Published on October 11th, 2017 | By: Faye Oney0
Video: This is the first 3-D printed reinforced concrete bridge in the worldPublished on October 11th, 2017 | By: Faye Oney
[Image above] Credit: Koninklijke BAM Groep/Royal BAM Group
It sure seems as though additive manufacturing is making inroads in the construction industry with the development of 3-D printed concrete structures. A couple years ago we reported on 3-D printed cement blocks. Last year an entire castle was 3-D printed in concrete. Several months ago, we learned of the first concrete bridge that was built with a 3-D printer.
And to get students excited about STEM careers, the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship offered students an opportunity to participate in a project this past summer involving additive manufacturing of cement.
Sounds like there’s a lot of creative potential for this material when it comes to 3-D printing.
But back to the bridge. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) recently built the world’s first 3-D printed reinforced concrete bike bridge. The difference between this bridge and the one we reported on earlier this year is reinforcement with large steel cables.
Led by Theo Salet, professor of concrete construction at the university, the research team worked with Dutch construction company BAM Infra to “print” components of the bridge. And the team took an eco-friendly approach to the bridge’s creation. According to a news story on the university’s website, the concrete they used was thicker than typical concrete, so it keeps its shape as it’s being printed. The process also uses less cement, which in turn, releases less CO2, making it easier on the environment.
The other coolness factor lies in the steel cable reinforcements, which are added at the same time the machine prints the concrete blocks. This process, developed by Salat’s team, prestresses the concrete so it can support loads beyond its own weight.
BAM Infra began printing the bridge components in June. The completed bridge was to be placed in the village of Gemert, Netherlands, in September, according to TU/e’s release.
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