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> Bio-based Composite Footbridge



Bridge design, Bio-based Composites; Bio-based Materials; Circular Economy; Life Time Design; Sustainability.

Project Duration


Initiated by

Eindhoven University of Technology (Project-leader), Delft University of Technology, NPSP BV company and Centre of Expertise Bio-Based Economy, Breda, Netherlands

Research Team (at TU Delft) 

R. Blok, J. Smits , P. Teuffel


R. Gkaidatzis


The project aims were to design and build a small, but fully bio-based composite footbridge at the campus of TU/e, and to monitor the service life and degradation in relation to user safety. The project was initiated in November 2015 as a 3TU lighthouse project. The design process started in January 2016 and the bridge was opened by the Alderman of the city of Eindhoven on October 27th 2016. The main load bearing material that has been used to build the footbridge is a bio-composite, for which the scientific name Natural-Fibre Reinforced Bio-Polymer (NFRBP) is proposed. The fibres that were used were partially hemp fibres and partially flax fibres, combined with an epoxy resin that has a 56% bio content. The non-structural core of the bridge was made out of PLA, also known as polylactide, an aliphatic thermoplastic polyester produced from renewable resources. 

The scope of the project has involved the architectural as well as structural design, the generation, development and selection of design options and the realisation, production and construction of a prototype footbridge of 14 m spanning the Dommel at TU/e campus Eindhoven (figure 1). The design follows the requirements in existing codes and standards. An LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) of the bridge as well as a report describing the design steps has been made as part of the project. This paper studies the specific material properties of bio-composites from an architectural as well as structural point of view and discusses the impact of working with bio-composite on the design process.


  • Blok, R., Smits, J., Gkaidatzis, R., Teuffel P. , 2019. Bio-composite footbridge; design, production and in situ monitoring. Structural Engineering International. 29, 3, p. 453-465 13 p.

  • Smits J., 2019, The Art of Bridge Design: Identifying a design approach for well-integrated, integrally-designed and socially-valued bridges. PhD Thesis, TU Delft | Architecture and the Built environment. 212 p.

Funded by

3TU.Bouw lighthouse Grant

Contact (at TU Delft)

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