The idea of using hemp in the paper industry, or in other materials, is not new. 2000 years ago in China, the first papers were made from hemp and mulberry. Before 1883, more than 70% of paper was made from hemp fibers.
Moreover, until the 19th century, hemp had a very important place in industry. However, the disappearance of the sailing navy, the appearance of cotton and the introduction of taxes will gradually lead to the cessation of its production. Today, aware of the unrivaled qualities of hemp fiber resistance, recycling and more and more concerned with ecological problems, many people are trying to reintroduce the cultivation of hemp. Research and genetic modification have in fact made it possible to obtain non-psychotropic varieties. This opens up new perspectives of use for this plant.
In such a context, what role can the paper industry play both technically and economically? Are there viable ways of using hemp fiber in paper mills? For which paper, which uses and which customers? Now the Custom printed boxes
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Plant Morphology and Botanical Data
Hemp, cannabis sativa, is a plant over 2 meters tall. It is an annual plant that belongs to the dicotyledonous class and is part of the plants whose stems contain fibers in their cortical part. This productivity is much higher than wood given:
- The rapid growth of the plant,
- Its increased cellulose content compared to wood,
- Its great ability to adapt to different climates,
- And the possibility of the plant being used in rotation.
It therefore seems more interesting to plant hemp than to set aside land. The cellulosic fiber, interesting for paper applications, is in the rod. The quality of this fiber varies radially. This is because the fiber plays a different role depending on whether it is closer to the center or to the wall.
The hemp stalk is made up of a high proportion of shorter and very lignified interior fibers which, once recovered by mechanical treatment (formerly scutching, today mechanical de-fibration) gives hemp. On the outside, on the other hand, we find very long cortical fibers with very little lignification, which give rise to the tow (which was formerly used for ropes and sails). The more or less important lignin content (remaining however 2 to 3 times lower than that of wood fibers) results in the need for separation prior to any cooking. Finally, you should know that the cannabis seed is called hemp seed. Choosing the cbd packaging boxes
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Properties of Hemp and Applications
- Hemp fibers, unbleached pulp, optical microscopy
- Hemp fibers seen under an optical microscope.
- Unbleached hemp paste
Currently, new ecological trends have allowed the arrival of biomaterials and "organic" products on the market. Techniques and knowledge make it possible to envisage ever more varied applications for hemp, as we will see (oil for the food sector, cosmetics, insulation, cements, lubricants, etc.).
The remarkable qualities of industrial hemp defy the competition: it grows well without herbicides, revitalizes the soil, requires less water than cotton ripens in three or four months and can produce four times more paper per acre than trees. In addition, hemp is used to make building materials twice as strong as wood and cement; a textile fiber more resistant than cotton; better oils and paints than petroleum based ones; residue-free burning diesel fuel and biodegradable plastics.
While a development of industrial and technological techniques relating to hemp would have made it a preferable alternative, the decades of prohibition annihilated all scientific research around the economic potential of hemp. Today, it is the established aspect of competing industries that slows down and hinders the development of these potentialities.
The confusion of industrial hemp with recreational “marijuana”, the use of which was strongly ethnicized in the United States, led to the abolition of the product and its cultivation to the detriment of its qualities and its ancient use. Hemp was therefore banned in 1937 with the Marijuana Text Act, although sometimes authorized as part of industrial strategies alternative to petroleum.