Steel reinforcement alternatives Part-II

Steel reinforcement alternatives bamboo rebar Fe415 rightsteel

Our last blog described on steel reinforcements and its multiple benefits to the construction sector, also, the concept of alternatives was explained. Even one such alternative namely the Basalt reinforcement was briefly explained along with its advantages. When compared to steel, basalt reinforcement bars or rebars had more tensile strength and was much lighter than steel. Well, another alternative reinforcement technique is Bamboo reinforcement.


Bamboo has been used as a strength bearing material for scaffolding works, formwork supporting stands and building construction work. Since earlier times, it has been used for building shelters. Bamboo is biodegradable, renewable and environmentally sustainable in nature. These properties have enabled to use of bamboo in the construction field for centuries.

Bamboo Reinforced Concrete- An alternative

In the present scenario, steel reinforcement has an increasing demand in the construction sector. There are certain situations when the production is not enough to face the demand for steel. Therefore, it is essential to have an alternative that has similar properties to that of reinforced steel. This is where bamboo comes into use as it is found in abundance, they are resilient and hence it is an ideal reinforcing material and replacement for steel.

What makes bamboo preferable is its tensile strength property which is appreciable when compared with steel. Bamboo is an orthotropic material by origin. It has a structure of a composite material with cellulose fibres that are aligned across its length. It consists of thick fibres near the outer length of the bamboo, which is the main reason why they are able to resist such huge wind forces. Another property that makes bamboo ideal is its hollow tubular structure. It has high resistance against wind forces.

Using Bamboo for RCC

When using steel for reinforcement, different grades of steel are available. Each grade of steel has different tensile strength. For eg, The tensile strength of TMT steel grades Fe 415 and Fe 500 are not the same. Bamboo is found in nature and exists in different species. Each species differs in their characteristics, thickness, texture, and strength. Hence it is essential to know which species of bamboo is the best for reinforcement.


The following factors are to be considered when selecting bamboo culms for reinforcement in concrete structures:

  • Use bamboo that shows a pronounced brown colour.
  • Select culms that are the longest having large diameters.
  • Don’t whole culms of green, unseasoned bamboo.
  • Avoid cutting of bamboo in spring or early summer because they are weaker due to increased fibre moisture content.

Obviously, you must wonder then with all these advantages for Basalt rebars and Bamboo reinforcement, why are these alternatives are not used much commonly as steel reinforcement. Well, this dilemma will be addressed in Part-III of this blog. Until then, stay tuned.

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