Engineered bamboo come of age


Is engineered bamboo a serious alternative?

Engineered bamboo – a state of the art construction material

Do you know about the properties of engineered bamboo (strips of fast-growing bamboo bonded together)? According to the latest issue of the ICE Construction Materials journal, engineered bamboo products can be stronger, greener and more attractive than structural timber.

A state-of-the-art review by the University of Cambridge concludes that, with just a little more research and development, engineered bamboo is likely to become a competitive and sustainable alternative to all conventional structural materials.

Lead author Bhavna Sharm says that bamboo scrimber (bonded fibres) and laminated bamboo products have material properties that are, 'comparable or exceed those of structural timber and laminated veneer lumber, yet they are used inefficiently in solely architectural and surface applications.'

What else do we need to know?

Sharm also says that there needs to be further testing of engineered bamboo based on existing standard methods. 'With agreement on how we test bamboo materials, a knowledge base can be formed to develop structural products, as well as the code system needed to use these materials in the mainstream market.'

Also, while bamboo is a rapidly renewable material that is available globally, the environmental impacts of manufacturing engineered bamboos needs to be investigated.