3D Printed Steel Footbridge Unveiled in Amsterdam
A 3D printed steel pedestrian bridge has been unveiled in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Crossing the Dutch capital’s Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal, the 12-metre-long structure has been four years in the making and was developed by engineers at Imperial College London in partnership with Dutch company MX3D. To get from the conceptual stage to the installed footbridge, the Steel Structures group at Imperial conducted the underpinning research and validation, including testing destructive forces on printed elements, advanced digital twin computer simulations, non-destructive real world testing on the footbridge and the development of an advanced sensor network to monitor the bridge’s behaviour over its life.
According to Imperial, the bridge will act as a ‘living laboratory’ in Amsterdam’s city centre. Using its vast network of installed sensors, the Steel Structures team will measure, monitor and analyse the performance of the novel structure as it handles pedestrian traffic. The data from the sensors will be put into a 'digital twin' of the bridge - a computerised version which will imitate the physical bridge with growing accuracy in real time as sensor data come in. The performance and behaviour of the physical bridge will be tested against the twin, which will help answer questions about the long-term behaviour of 3D-printed steel, as well as its use in real world settings and in future novel construction projects.
Data captured from the bridge will be made available to other researchers worldwide who are interested in contributing to the study.