AbstractThe aim of this work was to explore how various surface treatments would change the dispersion component of surface energy and acid-base character of hemp nanofibers, using inverse gas chromatography (IGC), and to investigate the effect of the incorporation of these modified nanofibers into a biopolymer matrix on the properties of their nano-composites. Bio-nanocomposite materials were prepared from poly (lactic acid) (PLA) and polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) as the matrix, and the cellulose nanofibers extracted from hemp fiber by chemo-mechanical treatments. Cellulose fibrils have a high density of –OH groups on the surface, which have a tendency to form hydrogen bonds with adjacent fibrils, reducing interaction with the surrounding matrix. It is necessary to reduce the entanglement of the fibrils and improve their dispersion in the matrix by surface modification of fibers without deteriorating their reinforcing capability. The IGC results indicated that styrene maleic anhydride coated and ethylene-acrylic acid coated fibers improved their potential to interact with both acidic and basic resins. From transmission electron microscopy (TEM), it was shown that the nanofibers were partially dispersed in the polymer matrix. The mechanical properties of the nanocomposites were lower than those predicted by theoretical calculations for both nanofiber-reinforced biopolymers.