A recent group of Dutch researchers decided to test the boundaries of industrial Hemp by creating the world’s first “bio-based” bridge! Dutch researchers designed and created this footbridge as an experiment to test the load bearing properties of Hemp, which also exemplified the possibilities of using other bio-friendly materials during construction.
This “biobridge” is made from Hemp and flax fibers. Rijk Blok, researcher and project leader, says “Using biocomposite in constructions reduces our dependence on finite fossil resources and brings us a step closer to the circular economy in which products and resources are reused.” Sounds like one giant win for the planet!
Before researchers were granted permission to begin building the bridge, they first had to prove that the bridge could withstand a load of 500 kilograms per square meter in laboratory stress tests. Once that was achieved, they were granted permission to begin the building process.
For the next year, researchers will be using sensors to monitor the bridge’s performance as people walk and run over it. These 28 sensors embedded in the bridge will be used to measure strain and bending. Factors like temperature, moisture, and UV light exposure will also be monitored throughout the year.
Construction of this biobridge is one small step for man, one giant leap for the Hemp industry. Not only will this experiment prove that Hemp is capable of producing weight bearing bridges, but it will further demonstrate how Hemp can be processed into more building materials, such as hempcrete, insulation, and fiber boards!
Stay tuned for the next blog to learn more about how Hemp can be processed into more sustainable building materials.
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