Dutch engineers unveil 3D printed concrete bridge

A new cycle bridge linking a ring road around the Dutch village of Gemert is the first to be made from 3D printed concrete, its designers say.
The world's first 3D printed concrete bridge can carry loads of up to 5 tonnes and should still be carrying cyclists in 30 years time.
The world's first 3D printed concrete bridge can carry loads of up to 5 tonnes and should still be carrying cyclists in 30 years time.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NETHERLANDS (REUTERS) - Cyclists crossing the bridge in the Dutch village of Gemert will not notice anything unusual.

However, its designers say it is the world's first 3D printed concrete bridge.

It can carry loads of up to 5 tonnes and should still be carrying cyclists in 30 years time.

The team behind it says it is just as strong as a conventional concrete bridge.

"In the transverse direction, the bridge is reinforced with steel reinforcement, and the steel reinforcement has been implemented and managed during the printing process," said professor of structural design at Eindhoven University of Technology, Theo Salet

The Eindhoven University of Technology team printed 800 layers of concrete for the design and spooled steel wire through the 3D printer on top of each layer to reinforce it.

The bridge, made of six sections, was glued together and lifted into place on site.

"Concrete worldwide is responsible for a lot of carbon dioxide exhaust. And by printing concrete we can just place concrete at those spots where we need it and leave the concrete out where we don't need it, so we use less concrete," Salet said.

The team says their construction method is flexible and quick and it has the potential to be used for many different shapes.