Civil Engineering

Bamboo as a building material

Bamboo is one of the oldest traditional building materials used by mankind. They are the largest members of the grass family and are the fastest-growing in the world.

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In fact, within a 24 hour period, bamboo can grow four feet. Bamboos are of notable economic and cultural significance in Asia, being used for building materials. Bamboo has the highest compressive strength than wood, brick, or concrete and tensile strength that rivals steel.

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Bamboo is a substitute building material, which is renewable, environment-friendly, and widely available. As the wood resources are diminishing and restrictions are imposed on felling the natural forests bamboo took more importance. Due to its rapid growth, its adaptability to most climatic conditions and due to its properties bamboo comes as a very suitable alternative.

Timber demand is increasing worldwide at a rapid rate but the timber supply is less. Due to its properties, bamboo can suitably replace timber and other materials in construction. Industrially treated bamboo has shown great potential for the production of composite materials and components which are cost-effective. Bamboo has several unique advantages like the ability to grow fast and also it matures quickly. Additionally, it can grow abundantly and that too at a lower cost which makes it cheap.

Bamboo is also good in biomass production. It is often introduced into the banks or streams for soil erosion control. One bamboo plant’s closely matted roots can bind up to six cubic meters of soil.

Demands of bamboo as a building material:

Housing is a basic need for the human being and is now becoming a burden for low-income group. Thus, we need cost-effective housing and bamboo is the best building material, result for that as:

  • It is the fastest growing renewable building material
  • It is easily available and eco-friendly.
  • Bamboo is the best alternative for steel, concrete, and masonry.
  • It is cost-effective and easy to work.

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  • It can be easily bent and given the desired shape.
  • Its huge elasticity makes it useful in areas of high risks of earthquakes.

Applications of bamboo in the construction industry:

Bamboo is a versatile material because of its high strength-to-weight ratio. It has easy workability and availability. Bamboo needs to be chemically treated due to their low natural durability. It can be used in different ways as follows.

  1. Bamboo trusses: The bamboo has strength comparable to that of teak and sal. A frame is made using bamboo rafters, and purlins for fixing the roof.
  2. Bamboo roofs skeleton: It consists of bamboo truss over which bamboo purlins are laid and lashed to rafters by means of G.I wire. A mesh of halved bamboo is made and tied to cover the roof.
  3. Bamboo walling/ceiling: As the bamboo is light in weight it is beneficial for earthquake-prone areas. Its chances of falling are very less due to its flexibility. If it falls it is easy to re-erect with less human and property loss with least efforts. Bamboo mats or strips are used to form the wall or roof by lashing.
  4. Bamboo doors and windows: Bamboo frames can replace timber frames appropriate to function. Bamboo mat fixed to the bamboo frame can be hinged to a wall to act as a door. Small framed openings hinged to the top in the wall can be windows.
  5. Bamboo flooring: Bamboo can be used as flooring material with bamboo splits. Bamboo mats or boards can also be used.
  6. Scaffolding: Bamboo poles are lashed together and are used as scaffoldings for high rise constructions. It has high strength and resilience to hold weight on it.
  7. Foundations: For use as a foundation, the bamboo poles are directly driven into the ground. They have to, however, be pre-treated for protection from rot and fungi.

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Bamboo is used for a high range of day-to-day purposes as woody material and as food. It has been the backbone of the world’s rural life and remains so as the population increases. Bamboo will continue to play an important part in the development of rural areas.

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Bamboo as a building material
Skyfi Labs Last Updated: 2022-05-18

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