How Strong is Bamboo-reinforced Concrete?

David Mohr

project report

Theft of steel and other metals from construction sites and buildings show how valuable these non-renewable building materials have become. By accident, I found an answer to my question whether there could be an alternative: bamboo. My idea is to combine bamboo with another material, such as concrete, to make strong components and buildings. Bamboo is a renewable resource and it has several properties that provide high stability. I made steel-reinforced concrete beams as well as bamboo-reinforced concrete beams and tested their strength using a self-constructed testing device that includes an arbor press and a wheel load scale.

My literature search and my own initial tests indicate that bamboo is a low cost and environmentally friendly material for production of bamboo-reinforced concrete that could replace steel-reinforced concrete in at least some applications. Given that bamboo is a natural product, its properties can be more variable than those of artificial building materials and therefore bamboo-reinforced concrete will require more detailed analysis. Bamboo cannot replace steel completely in construction, however, its use for specific applications could certainly contribute to sustainable use of resources (particularly if monocultures are avoided) and more affordable buildings (especially in developing countries).

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