Bamboo: A Viable Alternative To Steel Reinforcement

Updated: Jun 1, 2021

Bamboo is a hardy, fast-growing plant that is specifically well placed to those worldwide climate zones that are host to a large proportion of developing economies. It is a versatile, robust, renewable, and eco-friendly material. It is a grass family member, Gramineae, and the fastest growing plant on planet earth.

Most bamboo species grow up mature fiber in almost three years than any other hardwood plant species. Some species of bamboo family can grow up to one meter in a day, with many reaching a culm length of 25 meters or more.

Bamboo can be grown faster and in a simple way and harvested within three to five years without pesticides and fertilizers. That is why bamboo is a promising material for the future. It is expected that soon the world will witness more bamboo participation in the architect and creation of simple yet aesthetically magnificent buildings, encouraging healing of the environment to some extent.

Due to its many net worth features, researchers have discovered the use of bamboo as a structural material and a viable alternative to steel reinforcement.

bamboo forest

Steel is commonly used as a reinforcing material in concrete. The steel manufacturing process is an extremely expensive but wealthy business and its utilization in concrete as reinforcing material higher the price of construction by many folds. Also, the production of steel emits lots of greenhouse gases, causing considerable deterioration of the environment. It is here that engineered bamboo can be of great value to civil engineers owing to its several net-worthy features. Production of every tone of bamboo consumes about a tone of atmospheric carbon dioxide and releasing fresh oxygen.

In most developing countries, they have the highest demand for steel-reinforced concrete but often do not have the means to produce steel to meet the demand. Instead of placing themselves at the unpromising market invaded by developed countries, Singapore's Future Cities Laboratory suggests an alternative to steel reinforcement: bamboo. Many sustainable and unique resilient can be a perfect replacement where steel cannot be quickly produced.

When testing tensile strength, bamboo functions better than other different materials, reinforcement steel included. Its hollow, tabular structure achieved this strength and evolved over millennia to resist wind forces in its natural habitat. The bamboo structure is light in weight also harvesting and transportation easier.

Due to its incredibly rapid growth lifecycle and the variety of areas in which it can grow, bamboo price is also affordable, and much cheaper than steel. Such a quick growth plant requires the grass to absorb large quantities of carbon dioxide. The reduction of the rate of climate change will be highly reduced through its cultivation as a building material. These factors alone are a motivation for investment in developing bamboo as reinforcement.

Indeed, despite these benefits, there is still a lot to be done to overcome bamboo's limitations. Bamboo's natural form has a lot of issues when used as reinforcement in concrete. Bamboo can easily swell and rot if it is not treated well.

Advantages of bamboo structural concrete may include its shrinkage and long-term durability, leading to the segregation from the concrete matrix. Bamboo is also open to structural weakness due to fungus and natural biodegrading. It is very ironic how many countries that benefit from bamboo reinforcement lack resources to develop it as a viable option to the steel that they currently depend on.

Zurich Institute believes that bamboo is also highly viable as a sustainable, economical substitute for steel-reinforced concrete structures. It has the potential to provide an alternative to the monopoly of reinforced monopoly. Bamboo has the same sustainability advantages as timber when used as a building material.

As a form of plant matter, it is an entirely renewable resource that can be rapidly replenished using natural processes. Bamboo harvesting does not interfere with the plant that is produced since its root system is left unaffected in the soil, this is totally different when it comes to timber.

A new method has been developed for incorporating bamboo into reinforced concrete, making it a more compelling replacement material for steel when it comes to shoring up structural strength. The plant's natural fibers are extracted before combining them with an organic resin.

This complex material, termed Bamboo TECH, is highly versatile and lends itself to tooling and manipulation like timber immediately it is pressed into shape. When designed using thin rods, the composite material can function as the reinforcing structural matrix for concrete in the same way as steel.

The given results show the reasonable anticipation and possibilities of using bamboo reinforcement as a replacement of steel reinforcement in concrete structures may be feasible in low-cost green construction.

Other forms like the strength of the bamboo reinforced concrete are also increasing with age. In green buildings, bamboo use as steel replacement where the availability of material is low and the cost is high can be the better solution. It is also suggested that bamboo's involvement in green construction can lower steel use and become one of the best solutions with limited resources in the remote area for needy people.

Even if there is a long tradition of building with bamboo, the material is not utilized mostly in modern building constructions. In the previous years, architects have been using bamboo differently in their designs. From the interior finishes to bamboo constructions, bamboo application in format is still developing, and there are more new applications that we might expect. Materials used in the green design are always assessed for their environmental impact.

Bamboo can be an alternative to steel for concrete, steel, or wood, and all this dwells on the situation and the application, although more built examples and dissemination are required. Bamboo has been proven to be versatile because of its high strength-to-weight ratio, easy workability, and its availability.

In the past research, focusing on its tendency to absorb water, the bonding between the bamboo and concrete is considered the most significant problem due to the absorption of water and the bamboo culm's smooth wall. This aspect can be a source of future research, and there is a need for the development of a simple design code for the application of bamboo as a construction material.