Archive for April, 2012

Good, Comprehensive Natural Fiber Website

Friday, April 13th, 2012

I ran across this website that might be interesting to other fiber-geeks.  Natural Fibres is the name of the site and you can see from the first page that they are interested in informing about all aspects of natural fiber.

“We are now seeing a growing movement away from petrochemical based fibres back to natural fibres. There are three reasons for this. Petrochemical based fibre production has undergone continuing rising costs. Synthetic fibres rely on precious non-renewable resources and incurs environmental costs in their production. Petrochemical based products pose a health risk in most applications, both from direct exposure and also from secondary exposure through soil, water and air pollution.

Natural fibres are either extracted from plants from the leaf, the inner bark or fruit/seed crop, or from animal wool/hair, or insect cocoon or from mineral product. Plant sources of fibre include cotton, hemp, kenaf, ramie, sisal, flax, linen, lime, jute, seagrass, and abaca. Animal sources of fibre include sheep, alpaca, llama, goat, and camel, and can be either wool, hair or leather. Insect fibre is predominantly from silkworm cocoons.”

There are several tabs on the right hand side that will bring you to all sorts of information.  Enjoy!!


Henry Ford Made a Hemp Car

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

I found an interesting tidbit in the history of natural fiber with industrial applications.  There is a long history of use of natural fiber to reinforce automobile parts.  Here is some archival footage of Henry Ford’s Hemp Car.

Click on the link above and it will take you to an interesting youtube video.  Apparently Henry Ford made a car where the exterior was some sort of fiber-reinforced composite using industrial hemp.  The video shows Henry Ford hitting the trunk of the car with an axe, and it doesn’t leave a dent.  An article appeared in Popular Mechanics Magazine, Vol. 76, No. 6, December,1941, titled: “Auto Body Made of Plastics Resists Denting Under Hard Blows”.  The article goes on to describe the car exterior, including windshield and windows, as being made from a mixture “composed of farm crops and synthetic chemicals, the plastic is reported to withstand a blow 10 as great as steel without denting…”  The article also quotes Ford as saying he would “grow automobiles from the soil.”

It makes you wonder, whatever happened to Ford’s Hemp Car?  A quick google search turned up a lot of ignorant ravings about “smoking your car”, but little in the way of the real story.  If anyone out there knows, please share with us in the comments section.