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Bamboo, The Future Building Material

An ancient and natural replacement for steel


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In regions of Asia, bamboo has long been known as a building material, with it making up large parts of building construction. Unfortunately, in the West, bamboo is associated mainly with rickety and fragile structures. When comparing both, it was proven that the tensile strength of bamboo is far greater at 28,000 pounds per square inch, with steel being about 23,000 pounds. Tensile strength is defined as the resistance offered by an objecting to breaking or splitting under tension. In this case, bamboo is stronger than steel due to its tightly packed molecular structure compared to steel.


Not just that, bamboo is also incredibly fast-growing, able to reach a meter a day, making it a very renewable and low-cost resource. There is also a certain bamboo species that holds the record for the fastest growing plant. Another additional benefit is that bamboo releases about 30% more oxygen into the environment compared to other plants, which is a good enough reason to encourage growing it – especially when it doesn’t need any fertilizer to grow.


However, there are some drawbacks to the plant as it is prone to attack by insects and also degrades quickly in the presence of water, requiring a large amount of regular maintenance. These drawbacks can, fortunately, be mitigated by forming bamboo into composites and carrying out appropriate treatments on it. Despite the shortcomings, The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich is developing a bamboo composite, which they believe can replace steel with its strength, high versatility, and durability. With all of these considerations, the growth of bamboo should be promoted to ensure lower costs of living and a better environment for our future generations.