3D printing is now quite a mature technology that covers a wide range of projects – from small consumer plastic figures to hardened metal fins for turbines of Boeing 787. There is now another application of this technology – thanks to the University of Technology in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Researchers from the institute have begun to produce a 3D printer for reinforced concrete to build a bridge for cyclists. When the construction is over, the bridge will become the world’s first to use similar 3D-printed concrete.
The printing of the concrete parts has begun and the construction of the bridge itself should start in September this year. To make sure the technology is robust and secure enough, the team has built a 1:12 scale version of the bridge that has managed to withstand a 2 ton load. If you’re wondering why some people are bothering to print concrete and what are the benefits of normal pouring, one of these benefits is that 3D printing saves a lot of material. Also, the production of concrete by this method does not emit harmful emissions, and architects have more freedom in design.
Another great advantage is that the reinforcing fixture can be printed with the concrete, resulting in greater stability and homogeneity of the material. Of course, this bridge is designed for much lighter loads than bridges that have to deal with road traffic, but the technology can easily scale to larger projects and loads.