Monday, December 9, 2013

Bamboo reinforcement for concrete

In the future bamboo may be replacing steel bar for reinforcement of concrete slabs/columns.  Bamboo has many advantages over steel as not only it does not corrode, it is lighter and highly sustainable material.  Bamboo continues to grow after it is cut.  Steel requires a huge amount of energy to produce, while bamboo leaves little carbon footprint and thus environmentally friendly.

It is not a new idea as in 1960s, US had experimental with bamboo as reinforcement due to it good tensile strength. However they failed as they used split bamboo which absorbed moisture and resulted in concrete cracking due to its swelling. When there was water lost, de-bonding happened between the bamboo and concrete.  That caused the structure to collapse.

The new approach is to extract the fibres from the bamboo and treat them so that they are water-proof. The project is being undertaken in a laboratory in Singapore. So if they are successful in commercializing bamboo reinforcement bars, our construction industry will likely be the first to benefit from the new technology.

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