The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 94 (2016) > Issue 8 > Structural use of bamboo. Part 1: Introduction to bamboo
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Structural use of bamboo. Part 1: Introduction to bamboo

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.

Author(s): S. Kaminski (Arup Advanced Technology & Research), A. Lawrence (Arup Advanced Technology & Research) and D. Trujillo (Coventry University)