Hemp Reber-A Low Cost Non Corroding Alternative To Traditional Steel Reinforcement 

Researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the United States have made hemp-based rebar that can be used instead of steel rebar to avoid corrosion and cut down on carbon emissions during construction.

Similar to how steel and other rebars are used today to support concrete structures, hemp rebars have a lower environmental impact because of the nature of their substance and their shorter lifespan.

Daniel Walczyk and Alexandros Tsamis, who are in charge of the project, say that rusting steel rebar is a big reason why bridges, highways, seawalls, and buildings break down so quickly.

Reber-An alternative to traditional steel reinforcement

“Concrete constructions are given a lifetime of 40 to 50 years in locations with high salt concentrations,” said Tsamis, an architect and assistant professor at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

“You would have three times more service life for everything you make if the rebar weren’t corroding,” the engineer said. “That would create a substantial overall contribution to decreasing carbon emissions.”

Even though the statistic hides the effects of its service life and maintenance needs, the RPI team says that typical steel rebar has a fairly low amount of embodied energy, especially if it is made from recycled materials.

However, alternatives to typical steel, such as glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP) rebar, which has a significant negative impact on the environment, are frequently used in structural designs in highly corrosive conditions.

Even though the work hasn’t been reviewed by experts yet, the team says that early results show that hemp rebar has a much lower embodied energy than GFRP rebar and is probably just as strong.

The technique of making hemp rebar involves pultrusion, in which thermoplastics are used to draw together the fibres in a heated die, where they are then melted to create a solid bar.

The RPI team is currently perfecting the “recipe” in order to turn the hemp into a rope made of a combination of natural and plastic fibres.

Following that, the coils of this rope are put into a machine designed specifically for the operation. On-site, a CNC machine about the size of a small car bends and cuts the rebar into the shape that is needed by reading digital data.

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More About Hemp

Hemp is a versatile plant that is widely used to produce bags, clothing, hempcrete (hemp concrete), hemp rebars, and other products. This post will talk about hemp rebars.

The robust fibres of the hemp stalk are used to create rebars made of hemp. To create reinforcement bars resembling those found in steel, these fibres are mixed with a resin or bioplastic.

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The pultrusion method is used to create hemp rebars. The hemp fibres and thermoplastic are drawn together into a heated die, where they are melted to form a solid bar. Tsamis, Walczyk, and their team at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), in the United States, created the equipment that is used to produce hemp rebars.

The experiments demonstrate that compared to glass fibre reinforced polymer (GFRB) rebars, hemp rebar has a much lower embodied energy.

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