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Bamboo is a strong, fast growing and very sustainable material, having been used structurally for thousands of years in many parts of the world. In modern times, it has the potential to be an aesthetically pleasing and low-cost alternative to more conventional materials, such as timber, as demonstrated by some visually impressive recent structures. This five-part technical series will bring together current knowledge and best practice on the structural use of bamboo, covering: • an introduction to bamboo (part 1) • durability and preservation (part 2) • design values (part 3) • element design equations (part 4) • connections (part 5) The series is aimed at both developed- and developing-world contexts. This first article provides an introduction to bamboo and the physical characteristics that are relevant to structural design. Basic properties, along with a selection of suitable structural species, are presented, and fire resistance and specification of bamboo are discussed, along with other considerations as to whether bamboo is suitable for a particular project.
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Technical Note Series: Structural Use of Bamboo
Technical Note 1: Introduction to Bamboo
Sebastian Kaminski, MEng (Hons) ACGI CEng MIStructE, Senior Structural Engineer at
Arup Advanced Technology & Research, London, UK; Member of INBAR Task Force –
Bamboo Construction
Andrew Lawrence, MA (Cantab) CEng MICE MIStructE, Associate Director at Arup
Advanced Technology & Research London; Member of INBAR Task Force – Bamboo
David Trujillo, MSc DIC CEng MIStructE, Senior Lecturer at Coventry University; Member
of INBAR Task Force – Bamboo Construction
Bamboo is a strong, fast growing and very sustainable material, having been used structurally
for thousands of years in many parts of the world. In modern times it has the potential to be
an aesthetically-pleasing and low-cost alternative to more conventional materials such as
timber, as demonstrated by some visually impressive recent structures.
This Technical Note Series brings together current knowledge and best practice on the
structural use of bamboo, covering:
1. Introduction to bamboo
2. Durability and preservation
3. Design values
4. Element design equations
5. Connections
The series is aimed at both developed and developing world contexts. This first Technical
Note 1 provides an introduction to bamboo and the physical characteristics that are relevant
to structural design. Basic properties along with a selection of suitable structural species are
presented, and fire resistance and specification of bamboo are discussed, along with other
considerations as to whether bamboo is suitable for a particular project.
Bamboo is widely used across the world for everything from food and medicine to furniture
and scaffolding. It tends to grow in a “belt” running through tropical, subtropical and
temperate climates around the globe, and up to 3500m altitude. There are more than 1000
species of bamboo in total, broken into two “groups”: herbaceous and woody. The former
tend to be very small-diameter and resemble grasses, while the latter are the more familiar
large diameter ones that can be used for construction and will be the focus of this Technical
Note Series. Woody bamboos can be broadly divided into two groups: clumping and
Clumping species sprout their new shoots close to the base of the existing culm,
while running species may send their shoots as far out as 30m from an existing culm. Woody
bamboo diameters vary from 10mm to 200mm, wall thicknesses from <10% of the external
diameter to completely solid, and culm heights can exceed 30m
Bamboo is a form of grass and can grow up to 25m in six months
. Each culm emerges from
the ground at its final diameter (i.e. its girth does not expand during its life), tapering as it
increases in height, and growing vertically through cell-division “telescopically” between the
nodes (i.e., the distance between nodes increases as it grows). Once fully grown, culms
typically take three to five years to mature to full strength, during which they experience
silification and lignification. After a period of five to six years, the culm’s strength begins to
Worldwide there are around 100 so-called “woody” species suitable for construction. Clumps
(a group of culms growing together) of the larger woody species normally reach peak
production after about seven years and can maintain regular cropping of around 20-25%
throughout their productive lifecycle. Figure 1 shows a bamboo plantation in Ecuador.
Figure 1: Dendrocalamus asper plantation in Ecuador
The stem, or culm, is segmented by nodes, the bands at regular intervals. The node manifests
as a diaphragm to the interior of the culm which helps to prevent buckling of the walls. The
space between nodes is known as the internode (Figure 2); the internodal spacing varies along
the culm and between species. Within the internodes, cellulose fibres and vascular bundles
run parallel to the length of the culm
, while at the nodes they intersect, with some of them
crossing into the nodal diaphragm
. For natural efficiency, these fibres are roughly six times
more numerous on the outside of the culm compared to the inside (Figure 3) making it both
denser and stronger towards the outside
. As in timber, a weak matrix called parenchyma
(which is primarily made of lignin) holds these strong fibres transversely together
, and it is
this material which normally governs the strength of a bamboo culm, especially in tension
perpendicular to the fibres and in shear. Providing a protective shell around the cellulose is a
tough silica layer about 0.25mm thick, which is relatively impermeable
. The dry density of
bamboo is typically about 500-800kg/m
, although this can vary both along the length of the
culm and as noted through the thickness of the wall.
Figure 2: Structure of a bamboo culm
Figure 3: Section through the culm wall showing variation in fibre density
Amongst non-engineers, it is a common misconception that bamboo is “as strong as steel”
(see Technical Note 3). In fact, some of the stronger bamboo species possess strength
properties similar to high grade (e.g. D40) hardwood, except in tension perpendicular to fibre
where it is weaker. Bamboo generally has very good parallel-to-fibre structural properties,
with allowable stresses in bending, tension and compression all around 15N/mm
for one of
the main species of bamboo used structurally called Guadua angustifolia Kunth
, and a wider
range of between 10-20 for most species of bamboo
. Allowable shear stresses are relatively
low at around 1.2N/mm
, which is further accentuated by bamboo’s tendency to split
due to
the weak parenchyma matrix and the typically thin section walls – suggested characteristic
tensile strengths perpendicular to the fibre are as low as 0.46N/mm
. Because of these
properties and the hollow nature of bamboo, joints are normally the most difficult aspect to
design and also likely to be the weakest elements in the structure.
Beams should generally be limited to lightly loaded roofs and floors, heavily loaded beams
should be avoided, as the hollow cross-section risks crushing or shear failure at the supports.
It is therefore most efficient to use bamboo structural members mainly in axial tension or
compression, however, for tension members connections will be the weakest link. Figures 4-8
show a few examples of buildings where bamboo is the primary structural material.
Starch content varies between different bamboos, making some more susceptible than others
to insect attack
; however, bamboo still has less natural durability than most woods, owing to
a shortage of some naturally occurring chemicals present in wood that enhance durability
In addition, the hollow nature of bamboo means that any insect or fungal damage that does
occur is likely to reduce the total section by a larger proportion than when compared to a
solid section of timber. Therefore, permanent structures in countries at risk of termites and/or
beetles should always be chemically treated.
Suitable Structural Species
The bamboo species that have traditionally been used for construction tend to have the
following characteristics:
grow locally in abundance
stronger than other local species
large diameter (50mm–200mm)
grow relatively straight.
mature quickly (three to five years)
slightly more resistant to insects and fungi (lower starch content).
less susceptible to splitting
Table 1 presents a list of some commonly used structural species around the world.
Table 1. List of commonly used structural bamboo species around the world
Scientific name (local name) Areas found Diameter
Guadua angustifolia Kunth South America 120–160 Hollow
Dendrocalamus strictus (Calcutta) Asia 25–80 Hollow
Bambusa vulgaris Africa, Asia, South
80–150 Hollow
Phyllostachys edulis (Moso) Asia 120–180 Hollow
Dendrocalamus asper (Petung) Asia, South America 80–200 Hollow
Bambusa blumeana (Spiny/Thorny Bamboo) Asia, Asia-Pacific 60-150 Hollow
Gigantochloa apus Asia 40–100 Hollow
Basic Properties
Basic properties of bamboos used structurally are as follows
dry density: 500kg/m
culm heights: 6m–25m
nodal spacing 250mm–500mm
diameters 50mm–200mm
elastic modulus E ~7000N/mm
–17 000N/mm
wall thickness = 10% external diameter.
Some typical design capacities of various bamboo diameters are provided in Table 2, based
on the strengths and design equations proposed in the forthcoming papers. Its variability and
the lack of proper grading methods mean that testing of members and connections will
always be needed for all but the most modest structures.
Table 2. Typical indicative design capacities of different bamboo culm diameters in different
failure modes based on a limit state approach using Technical Note 3 and 4, for Service Class
2 and Permanent loading.
, 5mm wall
, 10mm wall
, 15mm wall
Flexure (kNm) 0.1 0.7 2.4
Shear (kN) 0.3 1.0 2.4
Axial (kN) 10 45 100
Fire considerations
Bamboo behaves in a similar way to timber in fire in that it chars at a slow and predictable
rate and is also a poor conductor of heat, so that the bamboo behind the charred layer remains
virtually undamaged. Though limited fire tests have been conducted
, it is possible to
assume charring rates similar to those for timber (e.g. 0.6mm/minute), and because the culm
walls are so thin it is possible to conclude that after burning for only a few minutes the thin
walls will start to lose strength rapidly. . This implies that a visually exposed bamboo
structure would only be suitable for situations where there is no fire resistance requirement
such as roofs and possibly the walls of single-storey buildings. It has occasionally been used
for two-storey dwellings
but only in locations where fire regulations are not rigorously
applied or where the bamboo is adequately protected by e.g. cement render.
Behaviour in earthquakes
It is a common misconception that bamboo as a material is somehow ‘miraculously’ good in
earthquakes. In fact as an individual element it possess several brittle failure modes which
could affect its seismic performance. Bamboo buildings have historically performed well in
earthquakes primarily because of their lightweight nature (high strength-to-weight ratio), and
secondarily because of their ability to absorb energy at connections, especially if using nails.
This has been seen after earthquakes in vernacular buildings such as bahareque
, which
normally uses nailed connections. The flexible nature of some traditional bamboo
constructions may also be favourable in earthquakes, but this is not a characteristic that can
be easily exploited in modern constructions which tend to be heavier, have smaller movement
tolerances and require a greater certainty of resistance to earthquakes than traditional
Modern bamboo structures generally require higher strength bolted connections with mortar,
which are unfortunately relatively brittle. However, where good practice seismic design
principles are applied in conjunction with more locally ductile connections such as nails,
greater earthquake resistance and overall building ductility can be achieved
Specification of bamboo
When specifying bamboo, it is important to ensure that it comes from a sustainable source
and is harvested, procured and visually graded by a reputable and experienced organisation
(note current visual grading is very limited in detail, mostly comes from experience, and has
not yet been correlated with strength data). The following criteria should be included in a
exact species and origin (eg guadua is the name for many different sub-species, each
with different properties, so, for example, Guadua angustifolia Kunth should be
acceptable age range (note that this is difficult to control for, and requires using
reputable and trustworthy suppliers)
culm length, minimum external diameter and minimum wall thickness
straightness (1% out-of-straightness limit recommended)
splitting (no splitting is acceptable) (this should be checked after the material has been
no insect and fungal damage
treatment, fumigation and seasoning.
moisture content (recommend it is delivered dry).
Culms which are split should not be used as they are significantly weaker (in shear, bending,
axial and at the connections).
Considerations for whether bamboo is suitable for a project
Bamboo used in the round is a strong, lightweight, fast-growing material which also has a
very low embodied energy
. The following questions will help decide if bamboo, used in the
round, is a suitable material for a particular project:
Does bamboo satisfy the architectural aesthetic?
Is there any risk of exposure to rain or other sources of water?
Is a suitable size and species of bamboo available locally?
How demanding are the loads on the members and connections?
The next paper in this Technical Note Series will cover durability and preservation methods
of bamboo, which is an essential consideration when designing with this material.
Figure 4: Prototype of ZERI bamboo pavilion used in the EXPO 2000 in Hannover,
Colombia, by Simon Velez. Bamboo is Guadua
Figure 5 and 6: Jenny Garzon Bridge, Colombia, by Simon Velez. Bamboo is guadua
Figures 7 and 8: Low-cost bamboo housing in Costa Rica, part of the National Bamboo
1. American Bamboo Society (n.d.) Introduction to Bamboo. [ONLINE]. Available at: (Accessed January 2015)
2. Trujillo, D. (2007) ‘Bamboo structures in Colombia’. The Structural Engineer, March
2007, pp.25-30
3. Janssen, J. (2000) INBAR Technical Report 20: Designing and Building with Bamboo.
Beijing: INBAR
4. Liese, W. (1998) INBAR Technical Report 18: The Anatomy of Bamboo Culms. Beijing,
5 Kaminski, S. (2012) Personal photograph collection.
6. Bureau of Indian Standards (2005) National Building Code of India 2005. New Delhi, BIS
7. Mitch, D., Harries, K., Sharma, B. (2010) Characterization of splitting behavior of bamboo
culms. American Society of Civil Engineers, Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering.
November 2010, 22(11), pp. 1195-1199
8. Takeuchi, C., Lamus, F., Malaver, D., Herrera, J., River, J. (2009) Study of the Behaviour
of Guadua Angustifolia Kunth Frames. Proceedings of the VIII Bamboo World Conference,
Vol 8-42
9. Jayanetti, L., Follet, P. (1998) INBAR Technical Report 16: Bamboo in Construction – An
Introduction. Beijing, INBAR
10. Jayanetti, L., Follett, P. (2000) Timber Pole Construction (Introduction). UK, ITDG
11. Clayton, W., Vorontsova, M., Harman, K., Williamson, H. (2015) GrassBase – The
Online World Gras Flora. [ONLINE] Available at:
(Accessed January 2015)
12. Asociación Colombiana de Ingeniería Sísmica (2010) NSR-10: Reglamento Colombiano
de construcción sismo resistente. Titulo G: Estructuras de madera y estructuras de guadua.
13. Correal, D., Francisco, J., Arbeláez, C. (2010) Influence of age and height position on
Colombian Guadua Angustifolia bamboo mechanical properties. Maderas: Ciencia y
tecnologia, 12(2), pp. 105-113
14. Mena, J., Vera, S., Correal, J., Lopez, M. (2012) Assessment of fire reaction and fire
resistance of Guadua angustifolia kunth bamboo. Construction and Building Materials, 27(1),
pp. 60–65
15. Kaminski, S. (2013) Engineered Bamboo Houses for Low-Income Communities in Latin
America. The Structural Engineer, October 2013, pp.14-23
16. Kaminski, S., Lawrence, A., Coates, K., Foulkes, L. (2015) A low-cost vernacular
improved housing design. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers – Civil
Engineering: 169(5): 25–31
17. van der Lugt, P., van del Dobbelsteen, A., Abrahams, R. (2003) Bamboo as a building
material alternative for Western Europe? A study of the environmental performance, costs
and bottlenecks of the use of bamboo (products) in Western Europe. Journal of Bamboo and
Rattan, 2(3), pp. 205–223
... In collaboration with the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE), Kaminski et al. [4][5][6][7] published a five-part technical series on bamboo as a structural material. The series aimed to provide guidelines for the safe design of bamboo structures by collating current knowledge and best practice, based on existing published bamboo and timber design codes. ...
... Thus, in the species with hollow internodes, the only transverse connection in the culm is at the nodes or diaphragms. 3,4 The outermost skin or layer of the bamboo culm wall is covered with a waxy layer of silica, which protects the culm from water ingress. 4 ...
... Thus, it is recommended that bamboo members be designed to carry mainly axial loads, with shear loads applied at the nodes. 4 As described earlier, B. balcooa has typical geometrical characteristics such as a culm height (internodal spacing) of 200-400 mm, culm diameter of 80-150 mm, and wall thickness of 25-50 mm. However, the actual dimensions are specific to each plant and batch of material, and would need to be determined prior to design and construction. ...
We describe literature-based research on the viability of whole-culm bamboo as a construction technology for South Africa. South Africa has one bamboo species considered suitable for construction, namely Bambusa balcooa, found in various parts of the country. Quantitative production figures are not currently available; however, local reports indicate that South Africa can expand its bamboo growth industry to meet any possible expected demand. Although the South African bamboo plant has not yet been evaluated in terms of its material properties, engineering design approaches and material properties from the literature indicate that this species is a viable construction material. The limitations for bamboo design and construction are not unique to South Africa but are common to countries involved in bamboo construction. Their experience in overcoming these limitations can be transferred to the use of bamboo in South Africa, making bamboo construction a potentially viable construction technology in South Africa. Significance: • Whole-culm bamboo can be used as a structural material in buildings and other specialised structures such as bridges, assembly halls, and the like. • South Africa has a bamboo species that should potentially be suitable for the construction of structures that lend themselves to this type of construction. • The information given here should allow designers, engineers and technologists to assess the viability of bamboo construction in South African situations.
... In contrast, woody bamboos look like trees, although genetically speaking they are members of the grass family. They are characterized by larger diameters and woody culms and are important in terms of their use as construction materials (Kaminski et al. 2016a), as well as in the production of various commercial products. ...
... Hence concrete and steel offer better fire resistance and are often preferred to bamboo as building materials when considering exposure to fire. Weighing the options available, bamboo is more likely to be used as a building material in situations where there are low fire resistance requirements, such as roofs and possibly the walls of single-story buildings (Kaminski et al. 2016a). ...
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This report discusses the general uses of bamboo and explores its potential as a modern building material. It also highlights the benefits developing countries could derive from developing bamboo sector through its use in downstream industries. Given the environmental challenges created by timber, steel and concrete, modern construction puts emphasis on using materials that have a low impact on the environment. Bamboo is among a few materials that have potential to replace conventional materials in construction because of its low environmental footprint.
... Bamboo is a strong, fast-growing, and lightweight construction material [11,12]. Bamboo grows naturally in Africa, Asia, America, and Oceania [12], and due to the great versatility, culms of bamboo have been widely used in construction [13]. ...
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The provision of sustainable housing solutions is one of the main challenges in emerging economy countries. Furthermore, it is clear that a sustainable solution should be based on renewable bio-based materials. Scientific and practical evidence clearly suggests that the use of bamboo in the provision of housing solutions provides communities with both environmental and socioeconomic benefits via this strategy. One barrier to the promotion of this type of solution is the lack of knowledge on structural design and environmental performance. Moreover, access to assessment tools and methodologies is limited. The use of simplified Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has exhibited great potential to increase accessibility, but the generation of life cycle inventory data remains a major issue. In this paper, we describe the development of a methodological approach to use parametric design to generate the data required to carry out simplified LCA of social housing solutions. Moreover, we present a case study assessing a housing unit using cement bamboo frame technology developed by the Base Bahay Foundation in the Philippines. The main parameters for the LCA of the buildings were identified through sensitivity analysis. Moreover, they show that parametric design is a valid approach to overcome the challenges of data generation at early stages of design. The proposed approach would enable users without civil and/or engineering background to carry out simplified LCA calculations. Thus, through methodological approaches, it is possible to reduce significantly the complexity associated with LCA and open new avenues for it application.
... Bamboo is one of the most widespread tropical plants in the world [61]. It is a plant with rapid growth, thanks to which it is possible to obtain material in a fairly short time. ...
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The construction industry is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The CO2 emission levels in the atmosphere are already reaching a tipping point and could cause severe climate change. An important element is the introduction of a technology that allows for the capture and sequencing of carbon dioxide levels, reducing both emissions and the carbon footprint from the production of Portland cement and cement-based building materials. The European Union has started work on the European Climate Law, establishing the European Green Deal program, which introduces the achievement of climate neutrality in the European Union countries. This includes a new policy of sustainable construction, the aim of which is to develop products with a closed life cycle through proper waste management. All efforts are being made to create generated waste and thus to support their production and/or use as substitutes for raw materials to produce biocomposites. This article reviews environmental issues and characterizes selected waste materials from the agri-food, mineral, and industrial sectors with specific properties that can be used as valuable secondary raw materials to produce traditional cements and biocomposite materials, while maintaining or improving their mechanical properties and applications.
... Bamboos are perennial giant herbaceous and woody grasses that belong to the Poaceae or Gramineae family (Liese and Köhl 2015). They are native and widely distributed in the tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions of all continents except Antarctica and Europe, with approximately 90 genera and over 1500 species (Kaminski et al. 2016;Yigardu et al. 2016). Bamboos grow faster than any other plant in nature, with some species reaching 40 meters in height in just a few months while some others can grow at a rate faster than one meter per day (Getachew et al. 2021). ...
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Information on early growth performance and survival rate of bamboos are pivotal for the development of the Sarawak bamboo industry. Thus, a study on the early growth performance of ten bamboo taxa was conducted at the Sarawak Bamboo Pilot Project site in Sabal, Simunjan, Sarawak, Malaysia. Six taxa were originated from Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and the other four bamboo taxa were originated locally from Sarawak. Study sites were established at bamboo plantation areas at different age stands. Two replications of data for each taxon involving 50 readings (25 readings for one replication) were measured and quantified for growth parameters of the number of culms per clump, number of new shoots, culm diameter, and culm height. The findings indicated that Gigantochloa hasskarliana (Busi bamboo) had the highest number of culms per clump (43) while Guadua angustifolia (Duri bamboo) had the highest number of new bamboo shoots (2.93). Nonetheless, Dendrocalamus asper (Green) had the highest culm diameter (3.61 cm) while Bambusa balcooa (Bema bamboo) had the highest culm height (8.36 m). The results showed that different bamboo species have different early growth performances, thus further detailed investigation and long-term monitoring period are required to achieve the commercial plantation scale, especially in Sarawak.
... Bamboo has been widely considered as an environmentally friendly bio-composite alternative to traditional fossil based materials to cope with the ever-increasing demand of urbanization whilst maintaining sustainable development strategies (Kaminski et al. 2016;Harries et al. 2017;Pradhan et al. 2020). Bamboo can be used as a building material (Wang et al. 2019;Tian et al. 2019;Mimendi et al. 2022) like other traditional construction materials despite the inherent limitations such as thin and hollow walls and uneven structure of natural bamboo (Lorenzo et al. 2020a, b;Li et al. 2021b). ...
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This paper explores the effect of using fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) wrap on the hysteresis curve, skeleton curve, bearing capacity, stiffness and ductility of short laminated bamboo lumber (LBL) columns under cyclic loading. Aramid fiber reinforced polymer (AFRP) was used in the current study to prevent premature failure of LBL columns through confinement. Test results showed that AFRP confined short LBL columns failed mostly due to overall bending whilst some specimens showed end crushing. The ultimate bearing capacity, stiffness and ductility coefficients of AFRP confined short columns were considerably higher than those for unconfined short columns. The stress–strain curves of the specimens under cyclic loads were lower than those of the specimens under monotonic loads. Finally, this paper put forward the calculation equations of the stress–strain curves and the skeleton curves of the specimens under cyclic loads, and the proposed equation is able to accurately predict the entire cyclic stress–strain response.
... Additionally, it has been proven to have mechanical properties comparable to traditional building materials and its widespread distribution around the world makes it a very promising alternative to such building materials [4,5]. Regardless, disadvantages such as irregular cross sections, discrete mechanical properties, and significant natural initial defects limit the applicability of raw bamboo, which hinders the formation of a complete design theory [6,7]. Therefore, empirical design is adopted in most existing practical applications of bamboo structures, which significantly decelerates the development of bamboo structures [8]. ...
To study the axial compressive behavior of twining-bamboo-confined thin-walled steel tubular (TBCST) columns, eight specimens were subjected to axial compressive tests. The effects of the diameter/thickness ratio of the steel tube, thickness and angle of the twining bamboo, and cross-sectional shape on axial compressive behavior were investigated using the verified finite-element (FE) model. Finally, the ultimate bearing capacities of circular and square composite columns were estimated through prediction equations. The results demonstrate that the failure modes of the TBCST columns are the steel tube partially denting inward and partially bulging outward at a certain distance from the end and the twining bamboo in the corresponding area rupturing. The ultimate load and ductility coefficient increase with an increase in the diameter/thickness ratio of the steel tube. A thickness of 10 mm and twining angle of 75° are the optimal parameters for the twining bamboo. Circular and square composite columns are respectively suitable for the conditions based on the bearing capacity and ductility as the main design basis. The results of the prediction equations are in good agreement with the test and FE results.
... A key challenge is the variability found in the geometric, physical, and mechanical properties of bamboo culms [14][15][16][17][18], from which limited experimental data is available in comparison with the large number of species suitable for construction purposes [19]. As a result, bamboo culm structures are generally built using raw material without appropriate quality control and thorough design and construction procedures based on broad and empirical assumptions which overall prevent the quantification and managing of the structural reliability. ...
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At current rates, the building industry is the major contributor to gas emissions and energy consumption in the world, placing unprecedented pressure to find alternative and sustainable construction materials, particularly in regions where urbanization and population growth are expected to rise. Coincidentally, bamboo culms are a sustainable and abundant resource with the potential to be used as a structural element in those regions, however, their organic nature and inherent incompatibility with modern design and construction procedures have hampered their formal utilization. This article presents the details of an innovative workflow based on the philosophy that the quality and reliability of bamboo structures can be computationally managed through the digitization of individual structural bamboo elements. The workflow relies on reverse-engineering processes that integrate and make bamboo culms compatible with modern data-management platforms such as Building Information Modelling. A case study based on a reconstruction project of bamboo houses in Lombok, Indonesia is presented to illustrate the proposed workflow. This work showed that digitization and management are not just to represent shapes and information regarding bamboo culms through computer software, but can also control the quality, sustainability, and structural behavior of a bamboo structure during its entire service life.
Bambu merupakan salah satu hasil hutan multiguna yaitu sebagai bahan baku mebel, kerajinan, alat musik, dan konstruksi. Besarnya kekuatan tekan dan tarik bambu sudah dimanfaatkan dalam desain konstruksi, namun masih terbatas, seperti untuk kolom atau penguat beton. Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk menentukan sifat mekanis bambu betung (Dendrocalamus asper Backer ex K.Heyne,) umur empat tahun, yaitu kekuatan tekan sejajar serat, tarik sejajar serat, dan tarik tegak lurus serat, serta nilai 5% batas bawah. Ukuran contoh uji dan pengujian sifat mekanis bambu betung mengacu pada ISO 22157-2019. Pengujian tekan sejajar serat dan tarik tegak lurus serat menggunakan UTM SATEC/Baldwin, sedangkan pengujian tarik sejajar serat menggunakan UTM Chun Yen. Analisis data menggunakan aplikasi Easyfit 5,5 untuk mendapatkan nilai 5% batas bawah tiap pengujian. Rata-rata kuat tekan sejajar serat yang diperoleh yaitu sebesar 52,97 N/mm², sedangkan nilai rata-rata kuat tarik sejajar serat sebesar 109,03 N/mm². Rata-rata kuat tarik tegak lurus serat dengan ukuran lubang uji 25 dan 40 mm sebesar 2,53 dan 1,19 N/mm², sedangkan nilai rata-rata MOE tekan dan MOE tarik sejajar serat sebesar 2.674 dan 9.542 N/mm². Nilai 5% batas bawah untuk kuat tekan sejajar serat sebesar 38,10 N/mm², tarik sejajar serat sebesar 61,78 N/mm², sedangkan untuk kuat tarik tegak lurus serat sebesar 0,60 N/mm². Nilai MOE tekan dan MOE tarik sejajar serat yang diperoleh sebesar 1.105 dan 6.076 N/mm².
Designed to promote and demonstrate the utility of bamboo in architecture and engineering, House Loti takes the form of a blossoming lotus. The authors came together to propose a pavilion that takes inspiration from traditional bamboo, and rattan craftsmanship. We sought to deliver a project which is utilitarian, adaptable, and able to be rapidly assembled. The final project was assembled by 4 people under 24 man-hours, installed on-site at INBAR Pavilion at the 2019 Beijing Horticultural Expo.
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Arup, in conjunction with the non-governmental organisation Fundación Redes, has developed a form of vernacular improved construction for use in pre- and post-disaster contexts in El Salvador. The design takes the vernacular bahareque construction and engineers it, making it a more durable and stronger form of housing. The new design is seismically resistant, low-cost and uses sustainable materials such as timber and cane. In addition, the design can be constructed in stages such that only the foundations, frame and roof can be constructed faster and for a lower cost than the full house, forming a strong core shelter that can be clad using salvaged materials; at a later date, it can be made permanent. This paper presents an evaluation of permanent low-cost housing in El Salvador, a description of the development of the new design and an evaluation of the design, describing both its advantages and disadvantages.
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Bamboo has been used for thousands of years for housing in many areas of the world because of its strength, availability, fast growth and low cost. However, durability has demoted its modern position to a poor man’s building material. This paper looks at engineered bamboo houses that have become popular in Latin America, and assesses them for their suitability for low-cost housing. Three highly seismic countries in Latin America – Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador – were visited and modern engineered bamboo low-cost housing projects reviewed. Visual inspections and interviews were conducted to determine the condition of the houses and the attitudes of their occupants. This paper suggests that well engineered bamboo designs have significant potential as a cheap, sustainable, durable, seismically-resistant and appropriate form of low-cost housing. However, good design and detailing is essential, especially with respect to durability, maintenance and seismic resistance.
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The age of bamboo is a key factor that affects its mechanical properties. Bamboo Guadua angustifolia kunt (Guadua a.k.) has been used as a construction material in America, but the influence of the age and height position of the culm on the mechanical properties has not been studied in detail. In this study, selected mechanical properties of Guadua a.k from 2 to 5 year old culms, located at different heights, were investigated using international standard test procedures (ISO 22157). Based on the experimental results, it was found that the top portion (sobrebasa) showed the maximum strength and modulus of elasticity compared to the other portions, since this portion of bamboo has higher density. More over, density of Guadua a.k. culm has more influence in modulus of rupture in bending, than in any of the other studied mechanical properties. Regardless of the culm height, it seems that the mature age of Guadua angustifolia kunt is reached between 3 and 4 years old, because the mechanical properties at those ages were the highest and remained almost constant, whereas the mechanical properties of the culms at the age of 5 were the lowest.
Colombia has a long tradition in the structural use of bamboo and is the unlikely source of some of the world's most magnificent bamboo structures. This paper starts by examining the structural properties of Guadua angustifolia Kunth, the bamboo species that has significantly influenced both past and present Colombian architecture. It then covers some of the developments in the emerging field of bamboo engineering, focusing on the structural research made in recent years including the development of possibly the first bamboo design code.
The main challenge for construction industry today is sustainability. Bamboo has properties that make it sustainable, but its fire behavior remains unknown. This paper presents an exploratory research on fire behavior of Guadua angustifolia kunth (a.k.) bamboo. Fire reaction was assessed through critical heat flux for ignition and flame spread while fire resistance through charring rate and strength variation with temperature. Fire reaction fall within standard limits used for structural woods, while fire resistance results are higher than that of plywood. Based on these preliminary results, Guadua a.k. would be adequate as structural and indoor finishing building material.
Bamboo is viewed as a sustainable and highly renewable material that may be grown in any temperate climate zone. Interest in the engineering properties of bamboo and the use of bamboo in engineered construction is growing. Although often having superior mechanical properties than readily available sawn timber, bamboo, being largely an unidirectional fibrous material, is very susceptible to longitudinal splitting. Despite being the dominant limit state in many applications, very little previous work has addressed the characterization of bamboo splitting failure. The present research focuses on the development of a split pin test method for characterizing the splitting strength of bamboo culms. The proposed split pin test uses a full culm section test, thereby eliminating some of the complexities of partial culm tests. Results of a pilot study of the split pin test having similar specimens with different split pin diameters yielded consistent results and variations less than that of the previously standardized direct shear test. In order to demonstrate the validity of the proposed test method, a series of tests was performed on samples of Tre Gai (Bambusa stenostachya Hackel) bamboo.
For two bamboo products, bamboo in its natural form (the culm) and in an industrial form (as a panel), the environmental impact was determined and compared to alternatives. This comparison was made using a model that uses data from Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), based on the use of these products in the Netherlands. The consequences of the application of bamboo culm in the building process of 5 bamboo building projects in Western Europe were also analysed.
Personal photograph collection
  • S Kaminski
Kaminski, S. (2012) Personal photograph collection.
National Building Code of India
Bureau of Indian Standards (2005) National Building Code of India 2005. New Delhi, BIS