Document Type

Steel and timber structures paper

Publication details

Shrestha, R & Crews, KI 2014, 'Bridging the gap between engineering practice and academia: a materials supply perspective', in ST Smith (ed.), 23rd Australasian Conference on the Mechanics of Structures and Materials (ACMSM23), vol. I, Byron Bay, NSW, 9-12 December, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, pp. 613-618. ISBN: 9780994152008.

Peer Reviewed



Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants and has mechanical properties similar to softwood timber. Bamboo has been commonly used for many years as a traditional construction material for low rise houses, foot bridges, roofs and construction platforms, especially in Asia and Latin America. The main reasons for the popularity of bamboo in construction can be attributed to its low cost, general availability locally and adequacy of simple, local tools and skills for fabrication. Application of bamboo in construction is, however, normally limited to low cost housing and temporary structures due to a number of factors including irregular shapes, hollow circular crosssections and durability issues. This paper presents the results of an investigation into production of an engineered bamboo product using a low tech method. Bamboo culms were cut into smaller strips and were re-constituted into rectangular beam sections by gluing. Such a process overcomes the presence of the inherent hollow core and randomises the inter-nodes and other growth characteristics found in natural bamboo – in much the same way that engineered wood products such as plywood and LVL are produced. Flexural properties of the manufactured engineered bamboo were then compared with natural bamboo. Higher flexural strength and stiffness and lower variation in these properties, compared to natural bamboo, were achieved by re-constituting the bamboo into a manufactured product.