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Sustainable construction materials and their application to architectural and structural design

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In 2011, with an aim to foster the creation of sustainable architecture and engineering in Mexico, the Structures Laboratory research group, made up of professors and students of the faculties of architecture and engineering of the UNAM started research into bamboo, the characteristics and mechanical properties of which make it a highly sustainable construction material.

In Mexico, major interest has arisen in applying bamboo to architecture and structural design. However, there are no official Mexican regulations governing the design and construction of this type of structure. Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are the only Latin American countries where Building Regulations have been developed specifically for bamboo.

Since the mechanical properties of bamboo depend on the specific geographical location where they grow and are cultivated, it was necessary to discover their mechanical properties on Mexican soil. With this in mind, the group performed microscopic analysis and laboratory tests in accordance with international standard ISO/TR 22157-2, in order to discover the mechanical properties of three species of bamboo that are cultivated and offered on the Mexican market: Guadua Angustifolia, Oldhamii and Madake [7]. Additionally, in 2014, the research group began monitoring of the structural behaviour of certain structures constructed with bamboo in Mexico, in order to assess their structural behaviour over time.

Faced with the panorama described, the new knowledge acquired by our research group focused on identifying materials, in addition to bamboo, which are favourable and suitable for the creation of sustainable architectural and structural projects. This paper will report the research progress achieved in the Structures Laboratory, with the aim to create sustainable construction materials regulations in Mexico.
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Keywords: Sustainability; bamboo; construction materials; laboratory testing; rules and regulations

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Architecture, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México-UNAM Laboratorio de Estructuras, Edif. Anexo “Dr. Jesús Aguirre Cárdenas”, Ciudad Universitaria, México, D.F., CP 04510, México, Email: [email protected] 2: Faculty of Architecture, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México-UNAM Laboratorio de Estructuras, Edif. Anexo “Dr. Jesús Aguirre Cárdenas”, Ciudad Universitaria, México, D.F., CP 04510, México 3: Faculty of Architecture, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México-UNAM Laboratorio de Estructuras, Edif. Anexo “Dr. Jesús Aguirre Cárdenas”, Ciudad Universitaria, México, D.F., CP 04510, México 4: Faculty of Engineering, UNAM

Publication date: August 20, 2015

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