Given the vast amount of available research in the area of natural fibre composites, a significant step forward in the development of next-generation plant fibre-based products would be to devise a framework for rational design. The authors use a top-down approach, starting with an example final product to define the product specifications for high-performance hemp fibre-reinforced composites. Thereafter, all process steps are critically analysed: from textile preform and reinforcement yarn production, to fibre extraction and the agricultural process chain, to the microbiology of field retting, to cultivation and selection of crop variety. The aim of the analysis is to determine how far the current state of knowledge and process technologies are in order to use hemp fibres in high- performance composites. Based on this critical evaluation of the state-of-the-art, it can be stated that hemp will be found in high-performance composites in the short-to-medium term. There is, however, a need for performance optimisation especially through the selection of crop variety, best practices in retting, and effective fibre extraction methods to obtain more consistent fibre qualities suitable for reinforcement spinning and composite preform manufacturing processes.
- Environmentally friendly crop
- Hemp fibre composites
- Structural biocomposite design
- Structure-property-processing relations