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Bamboo as Concrete Reinforcement

By: Haseeb Jamal / On: Mar 01, 2017 / Notes, Reinforced Concrete
Bamboo as Concrete Reinforcement

Bamboo is one of the oldest building materials. If we see in history, bamboo was used for construction of houses in areas where there was abundance of plants especially in South America, Africa & South East Asia. Bamboo offers numerous advantages, including its exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, rapid growth, and low environmental impact. This article explores the potential of bamboo as concrete reinforcement, highlighting its benefits, applications, and considerations for successful implementation.

Climate and Bamboo growth:

Bamboo usually grows at temperature of 250°C to 500°C.The ideal place for growth of bamboo is fully water free area. These trees usually grow on sandy soil and clayey soil. Organic soil hinders the growth of bamboo. Bamboo usually reaches at height 75 ft with circumference of 0.3ft.The life of bamboo tree is usually 20 to 100 years.

Bamboo as a Building Material:

To make usable the bamboo for the construction, first it is usually harvested and then it is dried. For drying, two methods are used:

  1. Air drying (It takes 6 to 12 weeks)
  2. Kiln drying (It takes 2 to 3 weeks)

Moisture is one of the big killers of bamboo. As the moisture increases risk of attack of fungi, an insect increases. So the best time for harvesting of bamboo is cooler season. Bamboo has natural resistance to moisture, which makes it less prone to rot, decay, and insect infestation. However, it is essential to properly treat and protect bamboo to enhance its moisture resistance and ensure long-term durability.

Bamboo in Concrete as Reinforcement

Bamboo is widely available in many regions worldwide, providing the opportunity for local sourcing and supporting local economies. This aspect reduces transportation costs and promotes regional sustainability. It can also be integrated into existing construction practices without major modifications. Engineers and contractors can adapt traditional reinforcement design and construction techniques to incorporate bamboo successfully.

Bamboo can be utilized in various ways to reinforce concrete structures. It can be employed as a primary reinforcement, replacing steel entirely, or as a secondary reinforcement in combination with steel bars. Bamboo can be used in columns, beams, slabs, and even foundations. Its flexibility and adaptability make it suitable for both large-scale construction projects and smaller, more intricate designs.

Bamboo possesses remarkable tensile strength, comparable to mild steel. This strength, combined with its lightweight nature, allows for efficient designs and reduces the overall weight of concrete structures. It's inherent flexibility and ductility make it well-suited for withstanding dynamic loads, such as those experienced during earthquakes or high winds. Its ability to bend without breaking allows for better energy absorption and redistribution, enhancing the resilience of reinforced concrete structures.

Engineering Properties of Bamboo:

Tensile Strength:

Bamboo as building material in ConcreteThe tensile strength of bamboo is very high if we compare it with steel. The reason for that is the fibers in the bamboo usually run axially (parallel to its length). It is not in much use as steel because of its lacking of transferring this tensile strength. Bamboo exhibits impressive strength, especially in tension and compression. Its tensile strength is comparable to mild steel, making it an excellent material for structural applications. Bamboo's strength-to-weight ratio is also remarkable, allowing for efficient designs and lightweight structures.


The shrinking power of bamboo is much greater than any other type of wood. We can say that it is a drawback of bamboo that leads to its less usage.

Fire Resistance:

Bamboo usually has a high fire-resistant capability. It can bear temperatures up to 4000°C. Bamboo has inherent fire resistance properties, as it has a high ignition temperature and low heat conductivity. However, its fire resistance can be further improved by using appropriate treatment methods and protective coatings.


Bamboo has very good elasticity characteristics. It can be used in earthquake areas due to its elastic nature. Bamboo exhibits a high degree of elasticity, allowing it to recover its original shape after being subjected to stress or deformation. This property is beneficial in load-bearing applications, as it helps distribute and dissipate forces effectively.

Weight of Bamboo:

Bamboo usually has very low weight. So it can be moved to the place of its usage very easily. Bamboo has a relatively high density, providing stability and strength to structures. However, the density may vary depending on the species and age of the bamboo.

Environmental Effect of Bamboo as building material:

Bamboo can be transported and used without any danger to health. As other building materials like cement etc can cause harmful effects to health of its users. Bamboo is quite economical material that can be used for construction. It has great importance in areas where there are high risks of earthquakes. Japan is the country which uses the bamboo in their construction of houses because of too much occurrence of earthquakes.

Using bamboo as a concrete reinforcement material aligns with sustainable construction practices. Bamboo is a rapidly renewable resource, with some species growing several feet in just a few months. It requires minimal water and no chemical fertilizers or pesticides, making it a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional reinforcement materials like steel. Additionally, bamboo has the ability to sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) during its growth, further contributing to carbon footprint reduction.


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