The Bio-based composite bridge is a 4TU Lighthouse research and design project which aims to design and realize a 14m span pedestrian bridge made from fibre-reinforced polymers, that have a high percentage of bio-based content. The project came as a spin-off of the first experience with the Basalt fibre reinforced composite bridge in Schiphol. The outcome of the 4TU project is a bio-based composite bridge, which is installed over the river Domel, in the city of Eindhoven (the Netherlands). The project investigates the design potentials and structural challenges of bio-based fibre-reinforced polymers used in load-bearing applications.
Bio-based resins, natural fibres and core materials as well as bio-based coatings are researched, while different material combinations are tested in order to understand their mechanical behavior and durability (tension, compression, bending and moisture absorption). The goal of the project initiators is to prove and show that bio-based composites are a sustainable alternative for environmentally harmful construction materials.
The design approach is oriented towards the development of an optimized geometry in terms of structural efficiency and aesthetical quality. Challenges and restrictions regarding the molding production process were influential in the design process as well. Aim of the design was to promote a structure that through the plasticity and uniformity of its form it reveals the fact that it is produced by molding techniques.
The partners were TU/e, TU Delft (Joris Smits & Rafail Gkaidatzis), composite company NPSP and the Center of Expertise Biobased Economy, which is a collaboration between Avans Hogeschool and HZ University of Applied Sciences.