Hemp Bast Fiber
Fiber is one of the most valuable parts of the hemp plant. It is commonly called bast fiber which refers to the fibers which grow on the outside of the plant’s stalk similar to the bark of a tree. Bast fibers give the plants strength. Hemp fibers can be between approximately 0.91 m (3 ft) and 4.6 m (15 ft) long, running the length of the plant. During harvest and processing the fibers may be cut to shorter lengths. The color of the hemp fibers is determined by the strain of hemp, the harvesting method, the retting process, and the method used to separate the fibers from themselves. Hemp fibers may naturally be creamy white, brown, beige, gray, or green.
The best quality hemp fibers are spun to make yarns which are then used to make rope, twine, textiles, webbing and other woven products.
Lower quality fibers are used for non-woven purposes such as paper and insulation. Hemp fibers have been used in prototype quantities to strengthen concrete, and in other composite materials for many construction and manufacturing applications. A mixture of fiberglass, hemp fiber, kenaf, and flax has been used to make composite panels for automobiles.