With the good natural building materials being harder and harder to come by today people are always looking for new innovative ways to go green and deliver for their projects. One way this is starting to take place is through the development of bamboo as a potential building material. This is more than just being used as back drops for tiki bars and outdoor partitions. Bamboo has an amazing tensile strength to weight ration, some compression strength, and grows like a grass because it is one. That’s right, in the amount of time it takes 30 linear feet of building material for traditional soft wood such as Douglas fir or southern white pine, it will take a usable piece of bamboo about a third of the time and will take much less energy to mill into a usable piece of building material. Some species of bamboo are even capable of growing at a rate of 35 inches in a 24 hour period that is approximately 2 inches an hour. With this great material you will have no problem finding ways to spice up your home.
This being said there are things that Bamboo simply cannot do, for instance it is very hard to use it as a structural piece of framing material in a closed wall setting because the joining of 2 members much be completely done in a kind of joinery mortise tenon type manner. nails and screws would not work given the fact that bamboo is for the large part a hollow material. So unlocking how to use this more efficiently is important because pound for pound bamboo has a higher compression strength than wood, brick, and even concrete, with a tensile strength that rivals iron and even steel.
Some are calling this as a super material however we must bare in mind some of the inherent draw backs of the material. Mainly bamboo has a limited durability when it is exposed to UV rays and humanity which is a kind of inevitability anywhere it would likely be abundant. This will take place with wood too, but it is much more pronounced when it comes to bamboo.
Some areas of the world already and have always make bamboo a part of their lives. Colombia for one is putting a lot of focus into researching the plant. David Trujilio says,”Colombia is a love, full-scale laboratory of the many possibilities, implications and considerations inherent when using bamboo. they trip was a unique opportunity to observe large-scale bamboo structures.” He goes on to not that “we have investigated different processing techniques of using a flat for of bamboo traditionally used as sheet material of gradual wall frame systems. To over come issues regarding the variability in thickness, and density of bamboo, thoroughfares suitable for lamination. Standardized cross laminated bamboo panels are produced by gluing the faces with a high performance epoxy resin.”
The point being that when we can unlock the potential of synthetic uses for bamboo to go from primarily used for flooring which doesn’t act as a structural member into unlocking the tensile strength we will unlock a whole new potential for our building practices.