Researchers in UK and US explore use of bamboo in construction

A $200,000 research project co-led by academics at Coventry University is exploring the use of bamboo as a construction material for housebuilding in developing countries The research, which is backed by the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the US Department of State through the Global Innovation Initiative, brings together civil engineering and design researchers from Coventry University and the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The teams will carry out testing and analysis of the effectiveness of bamboo as a safe construction resource. The two-year ‘Bamboo in the urban environment’ project was one of 14 across the world to win funding as part of the Global Innovation Initiative, which aims to boost research collaborations between the UK, the USA and other less well-developed nations. Coventry and Pittsburgh will work with Indonesia’s Bogor Agricultural University, the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, China’s International Network for Bamboo and Rattan and industry partners in the UK and USA.

David Trujillo, senior lecturer in civil engineering at Coventry University and one of the project’s leaders, said: “Bamboo is one of the world’s oldest construction resources, dating back thousands of years, but we haven’t come close to fully exploiting its potential as a sustainable alternative to current industry materials and techniques.

“This project is chiefly about advancing our understanding of bamboo’s capabilities so that we can harness them to help reduce costs and improve safety in housing in lagging and developing countries, or those which are particularly at risk from natural hazards.

“Being relatively cheap, incredibly strong, lightweight and renewable lends it a unique set of properties which make it well-suited to contribute to major global challenges such as population growth, urbanisation and also resilience in the face of climate change.”

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