Letter: Another Silver Creek Bridge idea — 3D printing

Posted 6/6/19

Here is an example of a well designed bridge structure that was actually created using a 3-D printer in China.

The Chinese creation spans 26.3 meters (a little over 86 feet) and has a width of 2.6 …

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Letter: Another Silver Creek Bridge idea — 3D printing

Posted

Here is an example of a well designed bridge structure that was actually created using a 3-D printer in China.

The Chinese creation spans 26.3 meters (a little over 86 feet) and has a width of 2.6 meters (almost 12 feet). Its design is a tribute to Chinese architectural history, referencing the historic Zhaozhou Bridge, built in A.D. 605, the country’s oldest standing bridge.

While the ancient Zhaozhou span required a decade to build, Professor Xu Weiguo’s team at Tsinghua University needed only 450 hours of printing to finish all of their new bridge’s concrete components. That translates to a little under 19 days. In a press statement, Professor Xu’s team also says that the bridge’s cost came in at just two-thirds the tally of an ordinary bridge, with savings coming from cutting down on materials and engineering.

A structure like this could easily be fabricated off-site for the Silver Creek span in Bristol. It could be created from lightweight, high-strength composite materials and placed on concrete pylons set in place on either side of the roadway, without interrupting or rerouting Route 114  traffic. Once the concrete pylons have cured, the bridge structure itself can be craned into place and bolted down onto the head of the pylons in one night of work. After the bridge is in place, the old roadbed can be removed from below.

Rhode Island and the DOT could merit some kudos for innovative engineering, and the Town of Bristol can continue to do its business uninterrupted.

George Burman
Bristsol

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