An ecologically sustainable footbridge made of basalt-fiber composite with a polyester resin was moved to operation just outside Rotterdam.
Green technology and cradle to cradle manufacturing are getting out of theoretical speculations and are becoming reality. Fully recyclable materials, waste-free manufacturing technologies and low energy consumption processes are being put into practice.
The bio-based bridge constructed over the canal in Rotterdam business park, Schiphol Logistics Park, adjacent to the large airport, illustrated this type of projects.
This bridge is Rafail Gkaidatzis’s Master diploma project, who is an architect specialized in structural design, from Delft University of Technology.
Delft University of Technology joined forces with FiberCore Europe (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) and Schiphol Logistics Park to foster this idea. They managed to solve some technological issues, since never before had bridges been made of such materials.
The main material, basalt fiber, was supplied by Mafic SA. As a matrix, the designers used a bio-based polyester, also applying balsa in the bridge construction. They called their 15m-long, 2m-wide bridge “bio-basalt balsa,” or B3.
The deck surface is made of basalt fiber composite since it offers substantive advantages:
- high strength and durability;
- low energy requirement during construction;
- low maintenance requirement;
- long service life;
- no rot or corrosion;
- eco-friendly and sustainable material.
As a result, the bridge material is expected to last for at least 100 years.
Basalt fiber is a fully recyclable material, which was an important argument in its favour: it is possible to re-melt and pull out fibers again once the bridge service life is ended.
FiberCore Europe was specialized in aerospace technology. Currently, they apply their sustainable, high-tech knowledge in the civil sector.
FiberCore Europe has already realized more than 700 constructions in the Netherlands, including the largest carbon bridge span and the largest lock gates made of fiber-reinforced plastic in the world.
The company considers that their customers have started to show strong interest in fiber-reinforced composites and its application for sustainable development.
Mafic, one of the leading manufacturers of basalt fiber and basalt fiber based products, is among sponsors of the unique bridge, supplying fiber for the basalt composite.