World's first bio-composite bridge built in Eindhoven

The world's first bridge built out of completely biological materials - mostly hemp and flax - was placed on the Dommel on the TU Eindhoven campus. The 14 meter long bridge weighs only 1,500 kilograms - four times less than a conventional bridge, the Telegraaf reports.

"All materials are one hundred percent organic, the 'ingredients' of the bio-composite are bio-fiber, bio-resins and bio-foam. Except for the steel bolts", TU/e researcher and project manager Rijk Blok said to the newspaper.

Students of the Technical Universities in Eindhoven and Delft and of ROC's built the bridge over the past weeks. It can hold 500 kilograms per square meter, as the standard requires. 

The bridge will be installed at the university campus for one year. "In that time we will note with 28 sensors what moisture, temperature and UV light do to the support struture and the bio-composite", Blok explained. He expects moisture will be the biggest challenge. He adds that ordinary bridges are also not built to last forever. 

According to Blok, bio-composite can be a sustainable alternative for environmentally friendly construction materials. "For the making of steel, for example, an enromous amount of oil is needed. But with the use of bio-composite in construction we reduce our dependence on finite fossil fuels such as oil."