Assuming that we can keep the Pandas at bay, should we be looking at replacing steel with bamboo? Can bamboo telecommunication towers be sustainable and economical? Telecom towers are usually fabricated using steel because steel has very good strength. However, due to its tightly packed fibres, bamboo has superior tensile strength over steel. Producing steel also has a lot of drawbacks like high costs, atmospheric pollution, and environmental degradation. Bamboo, on the other hand, can be produced at very low costs and has various environmental benefits.
So far so good! Unfortunately, tensile strength alone is not sufficient. Bamboo is prone to insect attacks and will degrade until sustained exposure to water which is an issue for any towers not installed in the Sahara!
Perhaps the future of bamboo will depend on its use as a composite material or more resistant strains will be cultivated to remove some of the limitations. Either way, we are excited to see what the future holds.
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