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The world’s first ‘smart circular bridge’

Eindhoven University of Technology (NL) leads a EU project to build three city bridges made from a biocomposite material consisting of flax and bioresin. The first bridge is now in place in Almere, the Netherlands.

Flax has been used for thousands of years to make things like clothing, sacks and ropes. After having been replaced for a long time by fossil based materials, flax is being rediscovered. Flax is a fast-growing plant, unlike wood, for example.

The EU project ‘Smart Circular Bridge’ develops three pedestrian and bicycle bridges in the Netherlands and Germany, all made of biocomposites to demonstrate a climate-friendly bio-economy is possible. The material condition and stability are being monitored, both to ensure safety and to provide information for planning future bridges.

Made of flax, the first pedestrian bridge in Almere is 15 metres (50 ft) in length and can carry easily the weight of 275 people at once. It is located at the Floriade 2022 International Horticulture Exhibition, connecting to parts of the exhibition.

The bridge is composed of natural flax fibres, held together by resin sourced in part from natural resources. The proportion of bioresin is 25 per cent in the first bridge, but will reach 60 per cent or more in the follow-up bridges. This will be achieved by using waste products from bio-diesel production and recycled PET bottles.

Images: Smart Circular Bridges