Is Bamboo Can Be An Alternative to Steel? Advantages & Disadvantages of Bamboo in Construction.

Replacement of Steel in Construction

So far there has been no solid alternative found that can replace steel. Though, a few materials like metal composites and engineered timber are widely being used as new construction materials which can be considered an alternative to Steel.

  1. Bamboo:

An architect in Bangalore, India has been using bamboo for more than 15 years. She made use of bamboo in walls, beams, columns, doors, windows, roofs, railings, fencing, staircases and boundary walls. From this, it can be stated that bamboo has become an alternative for steel. Bamboo has also been used for precast structural elements. Bamboo Fibre Reinforced Concrete has been used for the construction of slabs which proves to be lighter than conventional concrete.

Advantages of Bamboo in construction:

  • It can be used to construct structural elements such as columns, beams, walls, roofs and staircases.
  • Bamboos are 3 times cheaper than steel.
  • It has great tensile strength as compared with steel.
  • Upto 70% steel can be replaced by bamboos for a structure.
  • It produces oxygen which is a saviour of human and aquatic lives.

Disadvantages of Bamboo in construction:

  • If bamboo is left untreated it can swell and rot.
  • It can shrink which can further lead to the segregation of concrete.
  • In sum, bamboo can be a good alternative to steel but they need to be composed with some other materials due to these drawbacks.
  1. Pultruded FRP composites:

These are composite materials that are lightweight in nature. They are being used as an alternative to steel with some additional benefits such as low electrical conductivity, corrosion-resistant and high impact strengths. These composite materials can be used with other construction materials to have flexibility in complex design.

Advantages of FRP Composites in Construction:

  • Sustainable and Durable
  • Long service life
  • Require less maintenance
  • Tensile strength is greater than steel
  • Lightweight
  • Consume low energy and thus are environment friendly
  • Resist corrosion
  • Insulation properties

Disadvantages of FRP Composites in Construction:

  • It has low-stress bearing capacity due to its inelastic behaviour,
  • The storage and handling of FRP materials can be risky as they can be damaged by UV rays, improper handling or cutting.
  • The initial cost of FRP material is higher than that of steel.

Please watch the video for more information.

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2 Responses

  1. Urmila Ashok Kumar says:

    Great information on the advantages and disadvantages of bamboo construction. Very Insightful. You can also read to know more about Designing and Construction

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