The Wonders of Bamboo

Bamboo is a plant with thousands of wonderful uses. Most of us are familiar with kitchen utensils, flooring materials and bamboo furniture. You have probably eaten bamboo shoots in Chinese food and you might even own a pair of elegant, silky socks woven of bamboo fiber.

But did you know bamboo can also be used to build roads and bridges? That might not seem surprising to you if you’re familiar with pedestrian causeways and hanging bridges which have been used in Asia for thousands of years.

But think bigger; think stronger. In modern road and building construction, bamboo is starting to rival steel itself!

Bamboo vs. Steel

Bamboo has greater tensile strength, better compression resistance, and is lighter in weight than steel—which is pretty much amazing. It has been used for thousands of years overseas but in the Western world has maintained the reputation of being the poor man’s choice for wood. Through the years, people would choose other higher status wood for their building needs. They are now starting to take notice of the remarkable properties of the humble bamboo and realize it has many more uses than previously imagined.

Builders using green building techniques are constructing houses of new plywood-like material made of bamboo, called Plyboo:  stronger, smoother and more attractive than regular plywood. Experiments using bamboo instead of rebar to reinforce cement are showing significant promise. Even high-end racing bicycles are now being produced with a bamboo frame instead of carbon steel. The frame is said to be more stable and lighter in weight.

Bamboo Is Biodegradable

Bamboo is a hardy, vigorous plant that is easy to cultivate in a variety of climates. It grows astonishingly fast; trunks of larger varieties can grow several feet per day! Being so easy to grow makes it inexpensive and being light weight makes it easier to transport, even in ruggedly remote areas.

Bamboo does have some drawbacks. In damp climates it is susceptible to rot, fungus and insect infestations, but when dried properly after being harvested, these vulnerabilities are limited.

Bamboo seems to be a miracle plant that the Western World is only now beginning to explore. The possibilities appear endless. It has been made into clothing, sleepwear, bicycle helmets, car bodies, computer keyboards, decking, wall paneling and wood veneers. Bamboo leaves offer antioxidant compounds, contain anti-inflammatory properties, and have been shown to reduce blood sugar levels. Bamboo “health beer” with supposed anti-fatigue, anti-aging, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-cancer and enhanced immunity effects is micro brewed in Mexico. But . . . are they trying to bamboo-zul us?

Only time and testing will tell.

Sources

http://www.bamboooz.com/15-bamboo-products-interesting-uses/ Has cool pictures

https://www.quora.com/Why-do-we-use-bamboo-in-place-of-steel-reinforcement

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140814021458.htm

 

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