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 cost competitive alternative to more conventional materials, such as timber, as demonstrated by some visually impressive recent structures.
This five-part technical series, aimed at both developed- and developing-world contexts, will bring together current knowledge and best practice on the structural use of bamboo.
This fourth article in the series proposes element design equations for typical loading conditions on a bamboo culm: flexure, shear, axial tension, axial compression and local bearing. The work draws on existing published bamboo and timber design codes, and sound engineering judgement.
1) This article was updated in November 2018 to correct Equation 16.
2) Equation 18 contains an error. In the second part of the equation, Nc should not be multiplied by a factor of 1.5.