Study on the manufacture of bamboo panel components for a prefabricated house

Prefabricated bamboo houseINBAR performed a study to look at the feasibility of manufacturing a prefabricated house using bamboo panels. The study looks at some important considerations;

  • Physical and mechanical properties
  • Sound insulation properties
  • Thermal transmission properties
  • Fire resistance properties
  • Cost analysis

We’ve interpreted aspects of the study to represent South African conditions and requirements in the post. Have a look, we think that the results merit serious consideration of bamboo panels for prefabricated housing projects.

Physical & mechanical properties of bamboo panels

This expanded table is reproduced from the report:

ProductDensity g/m3Swelling % 24h
in Cold Water
Swelling % 2h
in Boiling Water
MOR MPaMOE GPaCompression
Strength MPa
Bamboo Panel12.517.1135.7810.5071.99

Some interesting points to note;

  • The bamboo only swells by 2.5% when exposed to cold water for 24 hours
  • The bamboo swells by 17.1% when exposed to boiling water for 2 hours
  • The bamboo panel has a 83.79% higher MOR rating than OSB when tested using “BS EN 300:1997, Load bearing boards for use in humid conditions”
  • The bamboo panel has a 66.66% higher MOE rating than OSB when tested using “BS EN 300:1997, Load bearing boards for use in humid conditions”

Flammability or fire resistance of bamboo panels:

The NFPA defines flammability rating according to a scale as quoted from this source;

This test method measures flame growth on the underside of a horizontal test specimen. The result is derivation of a Flame Spread Index (FSI)[2], which is a non-dimensional number which is placed on a relative scale in which asbestos-cement board has a value of 0, and red oak wood has 100.

The Life Safety Code groups flame spread ratings into five classes:

Eover 500

Bamboo passes with a CLASS A rating (0-25).

If you study the table above, you will see that the bamboo panels have a flammability rating in the same class as Asbestos-Cement – impressive! Whilst Red Oak only achieves a CLASS C rating.

Preliminary cost analysis of bamboo based panel wall components

The exchange rate between the Yuan & ZAR is close to a 1:1 ratio, so the figures you see in the table in the report should be fairly close to SA figures. Please keep in mind that the bamboo panels used in this exercise are different to our Eco-Logic Bamboo panels.

ItemsUnit price
Bamboo panels (9 mm)408,800Double faces
Wooden frame (40×60mm)48805 meters is used for per m2 panel wall
Adhesives, coatings224,840Including fire resistant coating for inner wall, water resistant
coating for exterior wall, etc.
Gypsum board10100
Wood processing51,100
Total13919,680Including test specimens. Total net areas of roof/wall panel
components is 91.75m2

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About The Oriental Bamboo Team

We only deal in Bulk Quantities of Solid Bamboo Timber Products - boards, counter tops, plywood panels and doors - nothing else.
Through extensive manufacturing research and experience, we specify our products at our factories to perform well in our diverse African climatic zones.
Being solid bamboo pioneers in Southern Africa, we have worked with users in all facets of timber application over the years.
We are driven to understand our customers specific requirements. As a result of these relationships with our varied clients, we have accumulated a lot of experience in using solid bamboo products wherever one would traditionally use timber.
This blog documents a few of our experiences and comments on various aspects of solid bamboo timber as used in various applications.
Oriental Bamboo is a BULK bamboo timber supplier of "specified for Southern Africa": bamboo boards, bamboo plywood panels, solid and hollow core bamboo doors, direct from our factories to the manufacturer - NO MIDDLE MEN. We supply bulk volume clients in South Africa and sub Saharan Africa.