Bridges built from bamboo instead of steel could provide a cheaper, more environmentally sustainable engineering solution in China, a recent experiment suggests.
A novel type of bridge with horizontal beams made from a bamboo composite proved strong enough to support even heavy trucks in tests. The bamboo beams are cheaper and more environmentally friendly to make than steel or concrete, yet offer comparable structural strength.
Yan Xiao, who works at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, US, and at Hunan University in China, led the development of the bamboo beams used to make the bridge.
Instead of using round, pole-like pieces of unprocessed bamboo, which have been used as building material for many thousands of years, he came up with a way of assembling timber-like beams from many smaller strips of bamboo.
|©University of Southern California
|The novel bridge with horizontal beams made from a bamboo composite proved strong enough to support even heavy trucks