Could Bamboo replace Steel Reinforcement?

Prior to the introduction of steel reinforcements, bamboo was the primary building material. Even now, bamboo is still being used to build houses and other buildings in less developed regions all over the world.

Most people have a negative view of bamboo, and it’s associated with unstable constructions. The opposite is actually true.

What makes bamboo superior to steel?

Yes, in terms of tensile strength, bamboo is superior to steel. The tensile strength of steel is 23,000 psi.
However, bamboo has a significant advantage over steel at 28,000 psi. The phrase “tensile strength” was mentioned in the discussion. But what is it?

Tensile strength:
If we look at a material’s strength, there are several elements to keep in mind. The resistance of an item to breaking or splitting under stress is known as its tensile strength.

And indeed, bamboo is more densely packed molecularly than steel, making it stronger.

Bamboo’s Nature

There are several uses for bamboo, from building materials to deodorants and medications. Bamboo is a wonderful resource.

In the United States and Canada, there are more than 490 species of bamboo to choose from. The fastest-growing plant title belongs to a few bamboo species.

Depending on the species, it can grow up to 3 feet every day and mature in 3 to 5 years.

When compared to other plants, bamboo releases 30% more oxygen into the atmosphere, which is a convincing enough reason to plant more of them in an era of rising air pollution and diminishing ozone. It also prevents soil erosion.

There are several uses for bamboo plants:

  • Buildings, furniture, and bicycle frames, among other things, are all made from the tree’s wood.
  • As a result of its antimicrobial and thermal qualities, bamboo fibers are commonly utilized in outerwear.
  • The absorbency of bamboo charcoal makes it an effective deodorant.
  • Bamboo is used in meals and medicines in many forms.
  • Bamboo is also known to improve the flavor of alcoholic beverages.

These plants may thrive in any environment and don’t require the usage of fertilizers to grow. The plant’s falling leaves are a vital source of nutrition.

Bamboo vs. Steel

Even before discovering bamboo’s tensile strength, it has been utilized extensively in the building industry. In the past, bamboo was utilized in the construction of homes, furniture, and walls.

Engineers and researchers in the present day are eager to replace steel with bamboo because of its tensile strength.

There are several negatives to using steel in concrete, including high prices, pollution of the atmosphere, and soil degradation. Unlike wood, bamboo can be grown cheaply and has several environmental advantages.

The tensile strength of bamboo is insufficient to make it a substitute for steel, despite the fact that it has been discovered to be stronger and stiffer than other building materials.


Bamboo (psi)

Steel (psi)

Modulus of Elasticity

2.9 * 10^6

3 * 10^7

Compressive Strength

9000 – 13,500


Tensile Strength

21,500 – 55,700


Bending Strength

11,000 – 40,000


Shear Strength



Advantages of bamboos:

  1. The natural fiber of bamboo is exceptionally strong.
  2. It has a very strong tensile strength.
  3. Because of its hollow design, it is extremely flexible.
  4. As opposed to steel, it’s a lot lighter.
  5. Eco-friendly and low-cost.
  6. It has a high capability for shock absorption.

Disadvantages of bamboos:

  1. It is not suitable for long-term usage in permanent constructions due to its lower durability than steel.
  2. Shrinkage concerns.
  3. It’s more vulnerable to environmental deterioration and insect invasions.
  4. It cannot be utilized in cold weather conditions.
  5. When compared to steel, it has a shorter lifespan.
  6. Poor adhesion to the concrete mix due to low modulus of elasticity.
  7. The lower modulus of elasticity makes it more prone to cracking and deflection.

There is already a lot of research being done to fix all of these issues and improve the present features of bamboo. These researches examine the plant’s mechanical and physical qualities, as well as its usefulness.

In an effort to replace steel, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich is working on a bamboo composite named BambooTECH, which they say has the strength, adaptability, and durability to do so.

MIT researchers and architects have discovered that bamboo wood is denser and stronger than softwoods like spruce, fir, and pine. They are seeking to leverage the qualities of bamboo to make a better construction material, which can subsequently be used to build more resistant structures.


The use of bamboo as a building material might reduce the need for other materials like steel, plastic, carbon fiber, etc. Reduced greenhouse gas emissions are a direct result of this.

Building with bamboo is more accessible for everyone because of its low cost.

Growing bamboo is a great benefit in that it produces no wastes. We should encourage the planting and use of bamboo to ensure reduced living expenses and a better environment for future generations, taking these factors into account.

Watch the following video about bamboo’s engineering:

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