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China Tries Making Bridges with Bamboo Instead of Steel

With China experiencing so much pollution and environmental depletion, it only makes sense that a group would get together to find unique uses for natural resources. The first endeavor? A durable bridge made completely out of bamboo.

The bridge under construction in China: Source: Eurekaalert.orgThe bridge under construction in China: Source: Eurekaalert.org

Headed up by the School of Civil Engineering of Hunan University, a year of research and trial & error went into beefing up the intensity of the bamboo structures that would eventually become the bridge. Creating the first modern bamboo bridge in the world, it opened on December 12th in Leiyang, and its first visitor was an 8.6 ton truck. The truck crossed safely and the bridge proved itself in the ultimate test to see if it could in fact support heavy vehicles and machinery, including static pressure up to 90 tons.

Hunan University student documenting bridge construction: Source: cimg2.163.comHunan University student documenting bridge construction: Source: cimg2.163.com

The school designed the bridge with not only bamboo, but carbon fibers into plastics to complete the project, helping to guarantee safe travels to all who cross it. The bamboo bridge has won praise from the Chinese government due to its almost 100% pollutant free building process, as well as the expenditure difference between this and a typical concrete bridge. The bamboo bridge also puts to shame the typical cost of a steel one.

So what is the university’s department doing now that the structure is complete? Brainstorming and striving toward innovating even longer bamboo structures. While the current bridge has a lasting prediction of 20 years, the Chinese keep their hopes high that longevity will be increased and other bridges throughout China can be replaced by such creative means.

Tamara Warta
Asian Innovation
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