Bamboo Technology

Bamboo is emerging as an important plant material alternative to wood required for panels and other sheet material, sawn wood including wood required for match splints, due to the growing shortage of industrial wood and also associated policy changes in recent years. As a result of R&D efforts, a number of technology have been developed by utilizing bamboo as a principal raw material for the manufacture of bamboo mat board (BMB), Bamboo mat veneer composite(BMVC) as alternate to plywood, bamboo mat moulded products like trays are an ideal substitutes for metals & plastics. Bamboo mat corrugated sheets (BMCS) is emerging as an alternate to corrugated sheets based on metals, asbestos-cement which are considered to be energy intensive as well as health hazardous. Bamboo splints for match sticks can replace wooden match sticks. Bamboo laminates and bamboo strip board for which laboratory/pilot scale technologies developed have great potential for their utilization in place of sawn wood products as well as structural panels particularly in transport vehicle. However, sustained efforts are required for its adoption for commercial production requiring technological back up, training activities and creating awareness about the importance of these composites based on bamboo among various section of people for its promotion including marketing policies and financial support for commercialization of these technologies.

India has the second largest resource of bamboo both in terms of diversity and distribution (about 13% of the forests or app. 10 million ha.). India accounts for around 120 of about 1250 species of bamboo found in the world. Of this only 30 species are commercially important. Apart from being available in natural forests bamboo is also raised as plantations, both pure and as under planting, and also in homesteads. Bamboo is also suitable for restoration of degraded forest and other wastelands as well as of abandoned shifting cultivated areas.

Bamboo, a fast growing, quick – maturing woody grass is an important cultural feature in many parts of India. Since the beginning of the civilization bamboo has played an important part in daily lives of people in India. Bamboo craft is one of the oldest cottage industries primarily due to versatility, strength, lightness, easy workability of bamboo with simple hand tools. Bamboo has been put to use for various applications ranging from construction to household utilities and have more than 1000 documented uses including an important industrial use in paper and pulp manufacture. Due to plethora of essential uses, it has been aptly described as "poor man's timber", "green gold", “friend of people", "the cradle to coffin timber", “Green Gasoline”.

Relevance of bamboo based panels

In the Nineteen Eighties, guided by dwindling wood supplies in the tropics, interest on bamboo as a alternate material has intensified resulting in its emergence as potentially the most important non-wood renewable fibre to replace wood in construction and other uses. The realization that bamboo produces wood bio-mass faster than many fast growing timber and that some of its physical and mechanical properties are superior to wood available from fast growing plantation species like Eucalyptus, Poplar, Acacea, has evoked keen interest in bamboo growing countries and elsewhere on theoretical and applied research on bamboo based products to replace wood in housing, furniture, packaging, transport sectors. Some earlier studies have revealed that bamboo in panel form is best suited to substitute wood and therefore development/refinement of cost effective technologies to produce bamboo based panels is now identified as an extremely important area of research. The environmental and socio-economic implication of bamboo based panel industries also favours their promotion on priority.

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