Modeling bamboo as a functionally graded material: Lessons for the analysis of affordable materials

Emílio Carlos Nelli Silva, Matthew C. Walters, Glaucio H. Paulino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Natural fibers are promising for engineering applications due to their low cost. They are abundantly available in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, and they can be employed as construction materials. Among natural fibers, bamboo has been widely used for housing construction around the world. Bamboo is an optimized composite that exploits the concept of Functionally Graded Material (FGM). Biological structures such as bamboo have complicated microstructural shapes and material distribution, and thus the use of numerical methods such as the finite element method, and multiscale methods such as homogenization, can help to further understanding of the mechanical behavior of these materials. The objective of this work is to explore techniques such as the finite element method and homogenization to investigate the structural behavior of bamboo. The finite element formulation uses graded finite elements to capture the varying material distribution through the bamboo wall. To observe bamboo behavior under applied loads, simulations are conducted under multiple considerations such as a spatially varying Young's modulus, an averaged Young's modulus, and orthotropic constitutive properties obtained from homogenization theory. The homogenization procedure uses effective, axisymmetric properties estimated from the spatially varying bamboo composite. Three-dimensional models of bamboo cells were built and simulated under tension, torsion, and bending load cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6991-7004
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Materials Science
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • General Materials Science
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Modeling bamboo as a functionally graded material: Lessons for the analysis of affordable materials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this