The Eindhoven University of Technology (TU Eindhoven) is 3D printing a concrete bicycle bridge in collaboration with construction group BAM Infrastructure (Royal BAM Group).

The bridge is 8 metres long and 3.5 metres wide with 1 cm layers of concrete. Located in the small town of Gemert, just outside Eindhoven, the bridge is expected to be completed and assembled in September 2017.

Gif shows the concrete extruding in 1 cm layers. Images via BAM Group. 

Sustainable bridge building

Designed by engineering firm Witteveen + Bos and 3D printed at TU Eindhoven, BAM’s chosen method has several advantages for the environment. Marinus Schimmel, director of BAM Infra Netherlands, explains, 

With 3D printing we have no auxiliary materials such as formwork required. This produces significantly less waste and we need to use less scarce resources. Also, this approach has a positive effect on the amount of CO2 emitted during the production of the bridge.

Using a specially formulated concrete, the material can maintain its form once printed. This means traditional formwork is not required to keep it in place while it setting. Interestingly, it seems from the images released the nozzle used by TU Eindhoven’s concrete printer appears also to be 3D printed.

The TU Eindhoven concrete 3D printer printing the bridge. Photo via De Ingenieur.

The TU Eindhoven concrete 3D printer printing the bridge. Photo via De Ingenieur.

On-site 3D printing 

While this 3D printed bridge is pre-fabricated, the developers envisage future scenarios in which the bridge will be 3D printed on-site. Shortening the process, reducing environmental impact and removing the need to assemble parts are a few of the reasons for this goal.

3D printing on-site is the end goal for many of the growing number of companies in this industry. Fellow Dutch group, CyBe Construction has developed a concrete 3D printer operating on rubber track wheels for use on a construction site. The CyBe RC 3D printer was recently deployed in Dubai to construct a drone R&D laboratory.

An artist's conception of how the finished bridge will look. Image via BAM Construction.

An artist’s conception of how the finished bridge will look. Image via BAM Construction.

3D printed bridges

Although impressive, the Dutch project is not the first 3D printed bridge as the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) 3D printed a pedestrian bridge in Madrid last year. 3D Printing Industry interviewed the IAAC team behind the project to learn more about the printing process.

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Featured image shows an artist’s impression of the finished bridge. Image via Bam Construction. 

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