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Engineered bamboo for shell structures

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Engineered bamboo combines the benefits of a natural material with the advantages of a laminated composite, resulting in an efficient, light material well-suited to gridshell structures. Bamboo is a rapidly renewable material that can be harvested every 4-5 years. The round culm can either be used as is or it can be processed into a variety of laminated products. Engineered bamboo is currently promoted as a structural alternative to timber and glue-laminated timber, but also has potential in shell applications. In contrast to short fibre composites, engineered bamboo maintains fibre length and continuity within the raw material for exceptional mechanical properties. The composite section results in a high strength material in compression and tension, with bending properties comparable to timber products. The inherent flexibility of the material has advantages in comparison to timber, allowing for complex designs to be achieved. The present work explores the substitution of engineered bamboo in existing gridshells with a comparison to the original timber structure. As dowelled connections are key components at the boundary of gridshells, their potential for use with bamboo is also explored.
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Keywords: engineered bamboo; gridshell; structural analysis; timber

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Cambridge Department of Architecture 1 Scroope Terrace Cambridge CB2 1PX United Kingdom, Email: [email protected] 2: University of Cambridge Department of Engineering 3: University of Cambridge Department of Architecture

Publication date: August 20, 2015

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