Simple Methods for Making Stronger Structures from Bamboo-reinforced Concrete

David Mohr

project report

Bamboo is a renewable resource with special properties that make it very stable. Considering the threat of climate change, I would like to extend my project from last year entitled "How strong is bamboo-reinforced concrete?" in order to find answers to remaining open questions. I am aiming to achieve substantial increases of the modulus of elasticity and bending stiffness of bamboo by simple and low-cost means. Furthermore, I am trying to optimize the bond stress between bamboo and concrete. Such improvements would result in further increases of the good load-bearing capacity of bamboo-reinforced concrete. In order to minimize the required time and quantity of materials, I looked for a solution that avoids the fabrication of bamboo-reinforced concrete beams for every set of experiments. Therefore, I constructed a bamboo-testing device for determining the modulus of elasticity and bending stiffness of individual bamboo sticks easily and fairly accurately, before fabrication of bamboo-reinforced concrete beams. Apart from improving bamboo sticks, I also want to optimize the flexural strength of concrete with additives. Once these experiments are completed, I will fabricate concrete beams with selected reinforcements and test their strength using a homemade testing device based on an arbor press and a wheel load scale. Based on my literature search and my own experiments so far, I conclude that bamboo is an environmentally friendly, low-cost material that is suitable for fabrication of bamboo-reinforced concrete for at least some applications, however, its properties still require further intensive study. As bamboo is a natural product, its properties can fluctuate more than those of artificial construction materials. Steel can certainly not be replaced completely in all buildings, however, the use of bamboo can contribute to the sustainable use of resources and affordable buildings, especially in developing countries and if monocultures are avoided.

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