Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Bamboo Reinforced Concrete Slabs for Fence Walls

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Bamboo Reinforced Concrete Slabs for Fence Walls

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

Bamboo is known as poor man's building material and abundantly found in Southeast Asia and in other countries. Southeast Asia is one of the most populated regions in the world and low-cost houses are increasingly in demand. Uses of bamboo in the construction industry are scaffolding, trusses, low cost dwellings in earthquake prone hilly regions and many other engineering applications since pre-history days. Recently, in many parts of the world, bamboo has been tried as an environmentally sustainable building material. The significant feature of bamboo is its immense vitality and one particular species has been known to grow over 1.25 m in 24 hours. Bamboo grows well in light-sandy soil with good draining facilities for excess water. The advantages of bamboo are:

a) Possesses high tensile strength when compared to steel, which makes it as a suitable reinforcement material.

b) It is an extremely light-weight material and the progress can be achieved without the necessity of skilled craftsmen and heavy machinery, such as cranes.

c) It is a versatile shock absorbing material which makes its application useful in the construction of lightweight houses in seismically active hilly regions.

d) It is a sustainable and renewable material due to its exceptionally fast growth.

e) The transportation costs are very minimal when compared to other construction related materials.

However, there are few disadvantages, such as:

a) Bamboo is made up of starch and this requires proper treatment with appropriate chemicals prior to using for construction purposes.

b) Bamboo is stronger only at the nodes and it does not contain cross fibres, thus becomes width-wise weaker.

c) Possesses low modulus value.

It is worthy of note that in spite of these drawbacks, the maximum advantages of bamboo can be achieved with a pretreatment of fungi. Ironically, at places where strong varieties of bamboo suitable for the construction industry are abundantly available, yet the utilization as an alternative to steel is very meagre.

1.1 Steel Reinforced Concrete Slabs for Fence walls

Concrete slabs of dimension 1000 mm x 300 mm x 50 mm (length : width : thickness) with 6 mm diameter mild (or smooth) steel as reinforcement are increasingly being used to erect fence walls replacing the traditional barbed wire or other type of fences, especially in rural and semi-urban parts of Tamil Nadu (a state in South India). A typical fence wall erected using steel reinforced concrete (SRC) slabs is shown in figure 1. The advantages of this type of slab are:

a) Reusable.

b) Skilled labour is not required, erection time is short and economical compared to other type of fences.

c) More safety and privacy for individual households.

Erection of fence walls using SRC slabs has become a cottage industry without adhering to any specification or quality control tests. Interestingly, the length and width of the slab vary from place to place (custom made) whereas, the thickness remains a constant (= 50 mm). A survey conducted at 25 such cottage industries, reveals that 1000 mm x 300 mm x 50 mm slabs with 6 mm diameter mild steel as reinforcement are most common and weekly production of each industry varied between 100 to 750 units, based on the facilities available for casting. This large scale fabrication and the associated depletion of fossil fuels, stimulated to investigate the use of locally grown bamboo as a replacement for steel in erecting fence walls. Casting bamboo reinforced slabs and testing them, using ultrasonic instrument and universal testing machine, after the stipulated curing period is the main objective of the present study. Also comparing the test results of BRC slabs with that of the commercially available steel reinforced concrete (SRC) slabs and cost analysis of the two types have been performed.

Several researchers have conducted investigations on bamboo as reinforcement with an intention to find a replacement for steel in the construction industry. …

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