The 3D printed steel bridge designed for Amsterdam will have sensors included in the bridge, 3D printed into the material, that will allow the bridge to monitor its own health.
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Researchers from the UK’s Alan Turing Institute and Imperial College London are adding a large sensor network to MX3D’s 3D printed steel bridge, currently under development in Amsterdam and set for completion in 2018. The sensors will monitor the “health” of the 3D printed bridge in real time.
Back in September, we reported that MX3D’s 3D printed steel bridge was one-third finished and set for completion in June 2018. That promising update has now been followed by a slew of new facts about the groundbreaking Amsterdam pedestrian crossing.
The sensor network was designed by a team of structural engineers, mathematicians, computer scientists, and statisticians from the Alan Turing Institute’s Lloyd’s Register Foundation programme in data-centric engineering.
With that wealth of expertise between them, the talented team was able to create a sensor system that will purportedly ensure the long-term performance of the 3D printed bridge. Structural measurements such as strain, displacement, and vibration will all be closely monitored with the sensor system, as will environmental factors such as air quality and temperature.
Having all this data to hand will allow the 3D printed bridge engineers to keep tabs on the “health” of the Amsterdam bridge, and will also help them see how the physical properties of the bridge change over time.
Moreover, all this data collected from the sensor network won’t just end up in spreadsheets. Instead, the Dutch 3D printed bridge will have a kind of “digital twin,” a 3D computer model that engineers will be able to examine on their computer screens.