MIT researchers explore how to make wood composite-like blocks of bamboo

MIT researchers are studying how individual stalks can be turned into blocks like wood composites.

Moso bamboo. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
July 24, 2014

Researchers at MIT are researching how grass can be used like wood products. MIT news reports that several of the institution’s students and faculty are pairing up with architects from the United Kingdom and Canada to explore ways bamboo can be used as a construction material akin to wood composites, like plywood.  

For a significant amount of history, societies in across Asia have used bamboo as the main material to build homes. Bamboo construction has been straightforward, where entire stalks are used to create latticed homes. This straightforward manner limits the possibilities of building with bamboo to the shape of individual building components.

The concept behind the research is to slice the stalk of bamboo grass into smaller pieces to bond together and form sturdy blocks, much like conventional wood composites.

“Bamboo grows extensively in regions where there are rapidly developing economies, so it’s an alternative building material to concrete and steel,” says Lorna Gibson, a professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT. “You probably wouldn’t make a skyscraper out of bamboo, but certainly smaller structures like houses and low-rise buildings.”

For more information about the research, visit MIT News.

         
 

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