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Sandberg to test structural bamboo prototype

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STRUCTURAL BAMBOO design will take a major step forward next month when the prototype of a bamboo cantilever truss undergoes full scale testing at a leading London test house.

Previous bamboo structures have almost all been constructed by craftsmen without engineering input.

But for this project, engineers in Faber Maunsell's Bristol offi ce designed the truss using the latest analytical methods.

The prototype structure will be tested by Sandberg.

Faber Maunsell is particularly interested in the performance of the joints, as these have always been the least predictable parts of bamboo structures.

'We'll also test joint alternatives, mostly variations of a grouted-up bolted design, ' said Faber Maunsell associate director Neil Marks.

'These tests are only possible because we found a UK source of bamboo canes up to 115mm diameter and 2.4m long - and because Sandberg is providing the test facilities.' andberg joint managing partner Neil Sandberg said he was 'very keen to help such an interesting project'. He added: 'Not only is it intellectually stimulating, it's also in a good cause.' The 4.5m long by 2.5m high truss section under investigation will form the heart of a covered walkway and stage at St George's Boarding Home in Chennai (Madras). The home is an orphanage for Anglo-Indian children. Designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects.

The brief from client the Bateman Trust was to encourage sustainable construction. The architect and Faber Maunsell have so far worked on a pro bono basis.

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