First look at 3D printed FRP composite bridge

Royal HaskoningDHV, CEAD and DSM have teamed up to design the first lightweight 3D printed FRP pedestrian bridge prototype using composite materials.

The construction consists of a glass-filled thermoplastic PET which is combined with continuous glass fibres added in the 3D printing process, this unique combination offers high strength with extreme versatility and sustainability.

Sensors built into the design enable them to build a digital copy, these sensors can also predict and optimise maintenance, ensure safety and extend the life span. It can also incorporate new functionalities such as monitoring vital environmental aspects and improve the decision-making process for maintenance and inspection via dynamic real-time reports on the condition of the bridge.

FRP bridges are already known for having a longer life expectancy with lower life cycle costs compared to steel bridges. What’s new here is the use of a 3D printing technology, enabling us to print large scale continuous fibre reinforced thermoplastic parts. Using this new composite thermoplastic material, we will be ushering in a new era for sustainability and push the boundaries of bridge functionality even further. Maurice Kardas, Business Development Manager at Royal HaskoningDHV

In future, it’s hoped this technology will lead to more efficient bridge designs helping to deliver an optimised printing process which results in improved mechanical performance.