Civil construction uses bamboo either in its natural form as an entire culm, or in a processed, even engineered form. The conventional civil construction sector as well as architects still have concerns on the usage of bamboo as entire culm. The reasons are lack of standards and the still common image of the „wood for the poor“. As a consequence many countries import construction materials from abroad, although there is plenty of bamboo. In fact there is a great potential to substitute conventional timber beams and boards.
In the last years new engineered bamboo products for structural and semi-structural uses have drawn attention. Especially in several South American and African countries, the potential of bamboo for industrial application is not even identified yet. The development of structural bamboo composites (SBC) is still in its infancy. Research and private sector started to develop engineered bamboo products in East African (Ethiopia, Kenya) as well as in South American countries (Brazil, Colombia). When it comes to industrial realization a number of challenges showed up. The sophisticated technological level and the immense demand for raw material in centralized production schemes are just two exemplary constraints. The research project aims to develop and optimize long-stranded and multilayered materials for panels or structural elements (i.e. beams, trusses, joists) out of bamboo.