In an era where sustainable practices are paramount, the quest for eco-friendly materials has led to some amazing discoveries. Crystalline Nano-Cellulose (CNC), a material with unique mechanical and structural properties, has emerged as a game-changer across multiple industries. What makes this even more fascinating is the source of this CNC – hemp hurds, the inner woody core of the hemp plant. In this post we dive into a recent study conducted by Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, to research the extraction and applications of CNC from hemp hurds.

Materials and Methods

The study utilized hemp hurds from NHA Gold Member Tropical Hemp Corp. as raw materials. The hurds were cleaned and pre-treated through alkaline solutions to eliminate impurities and lignin. The CNC extraction process involved a series of steps, including acid hydrolysis using sulfuric acid, mechanical shearing, sonication, and purification. The primary objective was to isolate crystalline regions within the cellulose structure. Various characterization techniques, such as Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) for fiber morphology, X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) for crystallinity, and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) for chemical bonding, were employed to assess the CNC’s properties.

Results and Discussion

The biggest discovery was the presence of exceptionally long nanofibers within the CNC extracted from hemp hurd. Some of these nanofibers reached millimeter lengths, a characteristic not commonly observed in CNC from other sources. The long fibers may be attributed to the unique properties of hemp hurds and the specific extraction methodology employed.

The extraction process proved to be highly efficient, yielding a significant quantity of CNC. FTIR spectroscopic analyses revealed the CNC’s purity, while XRD results demonstrated its crystalline nature. Interestingly, these analyses shows that the CNC’s purity and crystallinity increased with higher acid concentrations and longer hydrolysis durations.

Potential Implications

The discovery of these long nanofibers has opened up a world of possibilities for innovative applications. One such potential application is in composite material reinforcement, where the length of nanofibers could substantially enhance mechanical strength. The study’s findings demonstrated a tenfold increase in compressive strength and a fourfold increase in tensile strength when hempcrete, a sustainable building material, was reinforced with CNC from hemp.

These results hint at the potential for hemp-derived CNC to revolutionize various industries, including construction, electronics, and even the semiconductor industry.

Summary

The study conducted by Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University has successfully unveiled the potential of hemp hurd as a source of Crystalline Nano-Cellulose (CNC). The discovery of exceptionally long nanofibers within the CNC extracted from hemp hurd is a groundbreaking revelation. This novel characteristic holds the promise of driving innovation in numerous industries.

The utilization of hemp hurd aligns perfectly with global sustainability initiatives. While obtaining the longest CNC fibers may require a compromise in purity, the trade-off is well worth it considering the tremendous structural advantages these long nanofibers offer.

As we progress in our pursuit of sustainable materials, Crystalline Nano Cellulose (CNC) emerges as a key ingredient. CNC not only offers eco-friendliness but also exhibits the ability to enhance the performance of various products across a diverse range of industry sectors, including:

  1. Aerospace
  2. Automotive
  3. Construction
  4. Electronics
  5. Textiles
  6. Packaging
  7. Biomedical
  8. Energy
  9. Agriculture
  10. Environmental Remediation

The future of technology and sustainability may just be entwined with hemp.

Read the study