World’s longest 3D-printed concrete bridge opens in Shanghai

What is claimed to be the world’s largest 3D printed concrete bridge has opened in Shanghai.

The 26.3m long bridge, which spans a canal in Shanghai’s Baoshan District, was built by a team led by professor Xu Weiguo at the Tsinghua University School of Architecture in Beijing, reports Construction Manager.

The 3.6m-wide pedestrian bridge was designed by the School of Architecture’s Zoina Land Joint Research Center for Digital Architecture (JCDA), and built by Shanghai Wisdom Bay Investment Management Company.

According to JCDA, the bridge’s arched form is informed by the 1,400-year-old Anji Bridge in Zhaoxian, which is China’s oldest standing bridge.

Although based on an ancient from, the institution believes that the bridge marks a step towards the emerging technology being utilised more regularly on real-world engineering projects.

The single-arched bridge was constructed from 176 concrete units that were printed using two robotic-arm 3D-printing systems.

The structure comprises 44 hollow units, while the deck is constructed from 68 pavement units made in "the form of brain corals" filled with white pebbles, and the handrails are made from a further 64 pieces.

All the components are printed using a composite of polyethylene fibre concrete and admixtures.

The bridge is embedded with a monitoring system that will record how the concrete deforms over time. This information will be used to further help develop the use of 3D printing for engineering.

The use of 3D printing in architecture and engineering continues to grow. Last year, the world’s first steel 3D-printed bridge was unveiled at Dutch Design Week, while the US army has used 3D printing to create barracks on site.

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