It is the 21st century and we are waking up to a huge environmental crisis.
Humans consume all non-renewable energy sources available on this planet.
There are many crises that contribute to this global environmental crisis – uneven population explosion, massive deforestation, overconsumption, unimaginable production of non-biodegradable waste, lack of responsible waste management, recycling issues that, like these, Story today on BBC News…the list goes on.
It is only recently (in the past two decades) that we have begun to pay attention to our surroundings and try to assess human impact and consequences. So the solutions to our problems are still in progress. But among the many important steps, we must take to reduce our problems, “recycling our waste and resources” is a top priority.
Therefore, cardboard products made from 100% recycled paper are an obvious choice to replace many unsustainable and expensive materials. In fact, cardboard tubes have been around for a long time, since the 1950s, and have proven to be inexpensive and environmentally friendly.
Now used in a wide variety of industries from packaging to construction, they are particularly known for their strength, and structural integrity, and allow for 100% recycling.
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Characteristics that make cardboard the first choice for civil construction:
- 100% Recyclable – Can be reused or recycled as desired
- Inexpensive – relative to other available structural materials
- Strength and Stiffness – The ability to withstand structural loads in accordance with building codes
Technological advances in engineering processes have allowed paper tubes to be highly engineered, making them suitable for a wide variety of uses in construction and industrial rolling processes. Depending on the use and function for which they are used, cardboard cores and tubes can be designed to the size, strength, and safety required for many industrial and construction applications.
Application of cardboard tubes in architecture
Until recently, in the 2010s, cardboard had limited use in the field of architecture. This was based on the fact that the strength of the paper is compromised when exposed to high levels of moisture. This limited its use to various load-bearing structures.
However, thanks to some powerful and groundbreaking work by the 2014 Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, we can now manufacture cardboard tubes that have been specially treated to prevent moisture penetration. This technology has allowed the use of cardboard in architectural structures that exhibit high load capacity and structural strength that meets compliance and permits.
Hence, cardboard tubes are now widely used in the design of temporary or semi-permanent structures such as exhibition and entertainment spaces, homes, shelters, and even bridges! Shigeru Ban’s design was used after the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 to provide emergency shelter in the Cebu region of the Philippines.
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Cardboard tubes in construction engineering
As mentioned earlier, cardboard tubes have been used in the construction industry since the 1950s, mainly to create concrete columns for building frame construction. Large-diameter tubes have also been used traditionally in the horizontal formwork of bridges and similar structures.
Although the paperboard tubes currently available are not optimized for heavy-duty structural applications, there is a significant advantage in using paper tubes for designing structures due to their recyclability and sustainable use.
At present, many research works are already being carried out globally to effectively make use of cardboard and pipe materials to replace high-cost materials that can enable sustainable and low-cost construction. This can meet the world’s need for low-cost housing and construction.