The bamboo species Guadua angustifolia Kunth (Guadua) was subjected to different fibre extraction processes, chemically treated and used in combination with a set range of polymers to form various composite materials.
Novel technologies and artisan methods for veneer production and fibre extraction were explored. Extensive experimental
work was undertaken on the composites manufacture, mixes and arrangements to form flat sheets. Physical and mechanical
properties of these sheets were assessed on two material configurations: Plastiguadua-L and Plastiguadua-P. The former was a laminated material with 70% by weight of thin veneers of Guadua and 30% thermoset polyester resin. The latter had a 1:1 ratio by weight of short fibre bundles and resin content respectively. For the mechanical characterization, bending, tensile and impact-Izod tests were undertaken. Rockwell hardness, UV, condensation and water absorption were carried out to assess their physical properties. Values obtained for the elastic properties of Plastiguadua-L were lower than those of Plastiguadua-P, whilst strength values showed the opposite response for both bending, tension and impact. Bending and
tensile modulus of elasticity for the former were 3.96 GPa and 2.21 GPa respectively, and 4.61 GPa and 2.38 GPa
respectively for the latter. Tensile and impact strength values obtained were 38.3 MPa and 20.73 MPa respectively for
Plastiguadua-L and 157 J/m and 55 J/m respectively for Plastiguadua-P. Improved resistance to degradation was observed
through the UV/condensation test on samples embedded on resin when compared to those with none or slight preservation
treatments. Overall, the research project showcased a range of products manufactured by mixing different forms of Guadua
fibres and mats with polymers and assessed the mechanical and physical features of two of them. The project focused on a
holistic approach to the use and manufacture of bamboo products for engineering applications and as potential substitutes for wood applications.