Rwanda Journal of Engineering, Science, Technology and Environment

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Strength, sustainability and affordability of bamboo and mud bricks as materials used in local construction

Leopold Mbereyaho, Jean de Dieu Mutabaruka, Abaho G. Gershome, Armel Ineza, Ezra Ngirabatware


The construction industry is one of the rapidly growing and the cost analysis suggests that the materials cost is constantly increasing. The continuous extraction of aggregates intensively used in the field is negatively acting to the environment. Therefore research in construction materials should focus not only on discovering new alternative materials but also in appreciating the quality of those locally available for their better application. This research aimed at evaluating the performance of bamboo and mud bricks as two available local building materials, especially with regards not only to their strength but also to new performance concepts which are affordability, energy efficiency and environment friendly aspects. The study comprised mainly of laboratory tests of used materials and cost estimation analysis. Study results established that the considered bamboo and mud bricks, made in ordinary soils and reinforced by sisal fibers were reusable, environment friendly materials and energy efficient, with the bamboo showing the thermal conductivity equal to 0.1496 W/mK. Regarding the compressive strength, reinforced mud bricks with sisal fibers showed an increased value from 1.75 MPA to 4.29MPA, what was in line with related previous studies. The average compressive strength of the studied Arundinaria Alpine bamboo was established at 133,7MPA, while its tensile strength was 88.16MPA and these values were reasonable with comparison to other conventional materials. It is recommended that further research in checking the performance of other types of bamboo as well as about new construction technologies be undertaken in order to enhance the service life of both bamboo and mud bricks.

Keywords: Affordability, Bamboo, Conventional concrete, Materials strength, Mud reinforced bricks, Sustainability

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