Bamboo. Innovation. Network. Knowledge.

Today’s innovation-driven global economy accelerates the biotechnology revolution. Advances in biological sciences give all people – scientists and non-scientists alike – a better understanding of the world in which we live.

We at Denkfabrik Bambus aim to provide future both sustainable and highly applicable materials for a whole bunch of industries. Bamboo is a natural grass with enormous static and dynamic properties – on top it is a wonderful fighter towards a decarbonized world and limits climate change.

Cellular biomaterials are materials gained or copied from natural materials. All natural materials are composite materials composed of different constituents where on part is always a stiff fiber like cellulose or protein structure collagen. Bamboo perfectly uses this toolbox – a strong cellulose fibre and a glue component “lignin” are enough to build a very symmetric and static pole which bends in the wind and withstand an earthquake.

Bamboo is also the fastest growing plant on earth with a remarkable growth rate of 90cm per day  (0.00003 kilometer per hour). Botanics have identified more than 2000 different bamboo plants. One of them lead to Thomas Edisons light bulb filament – a marvellous invention enriching our daily life.

Biomaterials are super materials with structural similarities. Bamboo is quite similar to the human bone. Both constructed as a load bearing composite structure and both are developed for an optimum of lightness and flexibility.

Imagining alternative worlds and keeping ecological ressource efficiency in mind can be useful to explore future impacts of today‘s mostly used materials. Status quo is a world where high energetic materials dominate all sectors in industry.
Thirty Years ago it was realized in some advanced environmental science disciplines, that it was better for the survival of the earth‘ life support systems and life itself, to prevent environmental problems in the first place, rather than to try to solve them after their occurrence.

Researching Natural Fibre

To transform bamboo towards a common material like steel there are technical details we need to get right. But these are no more than making sure steel is protected from rusting and has the right heat treatment. They are simply the equivalent technical details and higher technology developed by arundoobiomaterials and the future materials lab (FML) for using bamboo as a high tech material. Once you do that – once you think about it properly as a serious technical material – it becomes one. The difference is not the material itself.

Of course bamboo is not a fibre (more about material properties). There is still a difference between a fibre and what we might call planks of wood. And bamboo is not a family member of trees rather a member of grasses. Indeed bamboo is a grass with unidirectional orientation of its fibre bundles.

Green Steel Now available Green Steel: Bambus – nachhaltig, leicht, stabil (german, 2018, paperback, fullcolor)

 Lateral Thinking

Bamboo can be used in many contexts. Creative and innovative approaches are the best way for solving complex problems. Material design and invention is one of the best ways to bring innovation to the physical world sourrounding us.

Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth and absorbs tons of CO2. Bamboo is more and more known for its unusual renewability and ecofriendliness.

Potential for advanced bamboo technology

Wind turbine blade manufacturing
Car shells
Constructional beams and trusses
Cabines and lifts
Aluminium replacement
Lightweight construction
Aircargo Container, Aircraft interior

Demanding applications are not closed to natural industrialised materials which are strong and durable. In specific terms bamboo has to be engineered to fit to standard regulatory affairs. However modern glues and chemicals provide a wide range of structural modifications and strong bonding.

Denkfabrik bambus is also an interdisciplinary lab |lab3 applying modern ways of prototyping  for industrialising natures high-tech materials. Designthinking leads to the invention of innovative products and materials of future “Green Industries” and the upcoming “Green Economy” worldwide. Special attention is focused on the research of natural composites (bamboo, cork etc) for medical engineering.

Hybrid materials, manufacturability and productization of commonly used high-tech materials are in the focus of research. Nevertheless the FML believes in the superiority of industrialised natural materials. Imagine cars, trains, crossties, lantern light poles, ships or even aircraft wings are manufactured from an industrialised natural ressource: bamboo.

Bamboo vs Aluminium flexibility test

Environmental impacts of bamboo as a substitutional construction material

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on earth giving it a huge potential for environments exceptionally exposed to diverse natural hazards and climate changes. In many countries over the planet the rate of bamboo use is very low. In all major western dominated economies wood, steel and concrete have been the major materials used in the construction and production sector. Many researchers state the fact that bamboo has a strong capability to that in compression of bricks and tension of steel.  With the high rate of wood exploitation and no real sustainable acting in forestry bamboo can be collected within 3-5 years making harvesting periods more surveyable. Properties (tensile and compressive strength, shrinkage, resistibility, elasticity) of bamboo in mechanical terms are outstanding due to its axial fiber orientation.

Read more material properties

Bamboo can be used for different aspects of constructional reinforcement e.g. for concrete reinforcement (current research done by Dirk Hebel and ETH Zürich). The average tensile strength for this use is about 250 N/mm2 (or MPa) comparable to mild steel. It is also very good usable for quake structural engineering.

Advanced biomaterials consultancy

Results from our research interest in bamboo and other biomaterials and their profound uses in higher technology can lead to a shortening in material integration processes and innovative idea development. If your institution is interested in consultancy please get in contact with our thinktank.