All about bamboo. Little facts and lots of uses
Bamboo turns out to be a very versatile, strong, lightweight, and renewable green product.
It produces oxygen, production outstrips demand, and it has many uses. Read on for some interesting facts about bamboo, and some hints for its use -- some of which are rather surprising.
Clumping bamboo can be grown in the ground and it will not spread. Be sure to plant large species away from concrete pipes and other underground infrastructure as the root system can cause damage.
Running bamboo will spread but contrary to folklore, it's fairly easy to remove. Cut it and immediately apply a herbicide to the cut stump. The sap retreats, drawing the herbicide into the roots. This type of bamboo can be contained by limiting its root system using a container.
Small bamboo is also called Sasa. It is only knee-high.
Bamboo shoots are one of the easiest vegetables to grow, and are very good, healthy food.
- There are about 500 species of this grass, and some have up to a hundred sub species -- that's something like 1500 in total.
- Bamboo is native to every continent except Europe and Antarctica.
- Bamboo can grow at a rate of nearly 2mm every hour.
- Its density is 0.4 gm/cm^3
- The tensile strength of bamboo is excellent. It suffers permanent distortion at about 142 MPa with a breaking point at 265MPa. Structural steel deforms at about 250MPa, and breaks at 400MPa
- It starts to become woody when it reaches maximum height.
- Some 6 to 8 years at maturity, its outer surface gains silica which makes it very hard.
- The inside is softer than the outside which is more stable than typical wood which is softer on the outside than the inside.
- Bamboo is very elastic which makes it a good building material in earthquake zones.
- In Asia, bamboo is used for scaffolding - even for high rise buildings.
- When bamboo breaks, it splits without immediately separating. This prevents catastrophic failure.
- Bamboo forests are very good carbon sinks at a rate up to 12 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare.
- Thomas Edison used carbonized bamboo as a filament the first light bulb.
- Bamboo provided Alexander Graham Bell with a phonograph needle.
- There are more than 5000 documented uses for bamboo.
- Termites will not eat bamboo.
- After the 1945 Hiroshima nuclear devastation, bamboo was the first regrowth.
- Bamboo grows at sea level, and up to 3.7Km elevation.
- It expires 35% more oxygen than an equivalent group of trees.
- Harvesting bamboo does not kill it and a crop can be harvested every three to five years.
- Bamboo's root system is like a net and hold soil together so it prevents erosion.
- The pulp can be used for paper making.
- Musical instruments.
- Fishing rods.
- Kitchen utensils.
- Wall panels.
- Bamboo re-enforced concrete.
- Bamboo shoots are edible.
- Pulverised bamboo skins make an anti-bacterial dressing and food preservative.
- Bamboo steamers are used for cooking.
- Pandas and Elephants eat bamboo.
- Bamboo has significant edible protein.