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Viable recipe for strong hemp plastic

by Roy Carter

 

i have a question about hemp plastic, i’ve seen dozens of recipes and how-to’s about making bio plastic. what i want to know is what is an actually viable recipe for hemp plastic? something that explains it like i’m 5 years old because i’m new to this sort of project.


Comments (3)

  1. Green Plastics says:

    Hemp plastic is probably not possible for you to make at home as a DIY project. However, I can explain to you what hemp plastic is and why it is hard to make! I can also tell you about how you CAN potentially include hemp in a home made bioplastic project if you really want to.

    Let’s begin simple.

    For something to be a plastic, it must contain at least two types of molecule: a polymer molecule and a plasticizer molecule.

    Polymers are long chain molecules. They are important because the long chains of the molecule make the plastic strong. So, for example, in many of the recipes on this website the polymer is either starch or gelatin or in some cases agar (from seaweed).

    Plasticizers are smaller molecules that get IN BETWEEN the polymers to make them able to slide around each other. This is what makes plastics flexible. In many of the recipes on this website, glycerine is used as a plasticizer.

    Hemp contains cellulose, which is a polymer!!!! Specifically, cellulose is a long-chain polysaccharide with the chemical formula (C₆H₁₀O₅)n that consists of hundreds or thousands of linked glucose units.

    Professional companies are able to extract the cellulose from the hemp, in order to combine it with a plasticizer and make cellulose-based plastics. Some common cellulose-based plastics include cellophane, rayon, and celluloid.

    HOWEVER…. and this is the sad part… extracting the cellulose from hemp is complex and requires chemical professionals. So you won’t be able to do that on your own.

    However, if you want to still include hemp in your home bioplastic project, there IS SOMETHING YOU CAN DO.

    It is common for plastics — both bioplastics and regular plastics — to be combined with a “reinforcing matrix.” In other words, when the plastic is in the liquid phase other stuff can be mixed in so that when the plastic solidifies, it makes the plastic STRONGER.

    You could potentially make bioplastic out of some other kind of polymer — such as starch or gelatin — that is easier for a home project, but mix in hemp fibers while you are making the bioplastic. You can experiment to see if the hemp fibers increase its strength!

    That would be my best recommendation if you want to include hemp in your home DIY bioplastic project.

  2. Deepa says:

    Thank you for the information you have put in for young scientists. I have question regarding hemp fibers or cellulose fibers. Can you please let me know In USA from where can I buy these fibers for my son’s project.
    I really appreciate your reply. Thank you for helping my son.

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