Development of Guadua angustifolia prefabricated panels
Guadua angustifolia (GA) is a species of bamboo indigenous of South and Central America. It is a fast growing plant and thus its controlled use does not threat the natural plantations, which play an important role to control water cycles, to reduce erosion and to sequester carbon. It is a fiber reinforced anisotropic sustainable material that has been used to construct rural houses and temporary structures due to its wide availability, low cost, and good mechanical properties along the axial direction of the culm. However, due to the hollow cylindrical shape and the geometrical irregularities of the culms as well as the low strength of the material on the planes of fibers, the construction of mechanical joints for GA structures is a tedious task, which increases labor costs and prevents the widespread use of GA in house projects. With the aim to overcome this difficulty, we present a methodology based on using small steel parts in the joints for the production of prefabricated panels, which may be easily combined and manipulated for the construction of different types of structures. Two of those joints are proposed in this paper. As the material displays a ductile behavior under compression along the radial direction, one of the proposed joints is composed of a bolt, a nut and thin steel elements that are used to distribute compression along the thickness and provide confinement to the material, interlocking of the fibers and friction increase for a higher force transmission. Pilot trials of these joints applied to GA slats have showed an excellent behavior. Current efforts are aimed to analyze the mechanical behavior of other types of joints using finite elements in order to produce prefabricated panels.