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Characteristics of three western Nigerian rattan species in relation to their utilisation as construction material

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Physical and mechanical properties of three rattan cane species, Calamus deerratus, Eremospatha macrocarpa and Laccosperma secundiflorum, were evaluated. The objective was to determine their suitability for construction, especially for structural members. Proximate analyses as well as mineral contents were also determined. The moisture content and density of green samples were 155% (dry basis) and 587 kg/m3, respectively. L. secundiflorum had the highest carbohydrate content while C. deerratus had the least. Radial shrinkage and swelling exceeded longitudinal shrinkage and swelling in all the rattan species, suggesting high anisotropism in movement. Moisture content had significant effect (P < 0.05) on the moduli of elasticity and rupture of all the rattan species. The moduli of elasticity of C. deerratus, E. macrocarpa and L. secundiflorum were 3396, 516 and 11 106 N/mm2 respectively. The strength properties of the rattan canes were found to be lower than those of timber species of comparable densities. The physical and mechanical properties of the rattan canes studied were found to be adequate for use as reinforcement in lowly stressed concrete elements, such as frameworks for ferrocement and complex shaped formworks.


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