1.1.0. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
n most parts of the world, people have been using bamboo for construction for centuries. As a renewable resource with incredibly fast growth rate and properties similar to that of wood, and tensile strength similar to that of steel. Bamboo has the potential to play an important role in meeting the construction needs in an environmentally friendly way.
Bamboo is the world’s fastest growing woody plant which grows three times faster than most other species. Depending on the type of soil and climatic condition, as well as species, bamboo can achieve 30 mm – 100 mm in height per day during the growing period (Wikipedia – en.m.wikipedia.org – June, 2016). It is a well-established tradition as a building material throughout the world’s tropical and sub-tropical regions. It is widely used for many types of construction, particularly for housing in villages.
Bamboo is one of the oldest and most versatile building materials with many applications in the field of construction. It is very strong and lightweight and can often be used without processing. In spite of the stated advantages, bamboo has been mostly restricted to temporary structures and lower grade buildings because of natural limited durability, jointing difficulties, lack of comprehensive structural design data and building codes. Also, using bamboo for foundation is restricted because, it deteriorates and decays very easily when in contact with damp ground, unless treated with some effective preservatives.
Mostly bamboo is used in construction as walls, partitions, scaffold and roof. Bamboo is strong enough to resist forces generated by wind when used as roof covering. It is ideal as a roofing material – very strong, resilient and light weighted.
Bamboo will continue to play an important part in the development of enterprises and the transformation of rural environments.
Bamboo building construction is characterized by a structural frame approach similar to that applied in traditional timber frame design and construction. In this case, the floor, the wall, the roof elements are all interconnected and often one dependent on the other for overall stability.
It is widely recognized as one of the most important non-timber forest resources due to the high socio-economic benefits from bamboo based products.
1.2.0. STATEMENTS OF THE PROBLEM
Concrete is good in compression but weak in tension. To overcome this weakness in concrete structures, steel is used as reinforcement in the concrete to provide tensile strength required for stability of the structure. Problems encountered with the commonly used construction material like steel are rise in cost, degradation of the non-renewable material, the pollution of the environment due to industrial processing, major contributor of the overall dead weight of structures, etc. are common in the globe. Also, there exist almost no alternative to steel reinforcement and therefore there is very high demand on steel in the construction market.
Bamboo on the other hand occur naturally, less expensive and requires not so much industrial processing.
In some parts of the world, many structures are constructed only with mass concrete or mud bricks. This is mainly due to the non-availability and high cost of steel.
1.3.0. THE STUDY OBJECTIVE
The goal of this research is to determine the feasibility of bamboo reinforcement for concrete beams. Whereas the mechanical properties and behaviour of steel reinforced concrete have been thoroughly studied and well documented, there exists no comprehensive data describing Bamboo reinforced concrete. Therefore, the aim of this study is to provide a preliminary contribution toward the collection of the mechanical properties and behaviors of Bamboo reinforced beams.
1.4.0. JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY
A major problem facing the world in general is the issue of global warming. Some major contributors to this phenomenon include industrial processing, mining and deforestation. To reduce the rate at which the planet earth is getting warmed, the construction industry must now look for alternative resources that are efficient, renewable and environmentally friendly. To obtain iron – the raw material for the production of steel, lands are degraded and forests are also destroyed through mining for this raw material. Granted, to obtain bamboo, bamboo has to be felled which also destroys vegetation but the incredibly fast growth rate of bamboo makes it an excellent option.
One major hindrance to solving the housing deficit in Ghana and other developing countries is cost. Governments in Ghana have tried various means to solve this problem in the name of “Affordable Housing” projects. In the end, these houses are not really affordable to the average Ghanaian worker due to the high cost of iron reinforcement, cement and other construction materials which affect the overall cost of the building.
This research study will encourage the use of bamboo as reinforcement in the construction of simple structures within the urban centres and the rural communities of the country.
1.5.0. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
As a material resource, bamboo has not received the mainstream recognition it deserves. The bulk of bamboo is gathered from the wild or rural environment, but in many areas bamboo resources have dwindled due to overexploitation and poor management.
Despite the numerous advantages, bamboo has not yet achieved its full potential as construction material. This is due to a combination of factors – construction professionals and developers are often unsure of bamboo’s natural properties and lacking the capacity to design and build with this material.
Possibly the major factor contributing to the view of bamboo as a temporary material is its lack of natural durability. It is susceptible to attack by insects and fungi. Its service life may be as low as one year when in ground contact. Even when issues of durability and strength are resolved, the question of acceptability remains.
1.6.0. THE THEORETICAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Bamboo: Is a giant woody grass which is grown chiefly in the tropics.
Reinforcement: Is a system of steel bars, strands, wires, or mesh etc. for absorbing the tensile and shearing stresses in concrete work.
Concrete: Is a building material made from a mixture of broken stone or gravel, sand, cement, and water, which can be spread or poured into moulds and forms a stone-like mass on hardening.
Steel: Is an alloy made of iron and carbon.
Tensile Strength: this is the maximum amount of tensile stress (a stretch or pull apart) a material can take before failure.