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How strong is a flax bridge?

The Smart Circular Bridge, a bridge made of flax composite in the Netherlands, was tested for its strength using reservoirs of water, weighing nearly 3500 kilograms.

The Smart Circular Bridge was designed by three universities, seven companies and three municipalities as part of an EU project. The bridge is made of a biocomposite consisting of flax and bioresin. It was on show as part of the Floriade.

Flax is a relatively new construction material. Rather than wood, which takes years to grow and get its strength, flax grows in one season and you need less surface space to produce it, so it is a very promising material for future building. But because it’s relatively new, it needs to be monitored closely to make sure the bridge is safe to use and continues to keep its strength.

To do so, four reservoirs of each 1000 litres of water were placed on the bridge, which amounts to about 3500 kilograms. The same test was been done about half a year ago. The bridge is outfitted with hundreds of sensors to measure the load. The measurements are monitored by a Belgium company.

The test aims to show that the bridges made out of flax are suitable for cyclist and pedestrians. If successful, the hope is to build bridges like this all over Europe.

Photos: Omroep Flevoland