Part-I and Part-II broadly explained the two alternatives for steel reinforcement. One was Basalt rebars and the other one was Bamboo reinforcement. Each of this reinforcement techniques has their own advantages and features that are equal to or more than steel. But, however, when we look at the construction sector, one thing we can find is that steel reinforcement is still preferred for the construction of building structures.
Why is that so? Even with alternatives that offer certain advantages more than steel, well there are certain challenges to overcome for effectively using these alternatives.
Even with the better advantages, these alternatives also pose certain challenges that make it the prime reason why they are not much commonly used as steel reinforcement. Alright, let’s get to the points.
Basalt rebars are one alternative for steel reinforcement. It has more tensile strength, much lighter etc, but what makes it a challenge is its flexibility. Basalt rebars can only be bent by using machine bending. In construction, steel is usually bent at onsite by unskilled workers. Also, in India, construction processes are labour intensive which is one reason why steel reinforcements are preferred for construction. Another reason that can be attributed is the cost as there are only less industries that produce Basalt Rebars in India, therefore due to low competition, the prices can be quite high.
When we look into Bamboo reinforcement, we have seen that it also offers more tensile strength than steel and other advantages, but like the basalt rebars, bamboo reinforcements have certain challenges. Contraction and expansion of bamboo is one such challenge, which is caused by both temperature changes and water absorption. The grass is also susceptible to structural weakness that is caused by fungus and simple biodegradation. A biological attack such as decaying is the most critical concern for bamboo. There are certain factors that make bamboo more prone to decay which are:
- Thin-walled geometry
- High starch content
- An absence of decay-resistant compounds
The current reinforcement
Overcoming these challenges for the alternatives will take time and effective measures, but until then steel will be the preferred component for reinforcement in the construction sector. The need for alternatives are always welcoming but to efficiently ensure its success, the challenges must be addressed.