Guadua Bamboo, better known as "World's Strongest Bamboo" or "Vegetal Steel" is a giant South American bamboo species with a higher tensile strength than steel. Its extraordinary load bearing capacity (MOE 17,859 N/mm2) makes it the #1 preferred bamboo among visionary builders and architects specialized in green and sustainable construction around the world.
Guadua Bamboo is a producer and exporter of wholesale Guadua bamboo poles in bulk from South America. We ship from Colombia, since it is the country with the best quality and most abundant supply of Guadua angustifolia in the Americas. Not only is Guadua native to Colombia, the country also has a long tradition in regards to bamboo construction, preservation techniques and advanced manufacturing.
Guadua angustifolia is considered to be the world's strongest bamboo with a tensile strength greater than steel, which makes it the preferred species for construction and load bearing applications. In contrast to popular believes, South American Guadua also surpasses its famous competitor from Asia: Moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis). See the following study from the Larenstein University in the Netherlands to learn more about the extraordinary mechanical properties of Guadua angustifolia.
Just as with regular wood, most bamboo species have low resistance against insects and other biological degrading organisms. Without any protective treatment, most bamboo species have an average durability of less than 2 years. Stored under cover, untreated bamboo may last 4-7 years, depending on the species, length and thickness of the stems.
Watch our Harvest and Treatment Video below
Professionally harvested and treated Guadua poles on the other hand have an average service life of more than 30 years. In order to offer Grade A construction and export quality poles we have developed special preservation and drying techniques wich are unique in the Americas. These techniques consist of sustainable and selective harvest at high altitudes, submerging the poles in large tanks with non-toxic boron preservatives at high temperatures, sun bleaching, solar drying and kiln drying.
Only mature bamboo culms of 4-6 years old that grow on altitudes between 1,200 and 1,600 m above sea level are selected and harvested. These Guadua culms are extremely strong and hardened (lignified) which maximizes the mechanical properties for construction related applications.
Bamboo poles selected by these parameters also shrink and crack less when dry and have a higher natural resistance against future insects attacks, fungus and other microorganisms. See this article if you are interested to learn more on harvesting bamboo poles.
After the bamboo stems are harvested and transported to our treatment facility they are cut to the required size and and all nodes (diaphragms) are perforated. Because bamboo has a natural water repellent outer layer, it is impossible for preservatives to enter the bamboo fibers from the outside. Therefore, the chemicals needs to be introduced from the inside where the fibers can absorb the solution.
A steel rod with a large drill bit welded to the tip is used to penetrate each node throughout the length of the Guadua pole.
Guadua angustifolia is a thin walled bamboo species except near the base where wall thickness is much greater compared to the center and top part of the bamboo tree. In order to provide top quality poles for export, we only select the sections near the base as these are most desired by our clients.
To prepare bamboo poles for the preservation process, all mosses and surface stains are cleaned off with a high pressure washer, and later each node is cleaned individually by hand with a steel brush.
The preservation of bamboo is extremely important for the durability of the poles. We use a non-toxic boron solution which is colorless and dissolves in hot water (the residue is used as fertilizer).
Our 9 m treatment tank is equipped with a heating system that reduces the normal processing time from 4 days to only 8 hours. High temperatures also expand the bamboo fibers allowing the natural sabia to exit (due to osmotic pressure) and the solution to enter and maintain at a higher concentration, therefore guaranteeing the immunization.
The method of soaking / diffusion is ideal when Guadua poles are used for construction or further industrial processing. This treatment also allows the bamboo poles to dry faster compared to the Boucherie (sap-replacement) method.
After the immunization, poles are bleached in open air for approximately 1-2 weeks and rotated twice per day to avoid cracking.
The "sun-bleaching method" removes most chlorophyll in the outer layer and ensures a nice uniform beige color of the poles which is more desirable for a construction material and easier to stain or paint if required.
Drying bamboo requires more time than wood of similar density. That's because bamboo possess hygroscopic materials (compound that easily absorbs moisture) that may contain 50-60% moisture content, depending on the felling season, area of growth and species.
To speed up the drying process, the poles are transferred to a specially designed solar kiln to lower the humidity of the bamboo from 50-60% moisture content to approximately 30% in 3 to 4 days.
Although oven drying is common practice for traditional timbers, this is not the case for round bamboo poles. Kiln dried Guadua poles are unique in the world because it requires specialized computer controlled drying intervals and temperatures to avoid round bamboos from splitting and exploding in the kiln. With the help of specialized engineers (and 3 years of experiments) we have developed a unique computerized drying schedule for Guadua which brings moisture content to 10-13%.
Kiln dried bamboo poles have 2 main advantages, first it eliminates future mold forming and second it greatly reduces cracking of the poles in drier climates which is often a requirement in European and North America construction projects. Although cracks in bamboo don't affect its strength it is rather the aesthetic appearance that is undesirable.
Each bamboo pole is color coded by diameter class to facilitate inventory and storage. Once the poles are color coded it means they are ready to ship and comply with all our quality standards such as; limited cracks and bends, moisture content, maturity and color.
All our large bamboo poles are dried to a moisture content of around 13% to avoid cracking in drier climates and boron treated against insect infestation and mold forming.
The standard length of our poles for export is 20ft. A 40' HQ container can load about 900 poles of 20ft length (mixed diameters), or approximately 600 poles (only large diameters). All poles can be cut to your specifications.
Processing time up to 2 months may apply for large or special orders. For more information about our wholesale bamboo poles prices and additional discounts for distributors please don't hesitate to contact us.
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Up until the last 10 years or so very few people in the West had ever heard about Guadua Bamboo as a high quality building material. This all changed when award winning Colombian architect Simon Velez constructed a Guadua pavilion of nearly 22,000 sq ft for the ZERI Foundation at the Expo Hanover of 2000. For the first time in history a bamboo structure received a building permit in Germany, and so began the fascination for Guadua among western engineers, builders and architects.
Guadua bamboo bridge in Colombia
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