Development of engineered bamboo structures technology for modular rural housing towards sustainable built environment

Researchers at IIT Delhi are developing technology based on engineered bamboo structure that is eco-friendly and sustainable for mass scale rural housing.

“The project specifically aims to raise the technology readiness level of fibre reinforced bamboo composite (FRBC)technology such that it can be utilized for construction of modular houses for the poor, with flexibility of vertical/ lateral expansion in future,” says Prof Suresh Bhalla the principal investigator of the project.

The project titled—‘Development of engineered bamboo structures technology for modular rural housing towards sustainable built environment’ is a part of the IMPRINT scheme of the Ministry of Human Resource Development(MHRD).

IMPRINT is the first of its kind MHRD supported Pan-IIT + IISc joint initiative to address the major science and engineering challenges that India must address and champion to enable, empower and embolden the nation for inclusive growth and self-reliance.

Prof Bhalla said that the project is aimed at the mass utilization of bamboo coupled with the knowledge of structural engineering to devise an affordable house suitable for both the urban and rural needs.. “This will involve conceptual design, detailed engineering calculations, and the fabrication of single room model 3D portal frame structure using FRBC technology. The house will have a typical floor area of about 10-20 m2. Suitable green building materials shall be considered for windows, doors and roofing."

Most of the rural houses are seldom engineered and a vast majority of them are kuccha. In addition, most of the rural houses lack basic amenities such as a toilet and a proper kitchen. The problem is further compounded by the migration of people from villages to urban centres in search of jobs, aspiring to have access to better amenities. Most of such migrants land up in slums, which are now cropping up parts of the four metro cities- Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, where the living conditions are very poor. “Mass scale concrete or steel housing is not a sustainable solution to the problem. Every ton of concrete or steel produced is accompanied by several tons of carbon dioxide and other pollutants released into the atmosphere. With the depletion of the forest, timber is no longer a candidate for building material. Bamboo, on the other hand, could be a viable material for construction. It is one of the fastest growing grasses and grows to mature level within four years (against several decades in the case of structural timber). It offers competitive performance as compared to concrete and steel in terms ofstrength to weight ratio,” maintains Prof Bhalla. For more information about bamboo research group at IIT Delhi, please visit :http://web.iitd.ac.in/~sbhalla/brg/index.html and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHqBG9D3wuE

Team:

  • Prof. Suresh Bhalla (IIT Delhi)
  • Dr. Diwakar Bhagat (Bihar Technical Services)
  • Prof. T. Visalakshi (Bennet University)
  • Er. Suddhakar Bhagat (Industrial Partner)

Collaborator: Prof. Roger West (Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland

Prof. Suresh Bhalla and Dr. Diwakar Bhagat from the Bihar Technical Services have been associated with bamboo as an engineeredmaterial for last eight years. Prof. Bhalla has completed a World Bank funded project “Bamboo as a Green Engineering Material in Rural Housing and Agricultural Infrastructure for Sustainable Economy”, under the aegis of the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) as a co-Principal Investigator. In addition, Dr. Bhagat, as part of his Ph.D thesis under Prof. Bhalla and Prof. Roger West, titled "Engineered Bamboo Structures: Development of High Capacity Fibre Reinforced Bamboo Composite Structural Members", developed a new type of structural system which is not only cost effective, but environment friendly at the same time.Prof. Visalakshi Talakokula has been working on development of green materials specifically green concrete for sustainable infrastructure. Her research interests are innovative building materials using waste products and natural building materials including earth, straw bale and other inorganic and organic materials. She has an experience as in the project titled ”Interactive Systems and Coatings for a Sustainable Built Environment, Collaborative Project under UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI)” wherein wall panels using straw bale were developed for the improvement of the indoor environment quality for improved occupant health and wellbeing for indoor.

Start date: March 5, 2019
End date: March 4, 2022