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Striatus Is World’s First Freestanding Concrete 3D Printed Bridge In Venice
Ever since folks developed the ability to 3D print just about anything that crossed their minds, this technology has seen applications in every industry ranging from toys to automotive components, and even spacecraft.

Striatus Is World’s First Freestanding Concrete 3D Printed Bridge In Venice

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The newest addition to 3D printing tech, is the ability to build freestanding structures like homes and bridges, the freshest venture of which, has sparked a freestanding bridge right in the middle of Venice. Why is this such a big deal? Well, it stands on its own without any sort of reinforcement or post-tensioning.

Behind the project are a number of teams, one of which are the famed architects of Zaha Hadid. Yes, the same team that brought forth those twisted and alien-like Unique Circle yachts. Looking at this new bridge, I wasn’t surprised when I learned of the architects behind the design.

A wide number of other teams were also included in the project, including ETHzurich, BRG, CODE, incremental3D, and Holcim. With all their knowledge, you can now visit this bridge in Venice and even take photos on it, or simply let your kids play. Well, at least wait until all the coverage dies down.

The entire structure is completed from a similar building material as the famed Vulcan printer used by ICON. Although the mixture of concrete and other particles may differ from the one used by the Vulcan, the principle is the same; print layer by layer, and by the time you need to set a new layer, the previous one should already be hardened as to support the added weight.

One benefit of this sort of building material is that it can be torn down, reused, and recycled. Let’s say the mayor wants a new bridge in place because the old one is getting a bit rickety. When that happens, the old bridge can be broken down and used as material for the new structure.

Now, the way this bridge has been constructed may differ a bit from traditional building techniques, after all, it’s 3D printed. But, the way it’s built is more in line with old bridge building methods where the weight of each segment is what holds the rest of the structure in place, much like old Roman bridges.

Because this sort of technique is used, the Striatus isn’t completed from one continues print, but rather an array of segments that are then set in place and fixed under their own weight. The only other component used are some rubber-like sheets between segments to help them from deteriorating one another, and to prevent slipping.

Once pieces arrived on site, the teams built a wooden frame upon which to start setting segments in place. One the last structure was in place, and tensions at their highest point possible, the builders begin to remove the support structure upon which the bridge was set. From here, well, nothing really. You know for a fact that it worked as here you have an article about this whole venture.

What does this sort of successful build mean for urban landscapes? A whole lot. Just think of the way cities will begin to look. Even Amsterdam has recently built a similar 3D printed bridge over one of its canals. What's next?

One thing is for sure, if we can now build bridges and homes with 3D printing, thing of what we’ll be able to do with this technology in the next five to ten years. I wouldn’t be surprised to see 3D printed lightbulbs or skin.



Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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