Shanghai have successfully opened the worlds longest 3D printed bridge. Professor of architecture at the Tsinghua University, Xu Weiguo designed the 26.3-meter-long bridge was inspired by the ancient Zhaozhou Bridge in China. Astonishingly, while the Zhaozhou Bridge took 11 years to complete, the 3D printed concrete bridge, took only 450 hours to complete by 10 workers and cost two thirds of what a traditionally built bridge would cost.
The single arch structure was created using a 3D concrete printing system. The bridge’s handrails are shaped like flowing ribbons on the arch, creating a light, elegant movement across an artificial river in the Wisdom Bay Innovation Park of Baoshan District.
The bridge is comprised of 68 side pieces and 64 deck pieces that are sandwiched together. Embedded in the bridge, a real-time monitoring system provides data on vibrating wire stresses and strains. The results will allow for a greater understanding of the practical performance of new concrete materials, and the structural properties of 3D-printed components. Concrete is not the only material undergoing major change as a result of 3D printing technology. The displacement data will be used to improve the design of future bridges.
“3D printing is a manufacturing revolution,” Xu said. “The technology greatly reduces the need for skilled labor, a commodity expected to be in severely short supply in China in the next decade or so.” He said that they plan to print a house next.
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