Bamboo is one of nature’s most amazing gifts. It is a common belief that bamboo is a tree but it is not. In fact, it is the largest grass in the world. It can grow up to 1 meter in only 24 hours.
It can help protect the environment, make clothing, and produce a vast number of products. People also use it as a construction material and to create fencing to protect their privacy.
As it is getting more and more popular, people start wondering about its safety. So, is bamboo flammable? If yes, how to make it fire-resistant? Dive in to know more!
Does Bamboo Burn?
Yes, bamboo can burn. The peak temperature at which it can burn on its own is 204°C (400°F). This is why bamboo is considered flammable and we should be cautious about using it in our homes since it can burn more readily than many types of wood.
An auto-ignition temperature of 204°C (400°F) is relatively low. So, bamboo is considered a flammable subject. In case of a fire hazard, bamboo will catch fire very readily and spread it even further.
For people who are living in an area with a high risk of wildfire, they should avoid planting bamboo on their property. These plants grow very close together and they are tall and dry which gives them the ability to spread wildfire even further and damage their property.
Bamboo has more than 1500 different species, and all of them are flammable with no exceptions.
Does Bamboo Burn Easily?
Yes, all types of bamboo can catch fire very easily. Bamboo has fire-prone characteristics and a low auto-ignition point of 204°C (400°F), which makes it susceptible to catching and spreading fire easily.
Bamboo makes a very good privacy screen for your property since they are tall and grow very close together. It also grows quickly, up to one meter in 24 hours, which makes it a great option for house owners to plant in their gardens.
However, planting bamboo on your property imposes a risk of a fire hazard since it can catch fire easily and readily. So, it is best to replace bamboo with another fire-resistant subject, especially if you are living in an area with recurring wildfires.
To be on the safe side, bamboo should not be planted within 15’ of driveways or 30’ of a property.
At What Temp Will Bamboo Catch Fire?
The ignition temperature at which bamboo will catch fire is anywhere between 241°C and 265°C (465.8°F – 509°F). The auto-ignition temperature at which bamboo will catch fire on its own without being exposed to a flame is around 204°C (400°F).
These temperatures are quite low and they make bamboo a highly flammable plant that can spread fire readily. So, it is advised to be very cautious if you decide to plant bamboo on your property.
It is also advised to look for other fire-resistant plants instead.
Is Bamboo Clothing Flammable?
Yes, bamboo is flammable as a fabric, but it is not more flammable than cotton. Also, it has a lower ignition point than polyester. So, it is safe to wear bamboo fabric with no worries.
Bamboo fabric is flammable but not to a dangerous extent that you need to worry about. It is similar in flammability to cotton and even less flammable than polyester.
While the bamboo fabric is flammable, we should also keep in mind that the way the fabric is woven also affects the fabric’s flammability.
For instance, if your bamboo fabric is light and loosely woven, it will burn very fast. On the other hand, if your bamboo fabric is heavy and tightly woven, it will burn much slower. This is because when your fabric is loosely woven, more oxygen can get in between the threads and cause it to burn faster.
In fact, this rule applies to all kinds of fabrics, not only bamboo fabric.
Is Bamboo Fencing Flammable?
Unless bamboo fencing was treated with fire-resistant chemicals, it is flammable and dangerous to plant in your garden or around your property.
As people are recently looking for environmentally friendly materials to use around their houses, bamboo is coming into the picture and getting more and more popular every day.
As a fencing material, it does its job perfectly as it is high enough to hide anything inside your house and they also grow very tightly and close to each other.
However, many gardening publications have advised not to use bamboo as fencing or a privacy screen around your house due to its high flammability. You can either treat it with fire-resistant chemicals to enjoy its privacy characteristics or replace it with other fire-resistant materials.
Is Burning Bamboo Harmful?
Yes, burning bamboo can be very harmful as the resulting fumes are toxic to inhale. Bamboo could be contaminated with heavy metals, and when burnt, their gaseous form is very harmful to the human body.
Bamboo can grow in harsh environments and marginal lands where you cannot plant trees and other crops. That’s why there is a very high probability that it can be contaminated with toxic metals.
Some of these metals are nickel, copper, cadmium, lead, chromium, and more. Moreover, you can find arsenic in some types of bamboo as well. When you burn bamboo, you can produce lead oxide and other harmful oxides that are toxic when inhaled.
So, you should never burn bamboo or come close to it if it is burning.
How to Make Bamboo Fire-Resistant?
Bamboo on its own is not fire-resistant at all and to make it fire-resistant, you will need to follow one of the following methods:
1. Use Boric Acid
Generally, boric acid is used as a flame retardant in insulation products. You can also chemically treat bamboo with boric acid to make it less flammable. Bamboo that has been treated with boric acid can handle heat up to 400°C (752°F), which is almost double what it can normally handle without getting burnt.
2. Use This Special Formula
Boric acid is good at making bamboo fire-resistant. But if you want to make it even more fire-resistant, you can use this special formula: sodium dichromate, zinc chloride, copper sulfate, and boric acid with a ratio of 6:5:1:3 in order.
The recommended concentration for this formula to use on bamboo is 25%. Keep in mind that only the inner layer of bamboo absorbs moisture and fluids and the outer layer doesn’t. So, to apply this formula or simply boric acid alone, you will need to submerge the bamboo poles in it entirely and not just apply it on the surface.
3. Laminate It With Resin
Bamboo products that are laminated with resin are very fire-resistant. So, you can apply resin to your bamboo poles to make them less prone to catching and spreading fire.
Can Bamboo Explode?
Yes, bamboo can explode. As the bamboo pole grows, it forms small pockets of air inside of it. When exposed to fire or heat, the air inside these air pockets starts to expand, which will cause the bamboo to explode.
In fact, it is thought that this is how the first firecracker was made. Air trapped in a tiny space and then exposed to heat will result in the air expanding and causing an explosion. And this is what happens with bamboo if you expose it to heat.
That’s why you should never try to heat up your house by burning bamboo instead of burning wood. The bamboo will explode and shred into tiny pieces.
Is Bamboo More Flammable Than Wood?
Yes, bamboo is more flammable than most kinds of wood. So, wood is the safer option when used as a construction material. Or you can use bamboo but after you make sure that it has been treated chemically to become fire-resistant.
What Is Bamboo Wood?
Actually, there is no such thing as bamboo wood. Because bamboo is as hard as wood, people have been commonly calling it bamboo wood. However, bamboo belongs to the grass family and it is the largest grass in the world.
Does Bamboo Burn or Melt?
Bamboo is flammable and it burns when exposed to a source of heat. In fact, it can explode and shred into tiny pieces if exposed to heat for a prolonged period of time until the air inside of it expands.
Is Green Bamboo Flammable?
Yes, green bamboo is flammable just like all types of bamboo which are more than 1500 types. So, it should be on the list of plants that you should avoid planting in your garden.
Bamboo is a wonder of nature. It is an environmentally friendly material that is getting popular due to its various uses. However, before keeping it around your house, you should keep in mind that it is a flammable material that can catch and spread fire readily. Moreover, it can explode if exposed to heat for a long time.
We hope that this article has answered all of your questions regarding bamboo and its safety.