Document Type

Biomechanics and bioengineering paper

Publication details

Spierling, S, Koplin, T, Endres, H-J 2014, 'Hemp fines - an agricultural by-product for biocomposites? a holistic approach', in ST Smith (ed.), 23rd Australasian Conference on the Mechanics of Structures and Materials (ACMSM23), vol. II, Byron Bay, NSW, 9-12 December, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, pp. 875-880. ISBN: 9780994152008.

Peer Reviewed



The technical, environmental and economic potential of hemp fines as a natural filler in bioplastics to produce biocomposites is the subject of this study – giving a holistic overview. Hemp fines are an agricultural by-product of the hemp fibres and shives production. Shives and fibres are for example used in the paper, animal bedding or composite area. About 15 to 20 wt.-% per kg hemp straw results in hemp fines after processing. In 2010 about 11,439 metric tons of hemp fines were produced in Europe. Hemp fines are an inhomogeneous material which includes hemp dust, shives and fibre. For these examinations the hemp fines are sieved in a further step with a tumbler sieving machine to obtain more specified fractions. The untreated hemp fines (ex work) as well as the sieved fractions are combined with a polylactide polymer (PLA) using a co-rotating twin screw extruder to produce biocomposites with different hemp fine content. By using an injection moulding machine standard test bars are produced to conduct several material tests. The Young’s modulus is increased and the impact strength reduced by hemp fines. With a content of above 15 wt.-% hemp fines are also improving the environmental (global warming potential) and economic performance in comparison to pure PLA.