Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 41, Issue 21, pp 6991–7004 | Cite as

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

  • Emílio Carlos Nelli Silva
  • Matthew C. Walters
  • Glaucio H. PaulinoEmail author


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.


Hollow Cylinder Functionally Grade Material Effective Property Multiscale Method Homogenization Procedure 



We gratefully acknowledge the U.S. National Science Foundation through the project CMS #0303492 “Inter-Americas Collaboration in Materials Research and Education” (P.I., Professor W. Soboyejo, Princeton University).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emílio Carlos Nelli Silva
    • 1
  • Matthew C. Walters
    • 2
  • Glaucio H. Paulino
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Mechatronics and Mechanical Systems EngineeringEscola Politécnica da Universidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Newmark LaboratoryUrbanaUSA

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