Hemp can be used to make rebar that’s just as strong as steel
Steel reinforcing bar, or rebar, is a key part of the way buildings like that condo tower are built, and it is critical to their structural integrity. But steel rebar is also susceptible to the moisture that can wind its way through concrete, causing largely invisible corrosion that can lead to structures collapsing almost without warning.
A team of researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) has an alternative. Instead of using steel to reinforce concrete, they’ve developed a composite reinforcing material made of surprisingly strong hemp fiber. Their hemp-based rebar uses the hearty fibers of the hemp stalk in combination with a resin or bioplastic to form bars that can safely replace steel rebar in concrete construction.
This new rebar could help buildings stand longer and create less pollution.