Table of Contents
Journal of Construction Engineering
Volume 2014, Article ID 589646, 9 pages
Research Article

Feasibility of Using Palmyrah Strips as Reinforcing Material in Cost Effective Houses

Department of Civil Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

Received 17 December 2013; Revised 15 March 2014; Accepted 15 March 2014; Published 14 April 2014

Academic Editor: F. Pacheco-Torgal

Copyright © 2014 K. Baskaran et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Construction of cost effective houses is a dilemma among the impoverished population in developing countries. The ever increasing price of traditional building materials results in high capital investments for residential buildings. Palmyrah is a significant economic resource, widely spread all over the northeast region of Sri Lanka. This research explores the technical feasibility of using heartwood of Palmyrah as a reinforcing member in lightly loaded concrete elements. Initially, mechanical properties of Palmyrah were examined through static bending, tensile, and compressive tests. Percentages of water absorption, dimensional stability, and anchorage bond strength were investigated to envisage the suitability of Palmyrah as reinforcement. Next, several short span slabs and beams reinforced with Palmyrah strips were subjected to tests. It was observed that Palmyrah reinforcement enhanced the moment capacity of the slabs and beams compared to unreinforced sections. Experimental failure loads of slabs and beams were higher than theoretically predicted values with Palmyrah reinforcement. Further, Palmyrah reinforced beams and slabs underwent flexural failures. Thus, it is concluded that heartwood of Palmyrah has the potential to be used as reinforcement in lightly loaded slabs and beams. Further research is recommended to investigate the durability and serviceability issues.