Anda di halaman 1dari 68

2010

Bamboo as a Structural Material


Client Report

Gavin Leake - 200641821


Kyle Toole - 200514202
Pavel Divis - 200615422

Supervisor: Carmen Torres Sanchez

5/12/2010
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Abstract
This project summarises the work performed for EWB-UK on bamboo as a structural
component for low cost housing in Pabal, India. In initial discussions with the partner NGO
in Pabal, Vigyan Ashram, and with initial research into the academic literature and past
EWB studies of bamboo, it was clear the project should have an implementation focus and so
was directed towards structural systems and the associated connections.

It was identified early that building with bamboo in developing nations has a significant
cultural aspect; the type of house reflects the occupant wealth with traditional concrete and
steel box-shaped buildings represents affluence while domes and bamboo have connotations
of poverty.

The structure developed has a hexagonal plan that has several structural advantages for
bamboo and can be later connected in modules and in combination with the sheet metal and
strapping connections provides a cheap housing solution for India. While the hexagonal style
is not quite a concrete box it is aesthetically closer to this configuration than a geodesic dome
and also masks the structural bamboo.

The connections, tools and instructions for the house are to be produced as a kit so once the
customer has the kit can purchase their bamboo, cladding and roofing cheaply and locally.
The kit also allows minimal cost by offering a low-skill do-it-yourself solution that can be
built within one day by two unskilled workers with pictorial instructions to follow.

Team L Page 2
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Content
Abstract ......................................................................................................................................... 1
Acknowledgements ...................................................................................................................... 6
1. Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 7
2. Research ............................................................................................................................... 8
3. Patents ................................................................................................................................ 18
4. Architecture .........................................................................................................................19
5. Design Specification ............................................................................................................ 21
6. Concept Generation ........................................................................................................... 22
7. Concept Development ........................................................................................................ 24
8. DfMA of the Base Plate ...................................................................................................... 26
9. Finite Element Analysis ..................................................................................................... 33
10. Mechanical Testing ......................................................................................................... 42
11. Failure Mode Effect Analysis ......................................................................................... 47
12. Bamboo Prototyping....................................................................................................... 48
13. Build Instructions ........................................................................................................... 49
14. Modular Bamboo House Construction .......................................................................... 57
15. Costing and Manufacturing ........................................................................................... 58
16. Implementation ...............................................................................................................61
17. Future Work.....................................................................................................................61
18. Conclusion ...................................................................................................................... 62
References .................................................................................................................................. 64
Appendix .................................................................................................................................... 65

Team L Page 3
Bamboo as a Structural Material

List of figures
Figure 1: The terminology and makeup of bamboo [2] .............................................................. 9
Figure 2: Typical Bamboo Construction in Pabal ....................................................................... 9
Figure 3: Typical Simple House in Pabal .................................................................................. 10
Figure 4: Geodesic Dome at Vigyan Ashram ............................................................................ 10
Figure 5: Percentage of fibre density through the bamboo wall ............................................... 12
Figure 6: Volume fraction of the cellulose fibre vs. tensile strength of bamboo material ....... 13
Figure 7: Compressive strength vs. Moisture content (the bamboo beams are subjected to the
compression stress mainly at the house base where moisture is likely to be present due to
weather conditions) .................................................................................................................... 13
Figure 8: Bending strength vs. Moisture content (all other structure components will be
predominantly subjected to the bending stress) .......................................................................14
Figure 9: Relationship between Specific modulus and Specific strength to determine cost-
performance properties of bamboo material (upper right corner better value) ...................14
Figure 10: Simn Vlez ZERI Pavilion Prototype ......................................................................19
Figure 11: Guadua Tech Construction ....................................................................................... 20
Figure 12: Pugh Design Specification......................................................................................... 21
Figure 13: Examples of Early Concept Structures .................................................................... 22
Figure 14: The Selected Developed Concept Structure ............................................................ 24
Figure 15: Position of the strap slots to reduce tooling cost ..................................................... 27
Figure 16: Cut corner to minimize waste .................................................................................. 27
Figure 17: Design for the stamping to minimize waste. ........................................................... 28
Figure 18: Recommended modification of the blank shape to reduce waste [3] .................... 28
Figure 19: Diameter of the hole was determined from the minimum blanking hole related to
the metal sheet thickness. The diameter of the hole is normalized for the M10 bolt. ............ 28
Figure 20: Base wing is redundant when used at top of walls or on roof. ............................... 29
Figure 21: Orientation of the shoulder at the bottom of the construction has changed from
horizontal to vertical position so that the same blank can be used for bottom base as well as
top roof plates. ........................................................................................................................... 29
Figure 22: Only three different angles are utilized in order to simplify the bending operation.
.................................................................................................................................................... 30
Figure 23: The slots placed at the edge of the base plate significantly reduce the assembling
time as the strip can be wound around the two pieces instead of running in the slots. ......... 30
Figure 24: Distance of the holes was determined from maximum diameter of the bamboo
(100mm) and easy access of the spanner. ................................................................................. 31
Figure 25: Recommended clearance for different types of wrench. The most common wrench
in Pabal is open-end one therefore minimum clearance of 75mm was chosen. ...................... 31
Figure 26: Position of several slots had changed to simplify final assembly. Real model made
of PMMA plastic was used to realize potential issues during assembly. ................................. 32
Figure 27: Graphical representation of the structure load. ...................................................... 33
Figure 28: Impact of the wind on the bamboo structure [15]. ................................................. 34
Figure 29: Diameter of the bamboo used in the simulation .................................................... 38
Figure 30: Limit thickness of 12mm left and 1mm right. ......................................................... 39
Figure 31: Results of the optimization study, wall thickness 3.2mm, maximum stress 62MPa.
.................................................................................................................................................... 39
Figure 32: Two critical points of the base plate with the ultimate load................................... 40
Figure 33: Location of the most loaded joint in the structure. ................................................ 40

Team L Page 4
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Figure 34: Location of the heaviest loaded joint of the structure. ............................................41
Figure 35: Graphical view of test 1. ........................................................................................... 42
Figure 36: Yield location of test 1. ............................................................................................. 43
Figure 37: Results of the first and second bending test. .......................................................... 43
Figure 38: Graphical view of test 2. .......................................................................................... 44
Figure 39: Yield location of test 1. ............................................................................................. 44
Figure 40: Detail of the shoulder buckling after exceeding the critical load of 11kN, the detail
III of Figure 37. .......................................................................................................................... 44
Figure 42: Base plate after test 3. .............................................................................................. 45
Figure 41: Graphical view of test 3. ........................................................................................... 45
Figure 43: Results of the third bending test ............................................................................. 46
Figure 44: Plastic deformation of the base plate shoulder after the third destructive test. ... 46
Figure 45: Yield location of test 3.............................................................................................. 46
Figure 46: Sheet Manufacturing ............................................................................................... 60

Team L Page 5
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Acknowledgements
Our supervisor Carmen Torres-Sanchez has been amazing throughout the project with
support throughout.
The technicians Duncan Lindsay and Drew Irvine for all the time and effort in producing the
prototypes that made this project a success.
The Vigyan Ashram NGO of Pabal in India have provided massive support. Our contact, Mr.
Rohan Choukkar, has supplied insight, answers to our recurrent questions, with feedback
and encouraged our progress throughout the project.
engIndia and their experienced member Ms. Mariel John have also provided great insight
and knowledge from experience of Pabal and past bamboo projects.
EWB-UK Research director, Ms. Katie Cresswell-Maynard, has provided support and
encouragement throughout the project, while Ms. Lara Lewington, our mentor, has been of a
great help because of her broad experience on bamboo projects at Vigyan Ashram.

Statement of Academic Honesty

We declare that this submission is entirely our own original work.


We declare that, except where fully referenced direct quotations have been included, no
aspect of this submission has been copied from any other source.
We declare that all other works cited in this submission have been appropriately referenced.
We understand that any act of Academic Dishonesty such as plagiarism or collusion may
result in the non-award of our degrees.

Signed

Dated

Team L Page 6
Bamboo as a Structural Material

1. Introduction
For many years, bamboo has been used as a feasible and sustainable solution as a building component
of structures in developing countries in Africa, South America and the Far East. Its widespread
availability and rapid growth in areas of China, Japan and India has made this grass an interesting
structural material due to its affordability, easy assembly and relatively long durability. In the Far
East, bamboo is broadly used in scaffolding structures [1] and, for those who have little, housing and
storage solutions have also seen bamboo as a structural component.
Concrete and steel structures for buildings are typically difficult to prepare and assemble, requiring
skilled workers and significant access to resources (equipment, suppliers) for any truly successful
result, bamboo offers an easier alternative to that process. However, in developing nations the
implementation of bamboo structures seem to be generally quite poor, with planning, specification
and design being abandoned in favour of quick and dirty building techniques. This project looks to
address these issues with superior guidelines and frameworks for building of bamboo structures.
In developing nations there is a significant cultural aspect of the local environment that is tied to
perceptions of wealth. Only the richest of those in India can afford large typically Western box-
shaped brick or concrete construction houses with proper insulation and utilities. With bamboo as
such a cheap material and often best used in quite different configurations from concrete, the
perception is that only poor people would adopt this type of structure and so the poorest people
struggling for funds would rather get into more debt and appear wealthy than to purchase something
novel or unique that makes them appear poor.

Project Overview

Original Brief
While the project originally focused on research of bamboo species with the following objectives and
deliverables, initial reading suggested much research has already been performed into bamboo and
connections. Discussions with Vigyan Ashram highlighted the abundance of past academic and EWB
work on different aspects of bamboo structures yet little work had been taken from these and put into
practice as acceptable implementations. The following objectives were initially provided to the team:
1. Identify the ideal species of bamboo for use as a building and design material.
2. Recommendations on which bamboo to cultivate and how to do it the Far East, especially India.
3. An investigation into the lifespan of the bamboo and any methods of expanding it if necessary
would be of interest.
These would have then resulted in the following deliverables that would be yet more academic study
and of less use to Vigyan Ashram than an implementation study:
1. Research on a method for assessing the strength of the bamboo.
2. Tabular mechanical properties of the three most recommended types of bamboo suitable for the
area.

Revised Brief

It was agreed that the project should focus much more on the structural design and implementation
aspects in order to complement previous theoretical work (e.g. mechanical properties testing, finite

Team L Page 7
Bamboo as a Structural Material

element analysis of the bamboo behaviour). The following three key objectives are now much broader
and more suitable for an engineering project/study:
1. Research properties and types of bamboo available in Pabal.
2. Review, invent and develop joining methods (i.e. connections) for bamboo structures.
3. Design structural system for wide-scale implementation in Pabal.
If time permits, it is expected to include in the project outcomes the results of physical analysis and
simulation of the design structure prototypes to verify the solution.
The output of these objectives should be the following deliverables:
1. Develop bamboo joining types.
2. Prototype bamboo structure and propose methods for implementation in Pabal/Pune after
assessing feasibility on the prototypes.
3. Recommendations on the type of structures that can be built using the proposed methodology.
To achieve these, the project included two milestones of client presentations with the
December milestone focusing on research and review, specifically:
Literature review of former work and identify potential implementation of those studies.
Summary of bamboo properties and types available in Pabal/Pune.
Assessment of current joining strategies used in Pabal/Pune.
Then the February milestone required more original and conceptual work for structures and
connections to be produced with the following specific:
Development of bamboo joining types and progress towards prototype structure for mass
production of bamboo structures.
These changes allowed a plan following the Pugh design process to be developed in October
2009 and revised in January 2010.

2. Research
Stakeholders
Engineers Without Borders UK are the primary client with an overall mission to facilitate
human development through engineering. The main areas of focus for this organisation are
Habitat, Energy, Water & Sanitation, Transport, ICT, and Industry with numerous briefs in
each area, Bamboo as a Permanent Structural Component is an established theme. This brief
partners EWB-UK with EngIndia and so includes Vigyan Ashram in Pabal, India as a
valuable on the ground contact.
Less direct contact with EngIndia has been experienced however it is this organisation that
enabled the links with Vigyan Ashram and the research performed and data available from
their studies has been invaluable.
Vigyan Ashram is a centre of Indian Institute of Education and non government organisation
(NGO) based in Pabal near Pune in Maharashtra, India. Founded by Dr. S. S. Kalbag in 1983,
the centre believes in learning by doing with a program for training youth that are unsuitable
for academia with practical skills and knowledge.

Team L Page 8
Bamboo as a Structural Material

About Bamboo
While estimates vary, there are over 70 genera divided into about 1,450 species [21]. In India
there are likely 130 species, 16 of which are suitable for construction [4]. Bamboo has been
used as a building component for many centuries with bamboo used for scaffold as long as
5000 years [1].

Figure 1: The terminology and makeup of bamboo [2]

Bamboo has some very exciting and beneficial properties including but not limited to:
Grows 15-18cm/day
Full height after 4-6 months
Harvested within 3-5 years of growth (compared to 20-40 years for timber)
Production energy required for bamboo (per square meter) is only 0.1% of that required
for steel.
Discovering the species of bamboo available in Pabal has been relatively difficult and no
method of easily identifying a species has been possible. Bamboo is known to grow widely in
the area of Pabal and is construction grade and hosts similar properties to Mao Jue and Kao
Jue. The commonly accepted species available in Pabal is Dendrocalamus Strictus, known as
Calcutta bamboo [5][engIndia], and it is suggested that 53% of bamboo grown in India is of
this type.

Figure 2: Typical Bamboo Construction in Pabal

Team L Page 9
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Market
Pabal is located approximately 70km North East of Pune and has a population of
approximately 15,000[engIndia] with 5,000 in the village of Pabal and the remaining in
small houses scattered around, many in hamlets of 5-10 or larger clusters of 500-1000. Most
occupancies are 4-7 member families with 2-3 children and often a grandparent, usually in
dwellings of 2-4 rooms (social space, kitchen, storage for food, clothes and belongings) but
some larger families often have several dwellings.
The end users are to be those poorest families in India in need of a more stable, robust and
safe family home. As a kit the end users will also be the assemblers. It has been identified
that a simple concrete reinforced structure with corrugated roof is INR 21,000 (~GB310). It
is also noted that the poorest may earn INR 2,000/month (~GB30) while a homeopathic
doctor may achieve INR 30,000/month (~GB445).

Figure 3: Typical Simple House in Pabal

This project may be best implemented in small poor rural communities around Vigyan
Ashram in Maharaksha and would fit well amongst other kit based housing projects of
geodesic domes and mud-brick adobe builds.

Figure 4: Geodesic Dome at Vigyan Ashram

Team L Page 10
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Literature
In an effort to determine the key principles for working with bamboo, academic literature,
international standards and patents were searched. The previous reports from EWB students
researching bamboo as a structural component were the first and most valuable resource,
these focus of these works are as follows:
Bamboo Housing in Pabal by Jaspreet Grewal: Bamboo species, material properties,
architectural state of art.
Bamboo Connections by Chris Davies: Bamboo connection taxonomy and testing of
connections.
Investigation of Bamboo Reinforced Concrete for Potential Use in Developing Countries
by Alex Davies: Bamboo reinforced concrete study and experimentation.
Bamboo as a Permanent Structural Component by Chia Bing Liang: Design of structure
and computational analysis of structure and beam, engineering experimentation of
connection and beam.
A very typical structural use of bamboo is for high-rise scaffolding in East Asia, most widely
used in Hong Kong this practice has been banned in China for structures over 6 stories1. In
China there are several standards for bamboo use as flooring or ply-wood sheet style
substitutes however no real documentation on usage in structural settings. Colombia is
another nation that makes widespread use of bamboo, however the standards are limited to
harvesting and preservation despite rife use as a structural component.
So while the national standards do exist in certain contexts, these seem weak and low on
engineering focus, the only real progress towards international standardisation is the work of
the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) on ISO22156: Bamboo
structural design and ISO22157-1: Bamboo determination of physical and mechanical
properties part 1: requirements.

Mechanical Properties
Extensive research and testing of bamboo properties has been done in past [1-5]. The most
relevant properties that will impact the design specification and concept selection such as
Youngs modulus and tensile strength are listed in this capture. As for any natural material
also the bamboo mechanical properties wary from piece to piece and the scientific test are
used as guidance for an analysis of the designed structure.
It has been found that majority of the studies regarding bamboo properties and structural
design have been conducted in China namely at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Such
studies focus on properties of Chinese bamboo species such as Mao Jue and Kao Jue which
are not available in the Pabal village. Following discussion with Vigyan Ashram, it has been
found that the properties of locally grown bamboo Dendrocalamus Strictus are almost
identical to the Mao Jue and Kao Jue species. Therefore properties in this section are
generally regarded as for all bamboo species.

1Landler, Mark (27 March 2002). "Hong Kong Journal; For Raising Skyscrapers, Bamboo Does
Nicely". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/27/world/hong-kong-journal-for-
raising-skyscrapers-bamboo-does-nicely.html.

Team L Page 11
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Youngs Modulus
Youngs modulus is defined as the ratio of the uni-axial stress over the uni-axial strain in the
range of stress in which Hooke's Law holds [1]. Determination of correct Young s modulus is
particularly important for calculation of beam buckling, structure displacement under stress
and bending properties of the bamboo beams. Unlike in steel materials the Youngs modulus
of bamboo material significantly varies within the wall cross-section (the radial distance
from the bamboo centre). Bamboo behaves like composite material therefore a standard
strength and Youngs modulus equations for composites can be applied to determine local
mechanical properties. Tensile strength and Youngs modulus are calculated from the
volume fraction of the fibre and matrix, equation below [2].

E = E f V f + Em (1 V f )
It has been determined that Youngs modulus of the bamboo matrix is 3GPa and fibre
46GPa. However, the significant variation of the fibre content throughout the wall from the
centre outwards makes almost impossible to determine correct Youngs modulus of the
bamboo beam. Figure 1 shows distribution of cellulose fibre through the bamboo wall cross-
section [3].

Figure 5: Percentage of fibre density through the bamboo wall

Tensile and compression strength


Tensile/compression strength, along with Youngs modulus is an important parameter of
engineering materials used in structures and mechanical devices. Similarly to the Youngs
modulus tensile strength bamboo material depends on many variables. The local strength

Team L Page 12
Bamboo as a Structural Material

and Youngs modulus can be calculated from the same Equation 1. Relation of the fibre
content (Vf) in a bamboo wall and its tensile strength is displayed in Figure 2 [2].

Figure 6: Volume fraction of the cellulose fibre vs. tensile strength of bamboo material

The bamboo strength properties depend also on moisture content of the material. As
mentioned in the previous chapter, this project deals with dried and treated bamboo that
should provide the best mechanical properties. However, if such bamboo is inserted into a
wet concrete, it would immediately gain the surrounding moisture and its properties would
degrade significantly. Figure 3 and Figure 4 [4] explain relationship between moisture
content in bamboo material and its compression and tensile strength. It is apparent that
compression strength is much more effected than bending strength which is important for
design of a structure base where the bamboo columns are subjected to the compression
stress and high moisture.

Figure 7: Compressive strength vs. Moisture content (the bamboo beams are subjected to the
compression stress mainly at the house base where moisture is likely to be present due to
weather conditions)

Team L Page 13
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Figure 8: Bending strength vs. Moisture content (all other structure components will be
predominantly subjected to the bending stress)

Comparing mechanical properties of bamboo fibre with other engineering materials it can be
found that bamboo fibre has equivalent tensile strength of 650MPa with tensile strength of
steel (500-1000MPa) and much higher flexibility determined by lower Youngs modulus
value of ~50GPa compared to steels ~200GPa [3]. Ahby [5] compared Bamboo mechanical
properties with other engineering materials and concluded that bamboo fibre material has
specific strength comparable with engineering alloys, ceramics, and bone. In terms of
weight-cost relation bamboo fibre provides even better value than steel [5].

Bamboo

Figure 9: Relationship between Specific modulus and Specific strength to determine cost-
performance properties of bamboo material (upper right corner better value)

Team L Page 14
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Connections
Bamboo has proven to be a very effective structural material however, connecting culms of
bamboo together has long been a problematic issue. The reasons for the difficulty in
connecting bamboo culms are listed below.
Bamboo has a circular profile which is a geometric shape that is inherently difficult to
connect with other members.
Bamboo is hollow which means there is no support in the middle of the culm, so it cannot
be subjected to high compressive forces perpendicular to the culms surface.
As Bamboo is a natural material the culms vary in diameter, wall thickness, length and
quality.
Bamboo has been used as a building material for thousands of years and so numerous
connection systems have been developed. All of these connection systems have their
advantages and disadvantages depending on: the design of the structure, cost, time-frame,
the skill of the builder, the availability of materials and the capabilities of local
manufacturing facilities.
Many of the connection systems compromise the natural mechanical properties of the
bamboo by either requiring an opening (hole or slot) to be created in the wall of the bamboo
culm or putting the culm under high compressive forces that are perpendicular to the culms
axis, which can cause the culm to collapse in on itself. It must be noted that if an opening in
the culm is required, a circular whole is the best option as it resists the highest amount of
stresses and the worst option is a square, rectangular or triangular slot as this causes high
stress concentrations in the corners of the opening. When constructing a connection or
designing new connection system a number of rules must be followed to ensure for a good
connection, these rules are listed below;
1. Avoid openings in culms (e.g. drilling & cutting)
2. Construct joints near nodes (Stronger & protects against water penetration and insects)
3. Treat the bamboo culms (To prevent against rotting)
4. Securely fit joints (e.g. Edge preparation & correct level of tightening)
5. Make durable connections (e.g. Materials, Design, Quality)
6. Reinforce culms under high point loads (e.g. Wood Core Inserts & concrete
reinforcement)
The criteria from the revised project brief allows the evaluation of numerous connection
systems. From relevant literature it is possible to determine which systems are the most
appropriate to the project. The criteria that is required from the connection systems are
detailed below:
Strong
Durable
Simple to construct (for an unskilled workers)
Fast to construct
Low cost
Manufactured from readily available materials
Can be Manufactured Locally

Team L Page 15
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Mortice & Tenon Joint Double Horn Pegged Joint

Appropriate Connection Systems

Connection Method Advantages Disadvantages Feasibility


Simple Lashings -Fast -Security of -Materials are
-Inexpensive connection readily available
-Lightweight dependant on skill -No tools required
-No drilling of worker -The simpler the
required -Connection lashing method
-Can connect becomes lose over a the more people
bamboo in any small period of can use this
direction time due to system.
-Flexible movement of
(Lashing: simple elastic connection, allows structure
lashing) for a degree of
movement

Gusset Plate & Bolting -Very strong & -Relatively heavy -Materials can be
rigid -Requires drilling easily sourced
-Can connect for bolt holes in -Can be
bamboo in many bamboo manufactured on
directions on the -In some mass for
same plane. arrangements a slot connection kits
-Triangulated it required in the -Easy to assemble
(Steel, timber, plywood plates helps to bamboo when in kit form
plates) relieve stress -Time consuming -Relatively
around joint expensive

Sleeve Joint -Simple assembly -Very weak -Materials are


-Fast assembly connection readily available
-Can only Connect -manufacture is
bamboo in one relatively simple
direction by means of
-Diameters of turning or a lathe
connector have to or using hole
be exact and cutters
custom to each
(Wood, plastic & metal
bamboo
connectors

Team L Page 16
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Expandable Joint -Ability to fit into a -Manufacture can -Materials can be


range of bamboos be difficult easily sourced
with different -Manufacturing a -Complex
diameters connection that can manufacture
-Fast assembly connect bamboos reduces feasibility
-Easy assembly in multiple
directions is
(Connector fit inside difficult.
bamboo culms) -Over-tightening
the connection can
split bamboo
Steel Insert & Concrete -Very strong -Requires -Materials can be
Fill -Easy to assembly connection Hub to easily sourced
-Steel rod carries connect multiple -Connection hub
stresses and not bamboos with may be difficult
the bamboo together and expensive to
-Aesthetically -Time consuming manufacture
pleasing to manufacture
-Relatively heavy

(Threaded rod at end)


Wood Core Insert -Shear stress - Diameters of -All materials are
distributed evenly inserts have to be readily available
across bamboo exact and custom -Manufacture is
-Increased ability to each bamboo very quick and
to accept a higher -Not all bamboo simple
bending moment has a perfectly
-Can be treated as circular cross
a timber section
(Adds additional strength component, so
when loaded in the drilling etc is
tangential direction) acceptable

All the connection types have their advantages and disadvantages. The connection systems
listed will be used as a knowledge base to aid the concept generation and development
process for both new bamboo connection systems and bamboo structural design. It must be
noted that a new bamboo connection system may be adapted from one of the existing system
listed and it may also be an amalgamation of different parts of these connection systems.
Once the connection system for the new bamboo structure is finalised the corresponding
connection systems will be analysed in much greater detail.

Team L Page 17
Bamboo as a Structural Material

3. Patents
World-wide patents related to the bamboo constructions and joints for bamboo structures
were reviewed with no conflict identified. Only the two most relevant patents are described
following:

Sectional Bamboo Building Structure - US 2703724


y The connection uses plastic or wooden plug with a thread in the middle
y Both such modified ends are joined by two side bolt
y For angular joints a special segments are used

Method for Preparing a Terminal Assembly for Bamboo - US 6957479


y Author cuts off grooves from the upper side of the bamboo
y Such end is squeezed together and thin metal washer is pulled over
y Bolt is then inserted into the cavity which is subsequently filled by epoxy
y Bamboo rods are joint by threaded segments

Team L Page 18
Bamboo as a Structural Material

4. Architecture
With both the cultural implications and the architectural aspect of this project, research into
modern architectural use of bamboo was performed. It was found that while bamboo has
been used for centuries, few architects and engineers are still utilising bamboo as a structural
component.

Simn Vlez
One of the best known architects of bamboo structures, the Colombian architect Simn
Vlez, has developed a unique approach to building with bamboo. He builds only with his
trained crew and keeps paperwork minimal with simple drawings and freehand sketches on
graph paper, CAD is only used to produce documentation for purchasers.
The designs are manifested in generously overhanging roofs, ingenious load bearing
structures, sophisticated joints, and an innovative combination of materials. While he is
known for bamboo structures such as the ZERI pavilion for Hanover and his nomadic
museum in Mexico City, Velez insists that he is not a bamboo architect but rather a roof
architect and just designs structures that suit bamboo although he is also known to also work
in concrete or mangrove wood.

Figure 10: Simn Vlez ZERI Pavilion Prototype

Velez has produced several seminal bamboo structures, ranging from his massive and
groundbreaking ZERI pavilion to his work on low cost housing. The 2000m2 ZERI pavilion
and nomadic museum are the two largest structures ever built from bamboo with the
pavilion being prototyped and tested full-scale to appease the German authorities.
Meanwhile the low cost house was 60m2 over two levels and designed to be built by the
poorest of Colombia on a self-help basis for the low cost of $5000.

Gauda Tech
The bamboo species of Latin America is Guadua Angustifolia (Kunth), with very favourable
properties for construction it is used by the rich and the poor and has contributed to the
success of bamboo as a building material in Colombia.

Team L Page 19
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Figure 11: Guadua Tech Construction

Guada Tech is a modern system of terminals and joints that can be used with treated Guadua
poles to create temporary and permanent structures. One of the best examples of this usage 2
is the low cost housing structure shown in FOLIO that incorporates Guadua bamboo and
connections with Esterillia panels (Guadua poles broken into sheets manufactured with high
heat and pressure like ply wood) while the roofing is a combination of recycled plastic tin foil
and paper pressed with heat. The model assembles in 4-6 hours and comes in a box weighing
less than a ton.

2 http://koolbamboo.blogspot.com/2008/05/bamboo-emergency-low-income-housing.html

Team L Page 20
Bamboo as a Structural Material

5. Design Specification
A design specification was developed from primary research (discussions and meetings with
Vigyan Ashram) and secondary sources (literature, reports), this can be seen in appendix A.
The following image shows the Pugh design specification categories with the most important
sections darkened.

Figure 12: Pugh Design Specification

Some of the key metrics of this specification include the target price of INR 8000 and a life
in service of 50 years, both proposed by the original brief. Both the low cost and simplicity of
construction are the key factors the original brief requires.
It was also identified that as NGOs, there should be no patent conflicts or licensing
requirements as these will be nearly unsurpassable for the operating parameters of the
organisation.
The types of bamboo suitable need to be clearly discussed and issues identified, while the
design should not fail when using most types of bamboo there may be cases where a type of
bamboo is completely unsuitable and with around 130 species in India alone, identifying
every possible situation is not possible.
For this project a single story, single room building is the goal. The building should perform
admirably with the usual summer highs of 45C and winter lows of 10C and maintain a
reasonable temperature differential of at least 10 degrees, the wind and rain (monsoon)
conditions possible be considered.
Packaging of everything without bamboo should be possible with standard pallets (ISO
standard 6780). This building should be possible to build within one day by two unskilled
workers and maintenance should be possible without risk. Safety is a key feature for shelter,
habitat and building projects so a factor of safety of 3 will be employed as extra re-assurance.

Team L Page 21
Bamboo as a Structural Material

6. Concept Generation
Design of the structure for the bamboo house and the connection system development were
carried as two separate activities but were performed concurrently. Designing these
separately ensured that a limited number of constraints were enforced during the concept
generation phase and the team were free to design the optimum structure and the optimum
connection system for bamboo and the consumer.

Initial Structure Concepts

Concept Generation
Due to the nature of the product it was felt that quick sketch models of structures would be
quicker to produce and more valuable than sketch drawings. The initial concepts were
generated for the bamboo structures aimed to incorporate triangular and geodesic forms as
it was noted from research that these types of structures are very stable, structurally strong
and self supporting. It must also be noted that the concepts aimed to put the bamboo culms
under sheer bending loads rather than compression (axial) loads as bamboo performs better
as beams rather than vertical columns.
In total four early concepts were generated and can be seen in the folio on page 6. The
concept generation task aimed to be divergent in nature producing many different types of
structures. The concept generation phase provided a good foundation for the development of
the structures.

Figure 13: Examples of Early Concept Structures

Concept Evaluation
To ensure that the development of the structures was on the correct path, the early sketch
models were presented to the client for evaluation. This very early evaluation of concepts
limited the risk of re-work and back-tracking as well as providing extremely useful feedback
on the client requirements which was vital during the development stages.
The clients were excited by the diversity of the concepts and the opportunity for
development. Two main points came out of the client evaluation that were firstly, the clients
noted that upright columns could be used alone within the structures, as the diameter of the
bamboo would be large enough to withstand the compression loading of a roof. This
increased the flexibility of the forms that could be used during the development of the

Team L Page 22
Bamboo as a Structural Material

structures. Secondly, it was pointed out that the Indian people prefer traditional concrete
and box-shaped housing, which is composed of primarily square and rectangular forms
particularly the roof.

Initial Connections System Concepts


To enable effective concept generation for the connection systems, guidelines and rules were
set out before the concept generation exercise. The designers aimed to follow the guidelines
and rules during the concept generation exercise.

Connection System Guidelines Connection System rules


Ability to connect bamboo culms of 1: Construct joints near nodes
varying diameter (Stronger & protects against water and
Strong insects)
Durable 2: Avoid openings in culms
Simple to Construct (e.g. drilling & cutting)
Fast Construct 3: Securely fit joints
(e.g. Edge preparation)
Low Cost
4: Make durable connections
Manufactured from Readily Available
(e.g. Materials, Design, Quality)
Materials and standard components
5: Reinforce culms under high point loads
Manufactured Locally (e.g. Wood Core Inserts)

Each team member generated three connection concepts each, thus giving a total of nine
concept connection systems. The concepts can be seen in the folio on pages 7 and 8, details
are given on their design feature, advantages and disadvantages. The concepts that were
generated were designed to connect bamboo culms together without any focus on what
structure they might be suitable for. The generated concepts would be developed to suit a
particular structure during the concept development stage, once the final structure design is
known.

The connection concepts were evaluated through team discussions which were facilitated by
a concept scoring matrix, which can be seen in the folio on page 8, right. The evaluation
criteria incorporated aspects of both the concept generation guidelines and connection rules
and are listed below:

Severity of the bamboo damage


Skill requirements for installation
Ability to assemble a complex structure
Long term strength sustainability
Labour requirements for the bamboo reparation
Appearance of finished joint
Applicability to variable bamboo diameter
Low volume manufacturing cost
High volume manufacturing cost
Strength in axial direction
Strength in the radial direction

Team L Page 23
Bamboo as a Structural Material

From the matrix it is evident that concept nine was the best concept connection system. It
scored well for all the evaluation criteria. Concept nine had a number of distinct advantages
including:

Ability to connect bamboo culms of varying diameter with the same strength.
The connection plate can be cut and formed in many different configurations.
A consistently secure connection (high repeatability) can be made by an unskilled
worker.
The strapping system (jubilee clip/pallet strapping/industrial cable-tie) is formed
from standard and readily available materials/components.

7. Concept Development
Developed Structure Concepts
The developed structure concepts were constructed using larger wooden sticks and built to a
scale of 25:1. Building to this scale made the models more tangible and made it easier to
visualise the final structure. Before the development of the structures began, three key
criterions were set out. Firstly, the structures should have a form of square roof to ensure
that it is accepted culturally. Secondly, the structure should be based around an inherently
strong shape. Thirdly, the structure should be modular in design, thus allowing multiple
structures to be connected together to form larger structures.
The idea for the modular design was spawned from the needs of the consumer, with the
target market of poor familities there would be little capital funds to spend on a large home
or structure however they would have enough money to buy a small structure that could over
time be extended by adding more structures/rooms. Joining the structures could be used
when more family space is required or to add different spaces such as storage or business
premises.

Figure 14: The Selected Developed Concept Structure

The developed structures can be seen in the folio on page 9. The images are annotated and
give details on the design features for each structure; these were evaluated by in-depth team
discussions which covered criteria such as:
The strength of the structure

Team L Page 24
Bamboo as a Structural Material

The number of connections required


The number of bamboo culms required
The floor space and enclosed volume of the structure
The skill requirement for installation
The ease of maintenance and repair
The weather protection that the structure provides
The amount of cladding required
The aesthetic of the structure
The team unanimously agreed that concept C, folio page 9, was the best overall concept
structure and would provide the basis for the final structure design. The idea for the hexagon
shape of concept 9 was generated from an analogy with bee hives and honey combs. The
hexagon shape is an inherently strong shape and is a very modular 'friendly' shape; one
hexagon structure could potentially have six other hexagon structures seamlessly connected
to it.
It was also agreed that the beneficial features from concept b, folio page 9, were highlighted
for integration into the final design. Such as the diagonal support struts in the walls, the
overhanging roof for increased protection from the rain and the raised floor of the house
which eliminates the risk of flooding and increases the lifespan of the bamboo floor beams.
At this stage the final structure was loosely defined and therefore the development of the
connection system could be initiated.

Developed Connection System Concepts


The hexagon structure that was selected required two key connection designs; the
connection points at the bottom hexagon and the connection points at the top hexagon which
also connects the roof. The team aimed to develop 'concept 9' from the connection system
concept generation exercise to provide a connection system for these two connection points
on the selected structure.
Through a team design exercise two connection plate designs were generated. One for the
bottom hexagon connection points and one for the top hexagon roof connection points. The
connection plates were modelled on CAD and laser cut in PMMA plastic to enable the
designs to be evaluated though physical modelling. These models can be found in folio page
10.
The key output from the physical modelling of the connection revealed that the two
connection plates could be amalgamated to produce a simple universal connection plate that
could be used throughout the full structure, including the connection points at the roof. The
physical modelling also helped define key sizes for the final connection plate design such as
the position of the slots and the bolting holes which are used for the connection. These were
refined during a design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) exercise which is detailed in
the DfMA section of the report.

Team L Page 25
Bamboo as a Structural Material

8. DfMA of the Base Plate


Design for Manufacture
Considering the limited range of the material available in Pabal village and limited
manufacturing processes, mild steel (low carbon) was chosen to be most appropriate
material for the base plate. The manufacturing process of the base plate would depend on
production volume. For a small to medium production of up to 10,000 pieces, the cheapest
option would be laser cutting, abrasive water jet cutting or plasma cutting. Above this 10,000
threshold the base plate should be stamped. Tooling cost for the 300x300mm die and punch
would be in range from 15,000 to 45,000 [17] depending on the die material, accuracy
and complexity.
Another significant factor of the tooling cost is the punch footprint area. Boothroyd in 2002
[18] empirically analyzed the relationship between the plate area and the die cost and based
on this our parts would cost at least $800. This is a rather theoretical cost and so with
inflation of 5% would be $1300, still very low compared to real quotes.

Team L Page 26
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Design for Punching


Strap Slots
The original position of the straps was to be inside of the metal sheet, in this case an extra
punch would be needed to cut out the rectangular hole. Therefore to reduce the tooling cost
without compromising functionality the slot feature was moved to the sheet edge so that the
slot cut-out could be included in the main body of the die.

Figure 15: Position of the strap slots to reduce tooling cost

Material Utilisation
During the stamping process material utilisation is important for efficient manufacturing
and to minimise excess. Each individual part has to fit on the blank and leave minimum
waste after the stamping process. For this reason the corner of the diagonal shoulder was cut
off shown in Figure 16 and saved 8% of the raw material (4cm strip) and therefore
significantly reduced its cost.

Saved material

Figure 16: Cut corner to minimize waste

Amount of the waste material was also reduced by including the diagonal strengthening
shoulder only on one side of the blank. Based on the FEA simulation, diagonal strengthening
of the structure would be sufficient in every second plane and there is no need for supports
in both diagonal directions so one diagonal shoulder was modelled on one side. Therefore,
the blank can be compounded on one sheet of the metal very efficiently, see Figure 17.

Team L Page 27
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Waste
material

Used
material

Figure 17: Design for the stamping to minimize waste.

Figure 18: Recommended modification of the blank shape to reduce waste [3]

Minimum Hole Diameter


According to the rules of the design for the punching tool the hole diameter should not be
smaller than two times thickness of the blank [19], therefore the minimum size of the slot
should be 6.5mm. If the construction is going to be fixed to the concrete base, normalized
bolts are likely to be used, so the standard size of the hole for the M10 bolt is 10.5mm and
11mm. The 10.5mm diameter of the hole was chosen for this design.

10.5m
m

Figure 19: Diameter of the hole was determined from the minimum blanking hole related to the
metal sheet thickness. The diameter of the hole is normalized for the M10 bolt.

Team L Page 28
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Part Similarity
Despite the redundant features on the blank that are not used at every joint, they are kept on
the blank in order to reduce diversity of the base plate types, and lower the manufacturing
cost. The blank shape is identical for all joints of the structure with different combinations
and pairs of bends. For example the diagonal strengthening shoulder is not used in the roof
or support joints and the wing that fixes the structure to the base has no purpose on the roof
as shown in Figure 20. Orientation of the base plate shoulders used for bottom connection
changed from horizontal orientation to vertical orientation so that identical shape of the
blank can be used for both locations as in Figure 21.

No use in this type of


the connection

Figure 20: Base wing is redundant when used at top of walls or on roof.

Figure 21: Orientation of the shoulder at the bottom of the construction has changed from
horizontal to vertical position so that the same blank can be used for bottom base as well as top
roof plates.

Team L Page 29
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Design for Bending


Bending angles of the base plate were designed for minimal variance; there are only three
angles employed 30, 60 and 45 therefore, the bending press can be set on three hard
stops. This could significantly reduce the fabrication time and cost of the joint. Figure 22
below shows all three angle alternatives that repeat across the structure.

45

30
60

Figure 22: Only three different angles are utilized in order to simplify the bending operation.

Design for Assembly


Strap Slots
The second purpose of the slots being placed at the edge of the base plate, as shown in Figure
23, is simple assembly. The metal strap does not have to be fed through a slot and so can be
wound around both base plate and bamboo beam. Much less plastic deformation of the low
carbon strips will occur due to the reduced manipulation for this configuration.

Figure 23: The slots placed at the edge of the base plate significantly reduce the assembling time
as the strip can be wound around the two pieces instead of running in the slots.

Team L Page 30
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Distance of the Holes


Holes that are used for fixing of the structure to the concrete base were designed so there is
easy worker access for bolt tightening even with maximum bamboo diametersat maximum
diameter of used bamboo as in Figure 24. To determine the minimum clearance between
spanner and shoulder, the chart in Figure 25 was used and based on usage of open-ended
wrench so was set at 75mm.

75mm

120mm

Figure 24: Distance of the holes was determined from maximum diameter of the bamboo
(100mm) and easy access of the spanner.

Figure 25: Recommended clearance for different types of wrench. The most common wrench in
Pabal is open-end one therefore minimum clearance of 75mm was chosen.

Team L Page 31
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Distance of the Slots


Distance of the slots was estimated to enable assembly of the base plate, bamboo and metal
straps. Each position of the slot was optimized in CAD assembly model. A concept model of
the base plate was cut from PMMA plastic to determine how the assembly works together in
reality. Some positions of the slots and also their dimensions were modified based on the full
scale model.

Figure 26: Position of several slots had changed to simplify final assembly. Real model made of
PMMA plastic was used to realize potential issues during assembly.

Team L Page 32
Bamboo as a Structural Material

9. Finite Element Analysis


Several iterations of the FEA were run to test various design options of the structure. Firstly
the applied load on the structure was calculated. Secondly simulation could be carried out
with the real load figures.

Estimation of the Structure Load


Vertical Load
Load of the bamboo beams used as support for the roofing material was calculated from
the weight of roof covered by corrugated metal and one adult worker standing on top of
the construction.
The metal thickness generally used for such corrugated roofing is 0.5mm [20] with a
planar weight of such material at (7800kg/m3 density of metal) 7.8kg/m2.
Hexagonal shape of the base with maximum length of the beam at 2m.

Figure 27, area of one roof segment is 1.73m2 creating force of 13.5kg.

Top view

One worker (90kg)


the construction
1/6th area of the
roof = 1.73m2 Bamboo weight
Equal to 13.5kg of 10kg
weight of roofing

Figure 27: Graphical representation of the structure load.

There are 6 such segments creating total load of 81kg 810N. Assuming that there will
be no column in middle of the room, this load of 810N will be carried by 6 bamboo
columns placed in each corner. Additional force of 10kg due to bamboo own weight is
added to the calculations. Worker has to climb up in order to assemble the roof, his
weight is 90gk equal to 900N therefore in worst case scenario is subjected to the
maximum force of (810N+100N+900N) = 1910N.

Team L Page 33
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Horizontal Load
Wind force from the side of the structure is calculated for maximum wind speed of 100
kilometres per hour.

F = A x P x Cd [14,15]
F= horizontal force
A area of the house from side
P wind pressure for 100km/h = 478N/m2
Cd flow coefficient

Flat area of the house = 4m2, with Cd coefficient 2 F1= 3824N


Angular area of the house = 5.5m2, wind Cd coefficient 1.2 F2= 3150N

Total force of the wind of speed 100km/h on side of the house is 6974N ~ 7kN. Illustration of
the wind impact on the structure is in Figure 28
.

Figure 28: Impact of the wind on the bamboo structure [15].

Team L Page 34
Bamboo as a Structural Material

FEA Analysis of the Structure

F
Run 1
A force F=1810N was applied on the roof of the
bamboo house to find out the critically stressed
locations. This process was particularly efficient
for improving static performance of the
structure. The figure shows extensive stress in
the upper joint area. Based on orientation of the
stressed corner, it is suggested to be tension
stress. It could be eliminated by adding a
ribband. The maximum stress in this structure
was 4.1MPa (10% of the bamboo ultimate
strength).

Run 2
The ribband (dotted red line) that strengthens
the upper corner was added to the structure and
the maximum local stress decreased by 20% to
3.2MPa. Aim of this optimization was to load all
beams of the construction equally so that the
roof load would be more equally distributed.
Therefore the ribband was moved to the middle
of the roof beam.

Team L Page 35
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Run 3
Placing the ribband to the middle of the roof
resulted in even better reduction of the
maximum stress to 2.3MPa equal to 10% of the
bamboo ultimate stress which proofs the
robustness of the hexagonal structure.

Run 4
Also horizontal force of 7kN was added to the
simulation to simulate wind from side of the
structure. Location of the maximum stress
moved from the upper corner to the bottom of F
the construction. Its value was 42MPa,
considerably higher than effect of the vertically
oriented load. Diagonal bamboo beams were
added to the structure to support walls of the
building in horizontal direction.

Team L Page 36
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Run 5
Adding the diagonal supports reduced the local
stress at the base of the construction to 21MPa.
Detailed design of the base connection has to be
carefully optimized and tested. The maximum
stress at the connection is as 50% of the bamboo
ultimate stress, equal to safety factor 2.
Mechanical testing of the connections would be
appropriate to assure stability of the structure.

Team L Page 37
Bamboo as a Structural Material

FEA of the base plate

Bamboo beam modelling

Size of the bamboo was determined from the material available locally at Pabal village.
Standard sizes between 2 and 6 are generally available, therefore size of 80mm ~ 3.5
has been chosen for the FEA in Pro/Engineer, see Figure 29.
Internal structure of the bamboo including distance between the nodes and increased
wall thickness at the node location were manually measured and scaled from the bamboo
sample shipped from Pabal.
The maximum allowed stress in the bamboo was derived from Ming Lu (2002) [11]
empirical experiments on dry and wet bamboo where the recommended maximum
compression stress for dry bamboo was determined to 58MPa including safety factor
k=2.

Figure 29: Diameter of the bamboo used in the simulation

Concept design of the metal base plate

Dimensions of the base plate were estimated from the initial stage sketches. Width of the
slot in the base plate holding the strap was derived from the real size of the low carbon
steel strap selected from the supplier.
Thickness of the base plate was drafted as a model parameter and was the only variable
optimised by the FEA based on maximum allowed stress (complex stress including
tension, compression and sheer).
The maximum allowed stress in the base plate was determined from standard allowed
stress of the mild steel with yield stress of 300MPa, safety factor k=2 and assumption
that the material in the slots is subjected to the shear stress in which case the maximum
allowed shear stress can be calculated as 60% of the maximum allowed tension stress.

Team L Page 38
Bamboo as a Structural Material

These considerations led to the final value of 75MPa as maximum allowed complex stress
in the steel sheet.
Figure 30 below displays two thicknesses of 12mm and 1mm that were entered into the
optimization calculations as model limits.

Figure 30: Limit thickness of 12mm left and 1mm right.

Setup of the simulation/optimization


Constrains of the model were determined from the real situation where the edges of the slots
will likely take all applied load if the joint is properly assembled by metal straps.
All factors described in previous chapter were entered into the Mechanica module of the
Pro/Engineer software which optimized the base plate thickness without exceeding the
maximum allowed stress. The final value of 3.2mm base plate thickness was calculated to be
an ideal solution with the maximum stress of 62MPa as can be seen on Figure 31 below.

Figure 31: Results of the optimization study, wall thickness 3.2mm, maximum stress 62MPa.

As expected the maximum stress was identified to be at location where metal straps
support the structure, detail in Figure 32 right. Also some bending stress was found in
the neck location, Figure 32 left.

Team L Page 39
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Figure 32: Two critical points of the base plate with the ultimate load.

Whole system has been modeled as parametric therefore any changes in the base plate
thickness or dimensions would automatically update and remodel the metal strap shape and
dimensions. The particular joint in the simulation was chosen based on assumption that this
location would be subjected to the greatest load in the whole structure. As displayed in
Figure 33 and Figure 34 below.

Figure 33: Location of the most loaded joint in the structure.

Team L Page 40
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Modelled Connection

Figure 34: Location of the heaviest loaded joint of the structure.

Team L Page 41
Bamboo as a Structural Material

10. Mechanical Testing


In order to validate the FEA process and test
actual behaviour of the base plate when
subjected to load, a full size and real
material model was manufactured and
mechanically tested in the mechanical
engineering laboratory. The original design
of the base plate used in FEA changed
according to the DfMA. The design and
dimensions of the mechanically tested
sample are identical to the final product.

The destructive mechanical tests were


carried out to determine ultimate forces.
Orientation and setup of the applied force
was estimated to represent reality as close
as possible. The force amplitudes captured
by the hydraulic press were modelled in
Pro/Engineer Mechanica to determine real
internal stress in the material.

Bending Test 1
This bending test was derived from the real situation scenario where the vertical and
diagonal beams are fixed to the base plate and on the top beam is load of a roofing worker.
Such situation would create identical setup as below, Figure 35.

Force

Clamped

Figure 35: Graphical view of test 1.

Team L Page 42
Bamboo as a Structural Material

The first bending test begins at


0N load and 0mm displacement. Bending test A
The base plate behaves according
Displacement [mm]
to the Hooks law and the flexible
deformation continues until -12 -10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0
reaching the yield point I, Figure 0
37. From the point I, the plastic
deformation takes place and the -2,000
base plate starts to collapse as
displayed in Figure 36. One can
-4,000

Load [N]
read out the maximum load from
the diagram to be 6.5kN before I
the base plate collapses if fixed at -6,000
II
the bottom.
-8,000
Bending Test 2 III
When the stress reached the -10,000
yield point during test 1, the base
plate was clamped in upper -12,000
location, Figure 38. This was to
simulate behaviour of the base Figure 37: Results of the first and second bending test.

plate when subjected to the


maximum load when top section
of the base plate is fixed. This
situation could occur when a
roofer is laying down the
corrugated metal sheets and
standing at the top of the
bamboo structure. This clamping
setup of the tested sample
resulted in change of the
curvature of the diagram Figure
36, detail II. Meaning, the base-
pate is more rigid when clamped
on both top and bottom
locations. The flexible
Figure 36: Yield location of test 1.
deformation of the sample continued up to the force of 11kN after which the sample buckled
(collapsed), Figure 36, detail III. After that point, even lower force than 11kN would lead to
bending of the base plate.

Team L Page 43
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Force

Clamped

Figure 38: Graphical view of test 2.

Figure 39: Yield location of test 1.

Figure 40: Detail of the shoulder buckling after exceeding the critical load of 11kN, the detail III of
Figure 37.

Team L Page 44
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Bending Test 3
The third test was carried out in order to simulate the force that would be required to bend
the shoulder in planar orientation. This force can be in reality created by wind in horizontal
direction that acts as a force perpendicular to the structure wall. Such bending force can be
found at the bottom of the structure or at the base of the roof.

Clamped
Force

Figure 41: Graphical view of test 3.


Significantly lower force was needed to bend the base plate in planar direction, see Figure 43.
The ultimate bending force when yield occurred was 650N, 20 times lower than test 1 and 2.
The moderate gradient after the yield point I, Figure 43, can be explained as movement of
the dislocations in the ferrite crystals. The process is called plastic strengthening for instance
used for improving mechanical properties of Ultra Fine Grained materials.

Figure 42: Base plate after test 3.

Control of the ultimate stress of test 2 & 3

Mb LF 100 mm 10 kN
2 = = = = 550 MPa
Ib W H 2
3mm 60 mm
2

6
6
Mb LF 100 mm 600 N
3 = = = = 670 MPa
Ib W H 2
60 mm 3 mm
2

6
6

Team L Page 45
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Bending test B

Displacement [mm]
-25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0
0

-100

-200

Load [N]
-300

-400

I
-500

-600

-700

Figure 43: Results of the third bending test

Figure 44: Plastic deformation of the base plate shoulder after the third destructive test.

Figure 45: Yield location of test 3.

Team L Page 46
Bamboo as a Structural Material

11. Failure Mode Effect Analysis


Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) is a methodology which is used to evaluate a
design for potential failures. The identified failures are also prioritised relative to how severe
the consequences of the failures are and the likelihood of the failures occurring [11].
The identification and prioritisation of potential failures enables the designers to concentrate
on reducing or eliminating the potential failures that have a high magnitude of risk. The
FMEA also provides details on what actions can be taken to overcome the identified problem
areas.
An FMEA was carried out for the final design of the bamboo house. The full analysis of the
design can be seen in the folio on page 13 of the folio. For each part ratings are given for
severity, occurrence and detection of the potential failure modes. These ratings are then
multiplied together to produce a Risk Priority Number (RPN).

RPN = S x O x D

The RPN figure enables the designer to easily distinguish problem areas with a high
magnitude of risk. Problems areas with a high RPN should be addressed or the part should
be redesigned to decrease the RPN.
The FMEA revealed that maintenance checks of the structure are imperative, particularly for
the bamboo culms and the connection strapping as they were identified as parts that could
degrade overtime and the degradation could be difficult to detect. It is known that the
bamboo culms degrade over time as they are very susceptible to degradation from
environmental exposure. It was also identified that the connection strapping should be
highly resistant to environmental exposure. Both parts would be difficult to visually check as
they are likely to be fully covered by cladding. This gave the potential failures of the bamboo
culms and connection strapping a RPN of 240 and 200 respectively.
The aforementioned problems can be addressed with the suggested 'actions' from the FMEA.
The bamboo culms that are selected should be treated for weather resistance and the
cladding should fully protect the culms from environmental exposure. Instruction should be
given to the consumer on how to check the bamboo culms for degradation. This could be
done at the point of purchase by showing the consumer examples of 'good' and 'bad' bamboo.
The material for the connection strapping should be highly resistant to environmental
exposure as well has having sufficient strength, this should eliminate the need for regular
maintenance checks of the strapping.
The selection of the bamboo was also a very important matter. The bamboo culms that are
used within the structure should have a very high structural integrity. Detailed instructions
should be given to the consumer at the point of purchase on how to select appropriate
bamboo culms. The culms should be treated for weather resistance and should not have any
cracks or rotting areas. The bamboo culms should also be of a specific diameter to ensure for
strength. The diameter of the culms will be addressed in the detail design stage.
The FMEA also highlighted problems with the ability of the consumer to create a secure
connection. The strapping should be tight enough to provide a secure connection and the clip
for the strapping should be 'crimped' firmly. To ensure that the consumer knows how to
create a secure connection a demonstration should be given at the point of purchase. An

Team L Page 47
Bamboo as a Structural Material

installation tool should also be used to apply the connection strapping, this will ensure for
consistently strong connections.
The FMEA was a successful activity that identified a number of problems with the final
concept design of the bamboo house. Addressing these problems will ensure that the final
design is structurally sound and safe. The problems identified will be tackled at the detailed
design stage and the implementation stage.

12. Bamboo Prototyping


To enable a realistic prototype to be constructed the team chose to build the prototype in half
size with real bamboo culms. This would help the team validate if the design was effective
when used with bamboo culms of varying diameter and straightness. For the connection
plates the team approach sheet metal fabricators for quotes for material, cutting and
forming. However, the prices proved to outwith the resources of the project. Instead 6mm
acrylic plastic was used and the bends were formed using a strip wire heater. It must be
noted that the acrylic plastic is very brittle and therefore does not represent the accurate
strength of the final mild steel connection plates. However, the acrylic connection plates
proved to be sufficient for the prototype.

The bamboo prototype was assembled in less than two hours and was very simple to
assemble. The cable tie connection system was extremely fast and secure and proved that the
design of the connection system was very effective; strong and user friendly. The structure
itself was also very stable even though only two diagonal support beams were unavailable. It
must be noted that the diagonal support beams, roof overhangs and floor beams could not be
included due to a shortage of bamboo culms

A key problem that was highlighted was the splitting of the bamboo after construction of the
house. It is suggested that this is due to the bamboo culms being indoors in an air
conditioned room, which caused the bamboo culms to dry out and thus split. It is also
understood that the culms being used are much smaller than the culms that would be used
for a full sized structure. Larger culms would be less likely to split due to their larger wall
thickness and would they be situated outdoor thus keeping them reasonably moist.

Building the prototype not only helped validate the structure and connection system
concepts but also helped produce assembly instructions which could be used for the
implementation of the full sized structures. The assembly instructions can be seen in section
below of the report. With the aid of the assembly instructions and with two team members, it
is believed that the prototyped could be built within thirty minutes. A time-lapse video of the
prototype construction can be seen in the accompanying CD.

Team L Page 48
Bamboo as a Structural Material

13. Build Instructions


Parts List

Bamboo Culms
Species: Local to Pabal
Minimum Diameter: 3 Inches, 76mm
Maximum Diameter: 6 Inches, 152mm
Check to ensure that bamboo culms are not rotten, cracked or splitting.
Part Specification

Length: 2.7m
C1 (Yellow)
Diagonal Support Struts Quantity: 5

Length: 2.3m
C2 (Red)
Roof Beams Quantity: 4

Length: 2m
C3 (Green)
Beams & Columns Quantity: 20

Length: 1.7m
C4 (Blue)
Floor Beams (Large) & Roof Support Struts Quantity: 6

Length: 1m
C5 (Purple)
Floor Beams (Small) Quantity: 2

Total Quantity of Culms: 37

Total Quantity of Bamboo: 74.9m

Team L Page 49
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Connection Plates

R1
T1 R1 T3

T2 T2
T3 T1

B1 B2

B3
B3

B1
F1 B2
F1

Total: 16 Connection Plates

Material: Mild Steel


Thickness: 3mm

Team L Page 50
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Connection Strapping

Manufacturer: Hellermann Tyton Manufacturer: Hellermann Tyton


Product: Stainless Steel Cable Tie Product: Cable Tie Installation Gun
Type: MBT14XH (Metal Ball bearing Ties) Model: MK9SST
Material: Stainless Steel Type SS316 (Installation tool will be made
Length:362mm, Width:12.3mm, Thickness:0.3mm available to rent from bamboo
Min. Tensile Strength: 715, 3200lbs housing supplier)
Quantity: 148

A similar connection strapping system will be sourced in India to ensure cost effective construction of
the bamboo house. The system should be validated to guarantee strength and usability.

Creating a Connection

At the point of purchase, a demonstration will be given detailing, how to select appropriate bamboo,
how to use the installation gun and how to check that the connection is secure.

Key Notes:
Keep the bamboo culms to the outside of the connection plate, apart from the floor beams.
When attaching the 'side' bamboo culms, leave enough space for the central bamboo culm.
Ensure that the cable tie is tightly wrapped around both the bamboo culm and connection
plate.
Ensure that the cable tie is not twisted.
Do not over tighten the cable tie; this may cause the bamboo culm to crack
Ensure that the cable tie is properly and firmly crimped.

Team L Page 51
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Step 1 - Bottom Hexagon Construction

Step: 1.A

B1

C3 C3

B3 B2

C3 C3

B2 B3

C3 C3

B1

Step: 1.B

B1

C3 C3
C5

B3 B2
C4 C4
F1

C3 C3 C3

F1
C4 C4
B2 B3

C5
C3 C3

B1

Position the bottom hexagon on suitable ground. Lift the bottom hexagon and position
plinths under each connection point. Bolt the connection plates onto the plinths.

Team L Page 52
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Step 2 - Attach Upright Columns


B1
C3

B3 C3 C3 B2

B2 C3 C3 B3

C3

B1

Attach upright bamboo culms (C3) to each of the outer connection points of the bottom
hexagon.

(Floor beams not shown)

Team L Page 53
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Step 3 - Construct Top Hexagon

Step: 3.A
Attach the appropriate connection plates to the top of the upright bamboo culms.

T1

C3 C3

T2 T3

C3 C3

T3 T2

C3 C3

T1

Step: 3.B
Attach bamboo culms (C3) to each of the connection points to form the top hexagon.

Team L Page 54
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Step 4 - Attach Diagonal Support Beams

Attach diagonal support beams (C1) to the walls of the bamboo house. A minimum of three walls
(every second wall) must be supported.

T T

C1

B B

Team L Page 55
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Step 5 - Construct the Roof

Step: 5.A
Assemble roof as one separate unit.

C2 C2

C4 R1 C3 R1 C4

C2 C2

Step: 5.B
Lift the roof and position it on top of the top hexagon. Attach the roof at each of the connection points
on the top hexagon. Ensure that an overhang of 0.3m is left over each connection point.

Team L Page 56
Bamboo as a Structural Material

14. Modular Bamboo House Construction

The bamboo house structure is modular in design thus allowing multiple structures to be
attached together creating a much larger structure. Attaching the bamboo houses together
also makes the overall structure more stable as they support each other. The bamboo houses
can be attached together with cable ties or with standard construction strapping as seen in
the image below.
Product: Construction Strapping
Material: Stainless Steel (Grade 304)
Width: 10-20mm
Thickness: 0.3-0.5mm

The bamboo houses can be clad with various different materials depending on the local
resources.

Team L Page 57
Bamboo as a Structural Material

15. Costing and Manufacturing


There are several aspects to consider in order to estimating a reasonable cost for a single
hexagonal unit. The obvious starting place is with the bamboo beams, connections and
strapping. As detailed in the build steps above the amount of bamboo required is
approximately 75m that is to be cut into combinations that total 37 beams. From discussion
with Vigyan Ashram it is suggested that the suitable bamboo can be as cheap as 13 Indian
Rupees or 0.20 per meter. These beams will be attached to sheet metal connection plates
with two straps at each end and of length 0.6m, totalling 148 straps at just under 90m. In
order to allow further strapping of cladding, walls and floors this was increased to 150m and
at a cost of 0.10 per square meter is minimal influence.

A sheet metal manufacturer [13] was contacted to find out the manufacturing cost of the
connection plate. The first three quotes in the diagram Figure 46Error! Reference source
not found. were offered for manufacturing of 1, 12 and 100 pieces as 67, 11.50 and 7
respectively. The final figure approximating 2.50 is cost of the material only. Mitallsteel
[16] sells 1x2m wide and 3mm thick mild steel for 45 and there is a possibility to
manufacture 18 pieces of the connection plates from one sheet. Therefore the mass
production cost of one piece would approximate cost of the material at 2.80. Figure 46 also
suggests manufacturing processes that can be used for different number of pieces which is
also associated with different manufacturing costs [iii]. For 16 of these blanked and formed
connections using stamping manufacture this could be as low as 45 for a single hex unit.
These primary materials give the following calculation and a cost of 75, inside our target
cost.

Team L Page 58
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Secondary to these and while implementation and testing of is not fully covered for this
project, the roofing, flooring, cladding and insulation are also required and can add
significant cost to the project. Using a range of typical UK building suppliers including B&Q,
Wickes, Screwfix, etc. rough estimates were made for the following materials:

While the roof and flooring are taken as simple single layers of the respective materials, the
walls require several layers from inside to out of:
Internal plasterboard
Diffusion foil
Wool insulation
Diffusion foil
Locally available and inexpensive material (not costed) for outer protection
Combining these secondary materials with our main structure the following calculations give
and a total cost of 375 for our bamboo hex unit.

This now far exceeds our target cost, however in India many substitutes could be made for
the UK products of wall insulation and plasterboard, chipboard flooring and corrugated steel
roofing we selected with locally sourced cheap alternatives.

Team L Page 59
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Plasma, flame cutting Abrasive water jet cutting

Connection plate manufacturing cost


80
Manufacturing cost []

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

0
1 10 100 1000 10000 100000 1000000

Number of pieces [ ]

CNC punching

Punching

Figure 46: Sheet Manufacturing

Team L Page 60
Bamboo as a Structural Material

16. Implementation
Just as Vigyan Ashram produces the geodesic domes as a do-it-yourself kit [22] for the
lower-middle class of rural and urban populations of India, this project aims to pro vide
bamboo housing as a kit, it too will target those in need of fast and cheap shelter. The
package will include sheet metal connections, strapping, tools and instructions as a kit so
that the user can purchase bamboo locally at more suitable prices although the suitable
species will need to be clearly identified.
The instructions are included above as a step-by-step guide that are typical of flat-pack
purchases; if the steps are followed it is likely a suitable hexagonal hut can be build by two
unskilled workers within one day. It is unlikely the sheet connections could be used for many
other configurations but it is very possible for other suitably trained engineers could adapt
this concept of bamboo, strapping and sheet connection for other arrangements.
Using locally sourced alternatives for flooring, roofing and walls the price for this structure
could be under 180/12,000 INR for a 10m2 structure, a reasonable price to pay for a shelter
in poor areas of India that retains the key features of box-shaped buildings so avoiding the
cultural problems of domes and tents. With the modular configuration, additional rooms and
structures can be easily added once further funds are available to the purchaser/family.

17. Future Work


Cultivation
While these structures are going to be widely used the high demand for bamboo will likely
increase its cost. The local people would be in the same situation as at the beginning when
they could not afford the house. Therefore, systematic grooving of the appropriate species of
bamboo in controlled quality would mitigate potential issued with its increasing price. If
simple and efficient strategy for the bamboo cultivation is developed, Pabal people would be
able to grow the bamboo on their own which would significantly reduce the house cost.
Further, having the joints made of weather resistant material, the locals can even fix or
rebuild the house every 5 years when the new crop of bamboo is ready.

Bamboo treatment
Bamboo is locally treated to improve its mechanical properties. Boric acid and sulphur
solutions may lead to health complications of the house inhabitants. Therefore, it would be
appropriate to investigate health and safety impact of the bamboo treatment. Another, more
efficient methods of the bamboo treatment should be investigated in order to improve its
structural performance.

Flooring and cladding


Focus of this project was on design of low cost joining mechanism and design of house
structure. However, there are still other factors influencing the final cost of the house such as
the roof, wall and floor covering materials and their attachments. Hence, the future work
should focus on selection of non-expensive covering materials and their attachment to the

Team L Page 61
Bamboo as a Structural Material

bamboo structure with respect to the local weather conditions, mechanical performance and
availability in Pabal.

Real scale model and testing


Half scale model was built in the DMEM department to demonstrate functionality of the
hexagonal structure. However, full scale model should be built before mass deployment in
order to empirically test endurance of the structure and its mechanical properties. This
should be carried out in local, Pabal, environment to experience skills of the local people,
quality of local material and readiness of the structure.

18. Conclusion
This project started with research of previous bamboo investigations by EWB students and
the academic literature available on bamboo properties, connection systems and bamboo
usage. It was found that much academic work has been done on mechanical properties
testing and the use of bamboo as structural re-enforcing. Meanwhile it seems little effort has
been made into a complete implementation study or design project for developing nations.
Once a good understanding of bamboo and related literature was attained, the connection
system options were investigated and explored with a research and concept development
phase. There are several types of bamboo connection; with lashing as the most common but
least structured option, it was decided a new method to standardise and improve upon the
lashing process would be worthwhile.
Concurrently research was performed into architectural usage of bamboo and found despite
the long history of usage; bamboo has fallen out of favour in modern structures except for a
few pioneering architects and organisations in Colombia or the Far East such as Simn Vlez
and Guadua Tech.
Concept modelling was used to investigate and develop a structural system that could be
implemented as small but cheap structures in Pabal, India. After a divergent phase that
included options of geodesic domes or large roof coverings, the concept selected was based
on a hexagonal plan. This configuration has structural advantages and utilises some of the
best features of bamboo such as shear beam loading and load distribution down multiple
columns. This concept was also preferred due to the closeness with typical box-shaped
buildings that residents prefer and the distance from strange concepts that are clearly
bamboo and highlight the bamboo use and so would become associated with ownership by
poor.
With this hexagonal structure selected the connections were reviewed and the concept of
sheet metal plates with strapping to attach to bamboo were identified as simple and cheap
yet advantageous over the simple and ad-hoc lashing that is commonplace with bamboo.
Virtual prototyping was performed with a number of finite element analysis and
optimisations performed on the connections and the general structural configuration in
order to quickly and cheaply identify the connection and structure problems. With the
output of these, changes were made and then followed two paths:
Mechanical testing of a full scale prototype connection to find how the sheet metal will
perform in real world and extreme loading conditions.

Team L Page 62
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Functional prototyping of the structure with bamboo and PMMA connections at half
scale to determine the how the build process would work and get a sense of success.
These prototypes have given a fairly good review of our proposed structure for Pabal and
further full scale testing is necessary in the real world conditions of India.
The costing shows that the structural elements come within the budget of 100 and when
combined with construction material typically available in the UK such as cladding,
corrugated roofing, flooring and insulation, the total would be under 400. This price should
be reduced when components more readily available in Pabal are used. The speed at which
this structure was prototyped also suggests that two unskilled workers following the
instructions could build one hexagonal unit within a day.

Team L Page 63
Bamboo as a Structural Material

References
1. Chung, K.F., Chan, S.L. (2003), Design of Bamboo Scaffolds, INBAR Technical Report
No.23, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China
2. Davies, A., (2009), "Investigation of Bamboo Reinforced Concrete for Potential Use in
Developing Countries", University of Brighton, May 2009 (MEng Final Year Project
Dissertation)
3. Davies, C., (2009), "Bamboo Connections", University of Bath, April 2009 (MEng Final Year
Project Dissertation)
4. Grewal, J., (2009), "Bamboo Housing in Pabal", EWB-UK Research Conference 2009 at the
RAEng. London, February 2009.
5. Liang, C.B. (2009), "Bamboo as a permanent Structural Component", Imperial College London,
April 2009 (BEng Final Year Project Dissertation)
6. Amada, S., Ichikawa, Y., Munekata, T. (1995), Fibre texture and mechanical graded structure of
bamboo, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Gunma University, p. 13-20
7. Nogata, F. (1995), Intelligent functionally graded material: Bamboo, Composites Engineering,
Vol.5 No.7 pp.743-751
8. Ashby, M. F. (1991), Materials Selection in Mechanical Design, p.35. Pergamon Press, Oxford
9. Albermania, F., Goha, G.Y. , Chan, S.L. (2007), Lightweight bamboo double layer grid
system, Engineering Structures Vol.29 pp.14991506
10. Bambus- RWTH Aachen. Public report: Construction with Bamboo: Modern Bamboo
Architecture. 2002, Institute for Structural Design at RWTH Aachen University. [accessed 19th
Jan 2010: http://bambus.rwth-aachen.de/eng/reports/modern_architecture/referat.html]
11. Ming Lu (2002), Reliability analysis for mechanical properties of structural bamboo
12. Stamatis, D. H. (1995). Failure Mode and Effect Analysis: FMEA from Theory to Execution .
Amer Society for Quality.
13. ZOT Enginnering Ltd. , http://www.zot.co.uk/
14. http://www.envirometrics.com/abstracts/CFDwindloading.pdf [accessed April 2010]
15. http://www.seismicsafety.com/drainage.htm [accessed April 2010]
16. http://www.arcelormittal.com/ [Accessed April 2010]
17. Bc. Aot Babadjanjan,2010, http://www.smeral.cz (blanking/punching tool manufacturer)
18. Boothroyd, G., Dewhurst, P., Knight, W., (2002), Product design for manufacture and
assembly, Edition: 2nd ed., rev. and expanded. Publication Details: New York : Marcel Dekker
19. Singh, U. P., (1992), Design study of the geometry of a punching/blanking tool, Journal of
Materials Processing Technology, Volume 33
20. http://rooflandia.ca/ruukki/roofing_sheets.htm
21. Lesko, Jim (1999) Industrial design : materials and manufacturing guide, New York: Wiley
Gratani, Loretta; Maria Fiore Crescente, Laura Varone, Giuseppe Fabrini, and Eleonora Digiulio
(2008). "Growth pattern and photosynthetic activity of different bamboo species growing in the
Botanical Garden of Rome". Flora 203: 7784.
22. Kubik, M., (2009) Structural Analysis of Geodesic Domes, School of Engineering, Durham
University (Final Year Project)

Team L Page 64
Bamboo as a Structural Material

Appendix
Design Specification
1. Patents
1.1. Product should avoid utilization of any patents in order to avoid paying for licences.
1.2. No patents can be found that would infringe with the bamboo structure in future.
2. Quality & Reliability
2.1. Quality of connections should be carefully controlled and checked before distribution.
2.2. Any failures should be at interfaces not internally to components or bamboo.
2.3. Interface between connection and bamboo should be strong enough to hold structure
together safely.
2.4. Bamboo types and species should be documented with suitable recommendations.
2.5. Unsuitable types of bamboo must be clearly identified and documented. (there will be a
list of suitable/non-suitable types of bamboo)
3. Packing
3.1. The kit components excluding bamboo must be able to be packaged onto a standard
pallet (ISO Standard 6780) (1100mm 1100mm).
4. Competition
4.1. Commonly timber frame reinforced concrete walls and corrugated iron roof.
4.2. 1-3 Rooms.
4.3. Single or Double Story.
4.4. Average room measures 3m 4m.
4.5. Sloping roofs are common and the height of the roof ranges from 3m to 4m.
4.6. Rs.250 (3.40) per square foot to build (Rs.21,000/286).
4.7. http://sites.google.com/a/engindia.net/main/pabal-information/housing---buildings
5. Maintenance
5.1. Any changes to bamboo or components should be possible in a working day.
5.2. Connections should disassemble and reassemble with minimal waste.
5.3. Any fixes should be possible with minimal disassembly.
5.4. Minor changes to structure configuration should be possible as trial and error may be
used by consumers.
6. Weight
6.1. Weight of all connections that are to be used for complete house should not exceed
maximum transportable weight of small lorry (3.5 tonnes).
6.2. Weight of one connection has to be optimized so that assembler would be able to hold
the connection mechanism at least 5m above head during the structure assembly.
7. Market constraints
7.1. Market for low cost bamboo building already exist if the price is reasonable (<500).
7.2. The product to be sold as long term family-house.
7.3. Introduction time of the house structure solution is not critical.
7.4. Customers (Pabal inhabitants) prefer traditional, colonial, rectangular house shapes that
would not point out their low social status. Therefore traditional shapes will be
preferred.
8. Politics
8.1. Main client is Vigyan Ashram.
8.2. Location is Pabal near Pune, Maharashtra, India.
8.3. Pabal has approximate population of 7,000 to 15,000.
8.4. Vigyan Ashram has around 50 full time students each year and serves 5,000 across
Maharashtra.
8.5. Supervisory organisation are Engineers Without Borders United Kingdom (EWB-UK)
based in Cambridge.
9. Manufacturing facility

Team L Page 65
Bamboo as a Structural Material

9.1. Manufacturing should ideally be possible at Vigyan Ashram using the resources
available locally, a FabLab with advanced CNC machines are available, without the need
of new machinery purchase or non-standard materials - this excludes basic construction
items needed for drilling, joining, etc.
9.2. There are two Roland CAMM-1 sign cutters, two Roland MDX-1 3 axis mills (limited by
the material's thickness). There is an Epilog laser cutter.
9.3. There is an out of action Torchmate so welding is not possible at VA but the IIT does
have capability if necessary.
9.4. Outsourcing connection manufacture may be possible with investment if necessary.
9.5. Any treatments and preparations to bamboo must be possible on site.
10. Disposal
10.1. Disassembly of structure should be simple and easy after life in service.
10.2. Any disassembly of connections should be possible by skilled worker.
10.3. For disposable parts, organic materials should quickly degrade once disposed; for
non-degradable items such as metal connections should be recovered for recycling or
remanufacture.
10.4. Remanufacture of connection components should be possible on site.
10.5. Recycling of materials should be possible in Maharashtra.
11. Company constraints
11.1. Consider technical abilities of Vigyan Ashram and manufacturing personnel.
11.2.Vigyan Ashram are a centre of Indian Institute Of Education (IIE) for Pune and have a
FabLab.
11.3.History of small scale building construction projects. Mechanical, electrical and
mechatronic projects are also common.
12. Shipping
12.1.Finished product to be transported either by private cars if modified for a safe transport
of goods, or by lorries over short distances (up to 200km).
12.2. Finished product should be easy to fit onto a pallet (ISO) for fork lift truck
manipulation. In case of additional components they should fit into a pasteboard box for
simple private transportation.
13. Size
13.1.Bamboo culms are available up to 3m lengths.
13.2. Modular with one room as standard.
13.3. Floor should be raised, minimum of 100mm.
14. Processes
14.1.Preparation of bamboo should take no more than one working day by lone worker.
14.2. Assembly should be possible by single worker in 5 working days or team of three
workers in single working day.
15. Customer
15.1. The customer is Vigyan Ashram with influence and input from EWB-UK and engIndia.
15.2. The consumer will be the poor communities and families in the localities
surrounding Vigyan Ashram partners.
15.3. The consumer must be able to assemble the kit without expert assistance.
16. Time Scale
16.1. Milestone 1: 16th Dec 2009
16.2. Milestone 2: 24th Feb 2010
16.3. Final Submission: 12th May 2010
16.4. (See Project Gantt Charts)
17. Product Cost
17.1. Preferably under Rs.8,000/100 but at most Rs.32,000/400
18. Performance
18.1. Structure must resist the local environmental conditions namely long lasting
monsoon rains and strong winds.

Team L Page 66
Bamboo as a Structural Material

18.2. Considering relatively low temperature during winters (10C) and high
temperature during summer (45C), the house must provide appropriate features
insulation, vent system, sealed doors/windows.
18.3. Due to multi-purpose use of the house, cooking and/or lavatory facilities should
be considered.
19. Installation
19.1. Usage and construction of connections should be easy to explain and understand.
19.2. Multiple configurations of structure should be proposed and rules for
construction will be strongly advised.
20. Aesthetics
20.1. Must look like a professionally designed and assembled building, not a kit or a
temporary structure (e.g. tent).
20.2. Should appear similar to other structures not made of bamboo and fit in the
socio-cultural scenery of India.
20.3. Must consider cultural barrier of materials and form. Bamboo structures and
dome shaped buildings are considered for the poor while the upper classes use concrete
and steel box-shaped homes.
21. Ergonomics
21.1.Assembly: Individual parts must be easy to handle.
21.2. Assembly: Individual parts must be able to be lifted by one person.
21.3. Door Size Recommendation: 0.8m 2m.
22. Materials
22.1. Bamboo culms are to be used as the beam construction material.
22.2. The connections are to be made of material that local FabLab facility can handle
namely plastic subtractive manufacture, steel welding, steel subtractive manufacture.
22.3. For a large scale deployment additive or formative manufacturing methods to be
considered. Then the material range would extend by injection-mould-able plastics and
cast iron.
23. Quantity
23.1. A small community (40 families) with two modules each.
23.2. Production should be easily scaled up.
24. Documentation
24.1. Minimal documentation should be necessary for usage of connections.
24.2. Guidelines and instructions should be completely visual due to language barrier
and low level of education.
24.3. Any written material should be translated to all significant languages of the
region/users and provided alongside the English output.
24.4. Disclaimers of responsibility and liability of designers should be included.
25. Legal
25.1. The house design has to be in consonance with Indian building and planning
legislation.
25.2. The structure to provide an adequate strength so that it can be granted final
building approval.
26. Safety
26.1. Should not pose a risk to any inhabitants during construction or in final form.
26.2. Any advised configuration should be tested virtually and with physical scale
models.
26.3. High factor of safety of 3 will be employed as this is a living environment.
26.4. Extreme weather conditions and maximum residents possible should be
considered for worst case.
27. Testing
27.1. The structure to be tested by simulation and then empirically tested before wide
scale deployment.
28. Life in Service
28.1. A structure that can survive 50 years is desirable or multiple decades is desirable.

Team L Page 67
Bamboo as a Structural Material

29. Environment
29.1. http://sites.google.com/a/engindia.net/main/pabal-information/climate---
weather
29.2. Low temperature during winters (10C) and high temperature during summer
(45C).
29.3. It is estimated that there are approximately 25-45 rainy days each year.

Temperature ranges during day-time and night-time


Nov-Jan (Winter): 25-35C, 10-15C
Feb-Jun (Summer): 30-45C, 28-35C
Jul-Oct (Monsoon): 10-20C, 10-20C
Annual Rainfall
1983: 570mm
1984: 717mm
1985: 308mm
1986: 402mm
2005-2006: 800mm
2006-2007: 1000mm

Team L Page 68