flexural modulus

Thermal Analysis and Capillary Flow Technology

Thermal properties of composite resins

A number of thermal properties of composite resins and commercial chemical substances may be determined making use of thermal analysis instruments (TGA, DSC, TMA, and DTG) and Capillary Flow tech (CFT). These properties consist of cup change heat, degradation or temperature that is melting purity analysis, and curing behavior.

Shown below is a DSC measurement of a reaction that is hardening of epoxy resin at different points of heat application treatment. The glass transition temperature increases and the enthalpy of reaction decreases.

DSC as the reaction progresses measurement of a hardening reaction of an epoxy resin at various points of heat treatment (left) and DSC, TGA, and TMA

Industrial X-Ray Computed Tomography (CT)

Internal structure and features

Industrial X-Ray CT systems provide detailed visualization of the internal structure and features of an object. Scanning composites can identify fiber position and alignment, calculate volume fraction of different components, and identify the size and distribution of pores. Powerful color processing software enables observation and statistical calculations of different regions that are internal. CT scanning can also be a tool that is useful identifying cracks, voids, and disconnections for failure analysis.

This CT scan of the fracture fiber composite illustrates areas of delamination and cracking (left), and example of an X-Ray Computed Tomography (CT) instrument.

Paper Products

Tensile Testing, Particle Size, and Mass

Paper Parameters

Hemp paper from the stalk can be used for printing, newsprint, packaging, cardboard, and other paper products. Paper products can be made of the bast that is long or the hurd (or pulp). The various areas of the stalk might have applications that are different. The fiber bast paper has been reported to be thin, tough, brittle, and rough while the hurd has been reported to be thicker, easier to make, not as strong, with more applications that are daily. With regards to the supply of information, dried out hemp is reported to possess between 50-85% cellulose, the ingredient that is main paper, while trees are in the 30-50% range. Therefore, the other 50-70% of chemical compounds from trees have to be removed. Relatedly, hemp has lower concentrations of lignin, which must be removed during the process of making paper products. The lignin concentrations are 5-24% and 20-35% for hemp and trees, respectively. Hemp paper can be bleached with hydrogen peroxide instead of the toxic chlorine or dioxin chemicals used with paper from trees.

Hemp reaches maturity in 3-4 months while trees require 20-80 years and, in addition, hemp has four times more fiber than a forest using the landmass that is same. Hence, hemp paper may be produced at a much quicker rate. It is stated that hemp paper items may be recycled eight times, while tree items can just only be recycled not even half the true number of times.

While on-line sensors may be available to measure some production parameters, lab-scale method development may require laboratory instruments. Some parameters measured are weight, moisture profile, ash content, color, brightness, smoothness, gloss, coat weight, formation, porosity, fiber orientation, surface properties, tear strength and opacity. For example, a tester that is universal be properly used for the dedication of breaking energy, breaking size, tearing energy regarding the long and brief part, elongation, fold opposition, and much more. Analytical, top-loading, and balances that are moisture available to calculate weight and moisture profiles.

In the paper industry, coatings, fibers, fillers, sizing agents, and other items affect a paper’s properties, such as brightness, color, gloss, and opacity. A particle size analyzer is ideal for this application.


High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)


The 2007 legislation that is federal encouraged manufacturing of biodiesel in the usa has additionally increased manufacturing of ethanol in an attempt to offset reliance upon fossil fuels and minimize carbon dioxide emissions. The material that is cellulosic hemp can be converted into sugars and fermented into ethanol to be used as a supplement in gasoline, much as has been done with corn and soybean biomass.

Careful attention must be paid to the fermentation process to guarantee its efficiency and the purity of the ethanol product that is final. High-performance fluid chromatography (HPLC) is an method that is ideal monitoring the conversion of sugars to alcohol during fermentation.

HPLC and chromatogram of sugars to ethanol during fermentation 34 hours after the process began. Peaks are 1) DP4+ (oligosaccharides with ≥4 degrees of polymerization), 2) DP3 (oligosaccharides with 3 degrees of polymerization), 3) Maltose, 4) Glucose, 5) Lactic acid, 6) Glycerol, 7) Acetic acid, 8) Ethanol

Gas Chromatography (GC)

After fermentation is complete, the ethanol that is produced be denatured to ensure it isn’t taxed nor employed for individual usage. After test techniques such as for example ASTM D5501, which specifies GC-FID, permits the dedication regarding the ethanol content in ethanol denatured with gasoline or methanol.

GC-FID And chromatogram ethanol and methanol content in a fuel ethanol denatured with gasoline by ASTM technique D5501.


For numerous, the worthiness of hemp is concentrated mainly regarding the flower and seeds. Nonetheless, one other areas of the plant, especially the stalk, leaves, and root, additionally provide tremendous growth and value potential. Due to space limitations, writing about all the potential uses of hemp and hemp-based products is not a objective that is feasible this interaction concentrated entirely on applications pertaining to the stalk. Future communications will deal with applications pertaining to other areas regarding the plant.

Using hemp for commercial items has its challenges. As an example, it is difficult to disrupt companies with hundreds or tens of thousands of many years of proven supply chains. Food-grade plastics needs to be FDA compliant and USDA certified to make sure no dangers come in the plastic materials needing testing that is new new products. Current agricultural and processor equipment will need to be modified for hemp so that, in a stage that is single the crop is divided in to stalks, seeds, and leaves. Fiber will need processing that is big, as with corn. In addition, processing hemp for paper or textiles differs from how cotton is processed.

Finally, hemp-based products, like the products they replace, will require testing to ensure safety, reliability, accuracy, purity, stability, durability, etc. This testing may require several analytical instruments, physical testing machines, x-ray equipment, and other devices.

Despite these challenges, the benefits of this green, low-carbon crop are clear. And with the commitment that is proper the complete hemp plant provides long-lasting possibility sustainable development.

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This content is supplied as a membership advantage to your business that is valuable level. Due to several factors including the variances in state hemp laws and the differences in interpretation of federal law, NHA makes no warrants of the legality, efficacy or safety of any product, service or statement made by any party that is third

We encourage all users and also the public that is general do their very own homework on any company or item, and understanding their state’s and federal rules, before selecting purchasing any product or contracting for almost any service.(*)

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