In late 2018, the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in Amsterdam will be outfitted with a new, steel footbridge. Known for its strength, ductility and durability, steel was the ideal material to use in its construction. While you may be thinking to yourself, a steel footbridge isn’t that revolutionary given that the first steel road and railway bridge was constructed in 1874 by Andrew Carnegie, this particular bridge is innovative.
Researchers from the Imperial College London and individuals from 3D printing company, MX3D, have teamed up to create the world’s largest 3D printed metal structure. While it will be open to pedestrian traffic, the steel bridge will be the site of ongoing research. Sensors placed throughout the structure will collect data for structural engineers, mathematicians, computer scientists and statisticians to comb through. Data including strain, vibration, air quality and temperature will be evaluated to assess the health of the steel bridge over time.
The goal is to use this bridge as a guinea pig of sorts, learning from it for future 3D printed structures. Because of the many sensors, the steel bridge will be continually tested to ensure its integrity and will be able to be fixed should there be safety concerns. To learn more about the project or see the 3D printed steel bridge, click here.
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