3D Printed Bridge Nijmegen is finished
With a length of 29 meters, Nijmegen recently has the longest 3D printed concrete pedestrian bridge in the world. The project is unique because the pedestrian bridge was designed in complete freedom of form, thanks to the further development of 3D concrete printing technology. Characteristic of the new appearance in the Dukenburg park De Geologenstrook are the round and sloping shapes.
Printed bridges can in principle be built a lot faster than regular bridges, with more flexibility and more room for personalized designs. In addition, they are more sustainable because less concrete is needed. The ambition of the partners in this innovative project is that 3D concrete printing will ultimately lead to a sustainable construction method that can be used for the production of bridges and houses, among other things.
That is also the reason why Rijkswaterstaat, together with designer Michiel van der Kley, took the initiative for this project. They donated this special bridge as a permanent reminder to the municipality of Nijmegen in honor of its election as European Green Capital 2018.
The bridge was printed layer by layer in the concrete printing factory of Saint Gobain Weber Beamix and realized by construction company BAM. It is not only the longest, but also the largest concrete bridge in the world where the architect had all the freedom. Michiel van der Kley was able to work freely on the design and was not hindered by the material or traditional processes, such as concrete formwork.
Because the span is not constant everywhere and therefore the changing weight of the structure had to be taken into account, it was decided during the printing process to divide the bridge into printable parts. Via a parametric model – that is, based on data – the final design was generated.
For the right knowledge and expertise, the help of TU Eindhoven and in particular Theo Salet, an expert in the field of 3D printed buildings, was called in. Consultancy and engineering firm Witteveen+Bos translated the design of the bridge into printable structural components. The parametric model of the bridge was elaborated by Summum Engineering.