Rotterdam, March 27, 2007. With the largest carbon composite bridge span in the world, The Netherlands offers a revolutionary first at the prestigious JEC-fair in Paris. The JEC shows all innovations in fibre reinforced plastics, a.o. carbon composites.
Never before has a complete bridge, including hand railings and wear surface, been transported in one piece on a truck to Paris. The journey from Rotterdam to Paris takes three days and leads via the Ardennes, the city of Reims, and during the night through the city centre of Paris. The average transportation speed during the trip is about 12 km per hour. Arrival in Paris will be 30/ March 2007.
The carbon composite bridge is 24.5 meters long and 5 meters wide and weighs only 12 metric tonnes. This makes the bridge about 30 times lighter than a comparable concrete bridge. The bridge has been designed and produced by FiberCore Europe of Rotterdam for the Dutch municipality of Dronten, with Haasnoot Bruggen as principal. The presentation of the bridge at the JEC-fair has been facilitated by DSM Resins, the supplier of the resin used to build the bridge.
By launching the bridge in Paris, FiberCore Europe and DSM show that carbon composites are making a breakthrough in the building industry. The material is lightweight, stronger than steel and has a virtually indefinite lifespan. Furthermore, building with composites is an effective answer to global heating. Concrete and steel are quite polluting and thereby significantly contribute to this environmental problem. Bridges made of composites do not have these drawbacks and can even yield CO2-credits. With its free span of 24.5m, the bridge illustrates that composites can be produced and used in any conceivable shape. Because the bridge can be produced in series, it can be cost competitive with traditional materials like steel and concrete.
The production of composite bridges kick-starts a high-tech development in the normally quite conservative building branch. The revolutionary technology can be employed in all conceivable load bearing structures, e.g. road roofing, piers, bridge widening or balconies. According to FiberCore Europe, the application of carbon fibre technology means that the composites industry has a splendid opportunity to penetrate the building branch.
Early May of this year, the bridge will be installed within an hour en opened by a.o. the mayor of Dronten. Close to the bridge, an information centre will be opened simultaneously, which will focus on the unique properties of composite materials as a building material.