The world’s first lightweight 3D printed FRP bridge

Together with industry leaders DSM and CEAD, the international engineering and project management consultancy Royal HaskoningDHV is working on what will be the world’s first lightweight 3D printed fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) bridge.

By using 3D printing, the construction is built up layer by layer to form the final product. This construction technique allows for the optimisation of the bridge design, by maximising strength while minimising weight and waste.

Another advantage of additive manufacturing is that parts of the bridge can be replaced faster and cheaper. Sections that are worn down can be re-printed and fitted quickly and easily.

The bridge will be made of DSM’s material Arnite, a glass filled thermoplastic. The plastic is reinforced with continuous glass fibres, which allows it to be printed in such a large size, while providing properties necessary for a pedestrian bridge, like strength, flexibility and durability.

“This breakthrough approach will transform bridge design, revolutionising the entire value chain and bringing about greater design freedom,” Royal Haskoning SHV states. “By introducing 3D printing into infrastructure and environment, we can change the way bridges are designed and made creating new value for our clients.”

Into the bridge, sensors will be included to build a digital twin of the bridge. The sensors can predict and optimise maintenance, ensuring safety and extend the life span of the bridge.

Images: Royal HaskoningDHV