MIT researchers working on ways to engineer the grass to create a more structurally sound building material

mit_logoWhile bamboo has many similarities to wood as a building material, it also has very distinct properties. In-depth analysis of the microstructure of bamboo has uncovered its potential for use in composite materials with stronger and denser properties. Various attempts are going on aimed at developing structural engineered bamboo; however the future lies in innovating new approaches that can better enhance the natural advantages of this unique material. As per a news post on sourceable.net, a special MIT team is researching on the idea of slicing the stalk, or culm, into smaller pieces and then bonding them like wood composites to form sturdy blocks. In this project, the MIT team is working on the development of structural bamboo products, analogous to wood products like plywood, oriented strand board, and glue-laminated wood. Depending on the species, bamboo can be harvested in one to five years. Hardwoods like oak take at least forty years to mature before they can be harvested. Millions of acres of forests are lost worldwide to deforestation. Bamboo’s versatility as a substitute for hardwoods offers a chance to drastically reduce that figure and protect the forests.

 

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