Bamboo Composite Reinforcement

ORGANIZATION NAME: Alternative Construction Material Group at the Future Cities Laboratory Singapore

LOCATION: Singapore

SUMMARY: The objective of this project is to replace the conventional steel reinforcement in structural concrete by newly developed bamboo composite materials. Steel production is pricey, energy consuming and only available in developed countries. Therefore, all developing countries have to rely on steel imports, which make building construction rather costly.

PROBLEM SPACE: Developing countries around the world are in continuous demand for construction materials specifically steel in the form of reinforcement for reinforced concrete structures. Countries like Ethiopia in Africa, Indonesia in Asia and Columbia in Latin America are some of the largest importers of construction steel. Unfortunately, these countries do not have any steel production facilities and the fast pace of development in these regions has led to large trade deficits over the past years. Therefore, the governments in developing countries are looking into alternatives to replace the conventional steel reinforcement. The good news for these countries is the fact that the natural habitat of bamboo is located within these regions. Bamboo is an incredibly rapid growing, affordable and locally available natural resource, with outstanding constructive qualities, which makes bamboo a great alternative to steel. The new technology developed by the research team at Chair of Architecture and Construction at Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore and Zurich transforms bamboo from only a grass into a new product called Bamboo Composite Materials. The new technology maintains the outstanding properties of raw bamboo and protects the long-term durability of reinforcements produced with this technique

SOLUTION: Bamboo is a type of grass, which grows to almost a meter per day. It is an inexpensive and locally available natural resource within equator zone where most of the developing countries are located. The research is exploring the creation of a bamboo composite material, which is corrosion-free, lighter and more affordable than steel and comes from a renewable, organic resource. In this new technology developed by the research team, bamboo culms are processed into fibres; fibres are mixed with a green epoxy system, pressed with a hot press machine and turned into familiar shapes and forms in which steel and timber are produced. Preliminary testing and evaluations have been carried out in our research lab in Singapore and the results were promising in terms of both mechanical and physical properties required for construction industry. In the next phase of the research, bamboo composite reinforcements will be put in structural grade concrete to measure the load bearing capacity in a beam structure and from there large-scale tests will be designed. The necessary physical durability tests such as water absorption, fire test and creep behavior will be performed to enhance the interphase between bamboo composite reinforcement and concrete in large-scale applications

CONTACT: [email protected]