3D printing is a technology that’s made waves in the prototyping process for many industries. It’s even starting to play a role in the manufacture of various parts and components, including some notably durable ones thanks to printable metal alloys and other materials. For larger structures, however, 3D printed forms have been fairly limited until the creation of this concrete cycling bridge.
Image Source: Digital Trends
A First For Civil Infrastructure
Located in Gemert, North Brabant in the Netherlands, the 3D printed cycling bridge is the first of its kind and has been recognized as the “first civil infrastructure project to be realized with 3D-concrete printing”. At 26 feet in length, it’s not a particularly large structure but it’s functional and sturdy enough to support five tons, which is more than enough weight capacity needed to accommodate hundreds of cyclists who are expected to use the bridge on a daily basis.
Efficient, Economical, And Green
The bridge is comprised of 800 layers of concrete and steel reinforced cables, which were placed using a new 3D printing method that was developed by the bridge’s creators at Eindhoven University. Like 3D printing used for smaller scale projects, this method allows for the creation of solid forms in any shape, without the use of molds or other types of form-ware. It also allows for a more consistent, efficient, and economical distribution of concrete, which contributes to lower carbon emissions.
Promise For Bigger Projects
Though the technique may need to be refined to create larger structures, it shows promise for further use in the construction industry. The researchers behind this design are currently involved in the development of 3D printed houses that will eventually be actual living spaces for residents.
What are your thoughts on this technology and its use for construction projects? Comment and tell us what you think.