Friday, April 24, 2009

Clever Hemp-Based Wood Replacement

Hemp is a fast-growing source of plant fiber that may help preserve the majestic forests of the world. Stanford University researchers are busy at work creating a very intriguing faux wood from hemp, combining a bioplastic called PHB with sheets of hemp fiber. The resulting wood substitute may also prove to be a plastic substitute!
The hemp-PHB biocomposite material has several characteristics similar to wood from trees, according to Craig Criddle, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, who collaborated on the project. “It’s quite attractive looking and very strong,” he said. “You can mold it, nail it, hammer it and drill it a lot like wood. But, bioplastic PHB can be produced faster than wood, and hemp can be grown faster than trees.” _Biomass
The age of advanced biomaterials is arriving at the same time as the age of advanced bio-fuels and bio-chemicals. Many technologies for turning biomass into plastics and structural fiber, can be used to turn biomass into fuels and high value chemicals.

Laws against the growth and use of hemp are just one example of the government's counterproductive meddling in the markets -- eventually resulting in depressed economies. The current Obama reich's meddling in energy markets is another fine example of government stupidity. Here's a novel idea: why doesn't the government concentrate on protecting its citizens from violence, fraud, and greedy, corrupt bureaucrats? The mainspring of human progress is the human spirit and human imagination. Big greedy government is the antithesis of an open and vibrant future.


Unknown said...

Obama Reich?

How many people are writing this blog? You start out talking about unbiased, neutral SCIENCE and end up taking pot shots at liberals AGAIN.

Could you just separate the biased bullshit from the unbiased, interesting stuff?

I like it when you talk about the future, and not when you paint it with this tedious present-day nonsense. Your politics are hate-filled and not supported by arguments, just vitriol.


Anonymous said...

It isn't just hemp that can be used to make wood substitutes. The store I work at has a rack full of cutting boards that are made of bamboo. The bamboo is sliced into strips and then these strips are glued together to form sheets to make a cutting board. The bamboo sheets are then machined like a normal piece of laminated wood and wrapped. The sign on top of the display claims that bamboo is stronger than most hardwoods.

I would become somewhat depressed if the Chinese began exporting dimensional lumber to the US because our forests in the Pacific Northwest were locked up due to the spotted owl.

al fin said...

Bamboo? Very clever.
China itself has little dimensional lumber, but Chinese companies are busy stripping Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and the rest of Southeast Asia.

Mr Yoat: Just as the child is father of the man, so is the present the father of the future. It takes a great deal more insight than most psychological neotenates and academic lobotomates are capable of to understand why incompetent leaders such as we have currently, are apt to cut off our future above the knees.

Since our beloved media is giving these incompetents a free pass for the duration, it is up to the humble writers of these blogs to point out the dangers.

Cederpants said...

Don't sound so surprised by the use of bamboo, it is not a new idea in the world - only to many Americans because it's not native to our continent. Bamboo is worlds better than lumber for many uses. As is hemp; in many applications hemp is better than woods, metals and plastics, and it is more nutritious than some of our staple crops.
Now, when you bring partisanship into debates like this, you lose all credibility. There are endless examples in US history of a "free pass" given by the media (and the justice department) with regards to politicians' actions and decisions. If one thing is clear it is this: our government is always for its friends, but rarely for the people.

One more thing to al fin: I got a good chuckle when you referred to yourself as a "humble" writer, because it is readily apparent that you are anything but.