Building construction requires a lot of in-depth knowledge and most importantly, experience. A building should be considered a very delicate project so the construction process must be treated as so. You look around you and see so many buildings standing firm as natural rocks, but wonder how that is possible.
In construction, there is a term called reinforcements. A building is never complete if it does not have reinforcements. In fact, it will not stand for long. This should give you a basic idea of what Reinforcements are all about. In advanced terms, we can define Reinforcements as the embedding of bars, wires, strands, fibers, or other slender elements in a matrix before the casting of concrete.
Reinforced concrete is known as Concrete Reinforcement. The primary reason for reinforcement is to ensure the materials act together to resist forces. This way, additional strength is provided to the concrete to make it stronger for the building. I believe you have a solid idea and knowledge of what Reinforcements entail.
Types of Reinforcements
There are different types of Concrete Reinforcements. However, they all serve the same purpose to make the concrete stronger but have distinct properties and applications. You will grasp better as we consider a few examples below!
Truth is, as far as Civil Engineering and Strength of properties is concerned, There are different types of Concrete Reinforcements, but that will not be our objective for now. We will only be concerned about the two most common Concrete Reinforcements in terms of materials. I know Reinforcements are of different types, bar sizes, for varying purposes, but this time, we shall consider reinforcement where A Steel and Bamboo are assumed the only materials used in production. They include;
- Bamboo Reinforcements – This involves using Bamboo to reinforce concrete for the same purpose of making it stronger.
- Steel Reinforcements – This involved the use of Steel to reinforce concrete to increase the strength of the concrete.
Advantages of Bamboo over Steel in Concrete Reinforcement
Affordability: Over the years, the construction industry has been known for making use of Steel for most of its building projects. Steel has attained its own peak of Monopoly compared to other building materials. This was mainly because an alternative to steel for reinforcement was not discovered.
Due to this and some other reasons, the cost and pricing of steel have spiked a lot. In fact, it attains a new All-Time High every now and then. This also applies to many other building materials, like cement, gravel, etc. This is one of the reasons that makes bamboo a better option than steel for concrete reinforcement.
Greater Tensile Strength: The tensile strength of a material is its ability to withstand tensile forces that can make it bend or even break. This is one of the features that make bamboo better than steel in reinforcement.
Bamboo has a lighter weight when compared to Steel: If you have held a bamboo stick, you should understand what I mean. It is the perfect definition of lightweight. However, the lightweight property does not have a negative effect on its purpose. It remains as strong as it should be, but this time, easier to transport and install.
Disadvantages of Bamboo over Steel in Concrete Reinforcement
Lesser Durability than Steel: Due to its natural form, bamboo is considered less durable when compared to Steel. There are a lot of reasons for this. One of which is that it is more prone to environmental degradation and insect attack. Termites are known for cutting into woods and they will do the same when it comes to bamboo. As they eat through the bamboo, it will make the Reinforcement get weaker, hence putting the structure at risk.
Another reason is that bamboo is also prone to shrinking. When it reacts to some natural forces, it might shrink hence losing the form in which it has been set initially. This is also bad for the building structure. This is one of the reasons why bamboo is not advised as reinforcement for permanent structures. Steel on the other hand will last as long as possible making it suitable for permanent structures.
Steel has a greater load-bearing capacity: No doubt, Bamboo is also strong but the strength can not be compared to that of steel. Steel which is an alloy of two metals, iron and carbon is known to be one of the strongest materials ever known. The alloy also resists its risk of corrosion. This means that steel can not rust easily like ordinary metals.
Bamboo and Concrete will not react as well as Steel and Concrete: Steel and Concrete are known to have similar properties, most especially, similar coefficient of thermal expansion. This means that when they are exposed to high temperatures, they will expand at almost the same length and size. This makes the duo more compatible than any other reinforcement.
Personally, I will not advise the use of bamboo as reinforcement except for small or temporary building projects. I am not one of those who believe that Steel does not have a replacement. Of course, it is replaceable, but, to an extent. We call these kinds of materials “Indispensable”. If you are aiming to build a temporary structure, you can choose bamboo over Steel for reinforcement, because of the price.
Steel remains the best reinforcement in concrete. It will always be chosen over and over again. In addition, before bamboo can even be used in reinforcement, it has to undergo several
treatments so it can serve the purpose it is needed for. If bamboo is used in its natural form, and not treated, it might pose some serious construction risks.
The process of bamboo treatment will involve the removal of some of the natural properties that will make it shrink when exposed to certain environmental conditions. Once all of these are done, we can now regard the bamboo as safe for construction.
The main reason why bamboo has been accepted by many as an alternative to steel in construction is because of the lower cost and availability. Bamboo is readily available and this is one of the reasons why it is cheaper. You can get it almost anywhere without having to go too far in your search. I believe that now, you can agree with me that Bamboo is a better reinforcement than steel, to an extent.