Bamboo is the Best Alternative to Steel Reinforcement - Engineering Society

Developing countries have the highest demand for steel-reinforced concrete, but often do not have the means to produce the steel ...

Bamboo is the Best Alternative to Steel Reinforcement


Developing countries have the highest demand for steel-reinforced concrete, but often do not have the means to produce the steel to meet that demand.  Rather than put themselves at the mercy of a global MARKET dominated by developed countries, Singapore’s Future Cities Laboratory suggests an alternative to this manufactured rarity: bamboo.  Abundant, sustainable, and extremely resilient, bamboo has potential in the future to become an ideal replacement in places where steel cannot easily be produced.
In trials of tensile strength, bamboo outperforms most other materials, reinforcement steel included.  It achieves this strength through its hollow, tubular structure, evolved over millennia to resist wind forces in its natural habitat.  This lightweight structure also makes it easy to harvest and transport.  Due to its incredibly rapid growth cycle and the variety of areas in which it is able to grow, bamboo is also extremely cheap.  Such rapid growth plant growth requires the grass to absorb large quantities of CO2, meaning that its cultivation as a building material would help reduce the rate of climate change. These factors alone are incentive for INVESTMENT in developing bamboo as reinforcement.
Indeed, despite these benefits, there is still work to do in overcoming bamboo’s limitations. Contraction and expansion is one such limitation, caused by both temperature changes and water absorption.  The grass is also susceptible to structural weakness caused by fungus and simple biodegradation.  Ironically, many of the countries that would benefit from bamboo reinforcement also lack the resources to develop it as a viable alternative to the steel on which they currently rely.
The Future Cities Laboratory is currently conducting research to determine the full gamut of applications that bamboo has as a construction material.  Their experimentation in this field has earned them a Zumtobel Group Award
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47 comments:

  1. Curious to know more about the bamboo as the substitute of steel.

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  2. This is great!! Yes, I know this, bamboo is a good alternative to iron rods because my old house (I am based in India in village area) which is built in 1960, has been made with bamboo stick. The house is made with soil.

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  3. I have worked on Bamboo reinforcement applications in my Undergrad Thesis under Prof. Dr. Abu Zakir Morshed, Dept. Of Civil Engineering, KUET. There are vast scopes in this emerging field. Key notes of my work:
    1)Physical and Mechanical Properties of Bamboo Sticks.
    2)Weathering
    3)Protective Coating (Waterproof)
    4)Bond Stress
    5)Flexure Behaviour

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    Replies
    1. Dear sir.
      Can you send a link to your thesis please?

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    2. shoaib090029@gmail.com
      Plz send your comments and recommendations about bamboo reinforcement.

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    3. Practically have you erected any structure? Please send me details by email, my id sgchavan.organic@gmail.com

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    4. please can you send a copy of your thesis ...or a link to it...at faniwashola@gmail.com

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    5. Send me your thesis at talam13786@gmail.com
      Plz sir...

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    6. Asad is your work available to the public?

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    7. Can you please send me your thesis if possible. My email nht.nuce@gmail.com
      Thank you so much!

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    8. how long ago was the thesis done? Also if it is published share a link

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    9. Hello Mr. Joy, can you send me a copy of your thesis please? richarnot6@gmail.com

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    10. Joy..iam interested as bamboo is everywhere in my country..can i read your thesis.

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    11. Have you compared indian solid bamboo too in your thesis?

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    12. SIR PLZ GIVE ME copy of ur thesis i want to read
      basnetsantosh07@gmail.com

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    13. Bisakah anda mengirim link tesis anda email saya sitirochmawati89@gmail.com

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  4. Does anyone has idea of working with bamboo reinforcement for water retaining structures? Thanks

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  5. I’m a big Fan of Bamboo, therefor I have 2 question. During casting of the Concrete does the Bamboo not expand and then shrinks when dry?
    How do you make the Bamboo stick to the Concrete?

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  6. I am Research scholar from IIT KGP, INDIA. Here security rooms are made by bamboo sticks instead of using steel in foundation and also in pillar construction.

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  7. i will like to know more about bamboo stick usage . and if any one has any thesis on it . pls will be glad to have on faniwashola@gmail.com.

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    1. Me too. I like house from material bamboo. I am from 🇻🇳

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  8. Just now I know about bamboo which one usabe same like iron rod.

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  9. I impressed by the quality of information on this website. There are a lot of good resources here. I am sure I will visit this place again soon. Steel Casting

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  10. Can we use bamboo in roof slab ...??

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  11. The strength of bamboo is amazing. I have done model studies on bamboo reinforced fly ash retaining walls. In fact I used the bamboo in the form of geogrids. https://ascelibrary.org/doi/10.1061/%28ASCE%29HZ.2153-5515.0000386

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  12. Whatvis the life span of bamboo when used as a reinforcement on concrete

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  13. Pls can you send a copy of your thesis to Kingdom.noel@yahoo.com

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  14. Can you send a link to your thesis at calavicjoseph@gmail.com

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  15. Please send me reply,about the bamboo construction because I built a new building with using bamboo

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  16. Sir please send me about the bamboo construction can send soft copy to my mail account
    gowthamv36471@gmail.com

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  17. bamboo bed sheets The Legend Linen family of brands utilises textile expertise to showcase a collection of quilt cover sets, bedding basics and accessories.

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  18. I am interested in bamboo reinforcement structures. Can you please send me thesis on bamboo reinforcement to my email rajashekhararelly@gmail.com

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  19. Can someone answer this, I'm from Kenya, as an engineer, is this logic in the first place😙

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  20. In China one may eat bamboo with bamboo chopsticks sitting in a bamboo seat before a bamboo table in a bamboo house. Bamboo

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  21. Can you please send a cooy if thesis at anubhavaghimire41@gmail.com

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  22. The Reality about Building with Bamboo

    Grow Your Own House

    What does it cost to build a bamboo house? This is the million dollar question everybody likes to have a clean cut answer too. But, make no mistake, building with bamboo requires resources! The myth (and book about) "Grow Your Own House" let people believe that building with bamboo is far cheaper than any other building material. In reality however (at present time), this is a utopia.

    First of all, from the roughly 1500 known bamboo species on the planet, only a hand-full of them can be used for construction. In Latin America, the yellow striped bamboo: Bambusa vulgaris 'Vittata' occurs on almost every street corner, and since it is bamboo it must be suited for construction, right? ... WRONG!

    Every bamboo species has it's own structural and mechanical properties. Most are hollow, some are solid, there are bamboos that grow up to 130 feet tall and 9 inches in diameter and there are bamboos that grow only 7 inches tall and 0.07 inches in diameter. So the first criteria for building a quality and long lasting bamboo home is the species. Valuable bamboo species for construction include species of the genus: Guadua, Dendrocalamus and Phyllostachys, of which the species Guadua angustifolia is native to South America and has the best properties for construction all together.

    However, Guadua as a cultivation crop still doesn't have the popularity of Teak, which is one of the most popular "reforestation investments" for foreign investors in Central America. Why? Well, what people don't know they wont cultivate, and as long as there is no abundant supply of high quality Guadua Bamboo, prices for the raw material will continue to raise. Read this article for a comparison between Guadua vs Teak plantations.

    Another myth that circles the Internet; Bamboo is naturally resistant against biological degrading organisms! WRONG again, bamboo contains high levels of starch (sugars) which attract insects such as termites and powder-post beetles. Without the proper treatment, bamboo has a natural durability of less than 2 years. Some species are more resistant in their natural condition such as Phyllostachys, still without the proper harvesting, curing and drying techniques, they won't last very long.

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  23. Still Interested in Building with Bamboo by Now?

    Our goal isn't to bash bamboo construction because bamboo is one of the most sustainable building materials on the planet that provides earthquake resistant structures!

    However, I prefer to offer professional and realistic advice (based on our hands on experiences) rather than writing ideological sales pitches (often based on "book" knowledge). In my opinion, low cost housing and bamboo construction aren't synonyms. Because I assume that most bamboo enthusiasts are aiming for sustainable architecture and alternative home construction with the same quality standards as a traditional house! Cheap disaster relief houses for the 3rd world are a different topic all together.

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  24. Considerations Before Building with Bamboo

    First of all, the USA and Europe do not have approved building codes for permanent bamboo structures (yet)! This might change soon, because bamboo has proven its value, however, for now, bureaucratic and political agendas are standing in the way.

    On the other hand, building with bamboo is slowly becoming more popular and main stream in Latin America. But based on our previous experiences, especially in the rural areas of Latin America, nothing goes streamlined or easy!

    So here is a list of considerations before building with bamboo. The cost of a bamboo house or structure will depend on:

    1. The Bamboo Supplier

    Is Guadua cultivated locally or does it have to be imported? What is the availability and distance to a reliable bamboo supplier, prices?

    2. Location and Availability of Craftsmen

    Conditions of the roads and building terrain, availability of water and electricity, availability or lack of local labor, availability or lack of local materials (hardware store). Keep in mind a whole team (workers, architect and engineer will live near the construction site for the duration of the project).

    AGAIN: Who's able to build with bamboo? Where to find bamboo craftsmen and building teams for bamboo construction to get the results your bamboo house deserves!?

    3. Budget and Standards

    What is the overall budget? What are the finishes and standards required by the client? This is essential information for the architect in order to start brainstorming about the initial design process and cost. Hard wood floors or ceramic? Natural plaster walls, or concrete blocks? Palm thatch roof or tiles? Standard bathroom or full option jacuzzi with all bells and whistles?

    4. Design Shape and Grade of Difficulty

    The design shape and grade of difficulty of the bamboo house are more significant and important than the total area of the construction itself. Big structures can proportionally turned out to be cheaper than smaller structures. Why is that? The answer is simple, the bamboo house shown on this page (designed by Architect Mariela Garcia) is about 150m2. The architect decided to use 6 bamboo poles for each of the supporting columns for a total of 6 columns. As a result of this, a total of 36 bamboo poles where used. All of the poles have different and very challenging angles, which in order to join together, required hiring a very talented and experienced building team.

    Having all the posts up required a lot of labor, craftsmen, materials and time, resulting in a bigger investment for a structure to cover a small floor area. If she decided to make a simple single-bamboo column it would’ve had just been 6 poles instead of 36 meaning that could’ve also covered a bigger area for a smaller cost… But this is an aesthetical decision the client has to make according to their taste, ambition and budget.

    5. Professional Fees

    Minimum architectural and engineering fees for any construction in Costa Rica are set by the College of Architecture and Engineering. Preliminary drawings are 2% of the estimated value of the house. Constructive plans and specifications are 4% of the estimated value of the house.

    6. Prefab Bamboo Homes vs Custom Bamboo Homes

    Prefab bamboo homes are not cheap. Keep in mind all these houses need to be assembled, disassembled, shipped and reassembled again. Import duties in Costa Rica for example are near 30% (based on the value of the product + shipping cost).

    Even with a prefabricated bamboo house you will still require the signature of an architect, building permits, preparation of the terrain, all electricity and sanitary installations, assembly of the house etc.

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  25. Instead of pursuing HIGH or MODERN TECHNOLOGY like Singapore/Japan, why do we keep on advocating backward or primitive way, low technology, impractical, mediocre or stupid projects which are given recognization, fundings and somehow tries to condition minds of our people?

    1. Bamboo is NOT MENTIONED and will NEVER BE ACCEPTED in Building Codes, Standards, Laws, Restriction & Regulations in the Philippines/world.

    Sustainable structures: Bamboo standards & building codes

    Abstract
    The investigation of natural products for use in construction continues to grow to fulfil the need for sustainable and locally available materials. Bamboo, being globally available and rapidly renewable, is an example of such a material. Structural and engineered bamboo products are comparatively low-energy-intensive materials with structural properties sufficient for the demands of modern construction. However, the lack of appropriate building codes and standards is a barrier to engineers and architects in using the material. This paper describes the existing national and international codes and looks towards the future development of comprehensive standards directly analogous to those in use for timber.

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/284345386_Sustainable_structures_Bamboo_standards_and_building_codes

    2. COMMON SENSE - light material, hollow core, organic(nabubulok) and won't last 50 yrs

    3. Philippines lacks LABOR SKILLS compare to Vietnam or China

    4. Bamboo is also a fire hazard unless treated. It is susceptible to rot unless treated. And the reason it is earthquake resistant is because of the equation force=mass x acceleration, and there sure is a lot more mass in steel and concrete, thus more force in an earthquake.

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  26. I am interested in building with bamboo. Would like to read your thesis. Please send me a link to it at :
    martinmikush@gmail.com
    Thank you !

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  27. I am pretty impressed by the writing ability. So I am very grateful to the post and you. Top Architecture Firms in India

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