Engineered bamboo: the green evolution

Bamboo is an appealing green building option but there are limitations to the product. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers are looking for ways to engineer the grass to create a more structurally sound material similar to plywood.

In collaboration with architects and wood processors from England and Canada, the research team has been investigating the idea of slicing the stalk, or culm, into smaller pieces and then bonding them like wood composites to form sturdy blocks.

In-depth analysis of the microstructure of bamboo has uncovered its potential for use in composite materials with stronger and denser properties than softwoods such as pine, fir and spruce. Bamboo also grows significantly faster - reaching heights of 20 metres in a matter of months.

Using this data, a model has been developed which predicts the strength of any given section of bamboo and bamboo type which may help wood processors determine how to assemble a particular bamboo product.


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