Annals of Botany

Tensile properties of bamboo responsible for its mechanical performance

A study of the mechanical properties of single fibres and tissue slices of stems of mature moso bamboo and latewood of spruce.
Tensile properties of bamboo responsible for its mechanical performance
Tensile properties of bamboo responsible for its mechanical performance

Bamboo is well known for its fast growth and excellent mechanical performance, but since it lacks secondary-thickening it cannot use adaptive growth in the same way as a tree would in order to cope with bending stresses. Wang et al. examine the mechanical properties of single fibres and tissue slices of stems of mature moso bamboo (Phyllostachys pubescens) and latewood of spruce (Picea abies) and find that the superior tensile properties of bamboo fibres and fibre bundles are mainly a result of amplified cell-wall formation leading to a densely packed tissue, rather than being based on specific cell-wall properties. The material optimization towards extremely compact fibres with a multi-lamellar cell wall in bamboo might be a result of a plant growth strategy that compensates for the lack of secondary thickening growth at the tissue level.