DSM fibre-reinforced thermoplastic to be used in 3D printing of Rotterdam footbridge

DSM is partnering with Royal HaskoningDHV and the City of Rotterdam to design and 3D print a footbridge with recyclable source material.

The prototype of the composite bridge was announced last year, with the 3D printed structure set to be installed and in use before the end of 2020.

DSM’s fibre-reinforced Arnite thermoplastic material, which combined high performance with ‘circularity’, will be used to produce the bridge as the city of Rotterdam embraces sustainable technologies. Integrating sensors into the design in order to create a digital twin of the bridge and extend its lifespan is also under consideration.

“The printed circular composite bridge enables the transition to a more sustainable and circular type of bridges with minimal wear and tear,” said Patrick Duis, Senior Application Development Specialist Additive Manufacturing at DSM. “Now that we have the new circular composite of recyclable source material along with the required performance properties available to us, we can start taking the environment-friendly design of the infrastructure to the next level.”

DSM and Royal HaskoningDHV will work closely in the design and build process with city of Rotterdam infrastructure experts, developing the bridge ‘strictly in line with the highest standards of safety’.

“The 3D printed FRP footbridge as a circular composite aligns with our city’s ambitious sustainability targets to reduce carbon footprint and promote liveability and we are proud to be the first city to test, print and install it,” commented Mozafar Said, Asset Manager from the City of Rotterdam. “We see the use of composite bridges as a smart solution to replacing our older constructions. With more than 1,000 bridges in Rotterdam, we are constantly looking to push the boundaries to develop the next generation of bridges which will be more sustainable and circular with lower maintenance and lifecycle costs.”

Maurice Kardas, Business Development Manager at Royal HaskoningDHV, added: “This is a step change which signifies a collective effort to bring innovation from idea to realisation and ushers in a new era of sustainable design and bridge functionality.”

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