– Fracture Toughness and Resistance-Curve Behaviour of Laminated Bamboo –
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In this study, the fracture toughness and resistance curve behaviour of laminated panels, produced from the tropical Nigerian bamboo species Bambusa vulgaris, were investigated to assess its potential for use as an alternative construction material. Round bamboo culms were processed into laminated panels.
The Mode I fracture toughness KIC, and the resistance-curve (R-curve) behaviour of the laminates in the crack arrester and divider orientations were investigated using ASTM E399 single-end notch bend (SENB) specimens.
Results showed that the bamboo laminate had a higher resistance to crack propagation in the arrester orientation than in the divider orientation, with average fracture toughness of 11.24 MPa √m and 8.51 Mpa √m respectively.
Modest rising R-curve behaviour was observed in both orientations and the predicted estimates of the toughening levels using the small-scale bridging (SSB) and large-scale bridging (LSB) models showed trends that were consistent with the tests observed in the experimental resistance curves.
The implications of these results are discussed, as it affects the use of bamboo laminate as an alternative construction material.
1.1 Background of the Study
The importance of shelter for human existence cannot be overemphasised. Presently, one of the major challenges facing housing delivery in Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa, is the inability to meet the huge demand for affordable and sustainable housing for the rapidly increasing population (Akeju & Andrew, 2007).
Nigeria, according to the World Bank, currently has an estimated population of 180 million and a housing deficit of about 17 million units.
This deficit can be attributed mainly to the increased rate of urbanisation, drastic rise in population, and the high cost of land and construction materials, making housing unaffordable for the rural and urban poor (Matawal & Ojo, 2014).
These figures imply that huge sums of money will be required to bridge the enormous gap in the Nigerian housing sector and this cost will continue to increase unless concerted efforts are made to support housing development in the country.
Building construction is highly capital intensive with building materials alone constituting almost 70% of the total housing expenditure. The cost varies according to the complexity of the architecture (Ugochukwu & Chioma, 2015).
In spite of this, many of the building materials used in Nigerian construction, from roof to flooring, are sourced either completely or partially as finished or raw materials from outside the country (Oladipo & Oni, 2012).
This has increased the cost of conventional building materials, posing a serious challenge to the delivery of decent bulk housing in the country.
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