IIT Hyderabad, in collaboration with Simpliforge Creations, has developed India’s first prototype bridge using indigenous 3D printing technology. This innovative method uses a computer-created design to create three-dimensional physical objects by adding several successive thin layers of material. The bridge has been designed to minimize the use of concrete and reinforcement and follows the concept of ‘Material follows Force,’ which means that the material is placed according to the forces that will be acting on the structure.
Simpliforge Creations developed an extrusion and software system specifically for the project to fully exhibit the merits of its 3D printing system. Using an industrial robotic arm 3D printer, the bridge was printed off-site in less than two hours at the Simpliforge Printing facility and assembled on-site at Charvitha Meadows, Siddipet. Currently, the prototype bridge is undergoing load testing and evaluation for functional use.
According to Prof K V L Subramaniam, who led the research group from the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT Hyderabad, “3D concrete printing is an emerging technology that has the potential for transforming the construction industry with the promise of rapid, efficient, and free-form construction.” The bridge is a testament to the capabilities of 3D construction printing technology and its potential applications in infrastructural requirements, defense, and disaster scenarios owing to its speed and ease.
The successful development of this prototype bridge is a significant achievement and represents a promising step towards the adoption of 3D printing technology in the construction industry. With the potential for rapid and efficient construction, 3D printing technology can revolutionize the construction industry and improve the speed and efficiency of infrastructure development.