University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Engineering Department Structures Research Seminars > Bamboo as a full-fledged structural material – progress, challenges and observations

Bamboo as a full-fledged structural material – progress, challenges and observations

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Interest in sustainable construction materials is growing, with research and construction being initiated worldwide. Structural applications of indigenous material resources, such as bamboo, are an integral part of sustainable development. The use of natural materials for primary construction, however, is limited to cultural-based traditions with little or no standardisation. To develop sustainable construction materials, in both an engineering and cultural sense, one must evaluate the traditional building techniques in terms of engineering standards and develop equivalent design methodologies to permit quantification, assessment and improvement of structural performance. This presentation provides an overview of efforts supporting this objective.

Standardisation of material test methods for bamboo is critical if the material is to gain greater engineering acceptance. Methods that capture fundamental material properties permit comparison of the behaviour and performance of different bamboo species, geometry, weathering and treatment methods. Appropriate standardised test methods able to reliably provide fundamental material properties permit the calibration of material resistance factors and the extension of design guidance to different species. Standardised test methods used in well-defined experimental studies also permit the isolation of factors that affect material performance and behaviour. This process represents the path to rational and universal design methods for bamboo.

The presentation will begin with an introduction of bamboo as a construction material and go on to discuss the breadth of work presently undertaken at the University of Pittsburgh and with our international collaborations in Brazil, Indonesia, Colombia, China, India, UK and [although not strictly international] Puerto Rico. In addition to technical content, this presentation offers some insight into the development of a successful, highly integrated international collaboration.

Kent Harries is presently the Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the University of Bath and is the Bicentennial Board of Visitors Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor of Structural Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Pittsburgh. Harries is a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute (FACI) and the International Institute for FRP in Construction (FIIFC) and a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) in Ontario, Canada. He is Senior Editor of the Journal of Construction and Building Materials (Elsevier). Dr. Harries is the author of over 235 peer-reviewed papers. His research interests include the use of non-traditional materials (from bamboo to titanium to CFRP ) in civil infrastructure and the design of high-rise structures. He received his doctorate from McGill University in 1995.

This talk is part of the Engineering Department Structures Research Seminars series.

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