Building elements from totora stems joined with mechanical systems
Authors: Juan Hidalgo, Patricio Hidalgo, Alfredo Ordoñez, Boris Orellana-Alvear
Abstract: For centuries, fast-growing species such as reeds and herbs have been used by ancient cultures to build a wide range of objects from handicrafts to huts and rafts. Several communities worldwide still use these kinds of plants as part of their traditional materials and building techniques. One of these species is totora (Schoenoplectus californicus) which grows in lakes and ponds in the Americas from California to Chile and some Pacific Islands. The most important examples of the use of this plant in the world are the group of floating islands of the Uros in Lake Titicaca and indigenous communities of the Andes, where local peoples have been using totora for more than 500 years applying mechanical joining techniques such as weaving and lashing to build their houses, boats, and utensils. This study focuses on developing new strategies supported by current technological possibilities for joining totora stems using mechanical means to produce building elements and study how the different parameters influence the mechanical properties of the parts made with these techniques.
Keywords: cattail, totora design, totora in Ecuador
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