Comparative FTIR Study of Treated Hemp Hurds before and after Their Application in Bio-Aggregate-Based Composites

Nadezda Stevulova, Eva Singovszka, Stefan Demcak


The incorporation of bio-aggregates in composites with inorganic matrix has become popular nowadays. This paper aims to investigate the effect of alternative binder (MgO-cement) on the degradation of reference and treated hemp hurds bio-aggregates during their long-term incorporation in the composites. Changes in the molecular structures and associated chemical bonds of the chemically (sodium hydroxide NaOH, calcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2, and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)) and physicochemical (ultrasound in water and NaOH solution) modified and long-term embedded hemp hurds bio-aggregates in composite compared to reference hemp slices using Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy as one of the most popular methods for testing lignocellulosic materials were studied. The spectra of reference and ultrasound treated bio-aggregates, used for Portland cement matrix reinforcing, were also reported for comparison. The degree of cellulose crystallinity was used to assess the degradation of hemp hurds samples after treatment and their application in the composite. FTIR spectra have shown some similarity in bands positions representing the main hemp hurds components and binder hydrated phases (magnesium silicate hydrate M-S-H and calcium silicate hydrate C-S-H, respectively). However, the spectra revealed changes in cellulose crystallinity depending on the behavior of the surface-modified hemp hurds structure during their long-term interaction with binder particles in the composite. The evaluation of bio-aggregate samples' performance due to their long-term incorporation in composite matrix confirmed an effect of the alkaline environment of binders on cellulose crystallinity.

Keywords:hemp hurd, treatment, bio-aggregate-based composite, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, degree of cellulose crystallinity.

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