Natural fibre composites: Engineered bamboo for construction

Bhavna Sharma, Ana Gatóo, Michael Ramage

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding


At a time when the engineering profession seeks alternative materials for a more sustainable built environment, the use of natural composites becomes vital. Lightweight composites composed of natural fibres are of interest in an effort to develop sustainable construction materials. Natural fibre reinforced composites, similar to timber and glulam, have the potential to serve as an alternative construction material. Engineered bamboo is an example of such a material that utilises the raw plant in a laminated form to create structural sections. While bamboo is a functionally graded material with excellent mechanical properties, its use in construction is limited by elliptical cross sections and variability in geometric and material properties between and within species. Processing of bamboo into rectangular strips reduces the gradation and geometric variability to form a composite. The current trend is to evaluate this material as a timber product, yet the behaviour more closely follows what is observed in a unidirectional composite. Understanding bamboo in the context of composites, rather than analysing it through the lens of timber engineering, offers new insight into its potential as a material for structural engineering. The research we are carrying out aims to demonstrate the viability of engineered bamboo and promote its structural use by evaluating its mechanical properties as a fibre reinforced composite. In addition, we are using novel instrumentation to determine the evolution of fracture within the material. With increased research and development engineered bamboo can serve as a competitive and sustainable alternative to conventional structural materials.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvanced Composites in Construction, ACIC 2015 - Proceedings of the 7th Biennial Conference on Advanced Composites In Construction
PublisherNetComposites Limited
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event7th Biennial Conference on Advanced Composites In Construction, ACIC 2015 - Cambridge, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Sept 201511 Sept 2015


Conference7th Biennial Conference on Advanced Composites In Construction, ACIC 2015
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom


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