The Stuttgart Stadtbahn bridge in Germany is the world's first network arch bridge that hangs entirely on tension elements made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). The 72 hangers made of CFRP are produced with Teijin’s Tenax carbon fiber by Carbo-Link AG in Switzerland. The 127-meter-long railway bridge was installed over the A8 motorway near Stuttgart, Germany on May 3 this year.
|Installation of the CFRP cables for the Stuttgart Stadtbahn bridge did not require a crane. Image courtesy of Teijin.|
Originally, a conventional steel type bridge was planned, but in the end the CFRP cables are cheaper and, in particular, enable the crossing of the eight freeway lanes without supporting pillars. CFRP ideally fulfils the demanding requirements for hangers of net-work arch bridges: the cross-sectional area of the CFRP cables is only one-quarter compared of the steel solution. This is a decisive factor for the profitability of the carbon cables. Due to the low weight, the 72 CFRP tension elements could be installed without a crane and with only three construction workers.
The new bridge incorporating CFRP is also pioneering in terms of sustainability: EMPA (Federal Material Testing and Research Institute, Switzerland) calculated that CO2 emissions arising during manufacturing are only about a third compared to the steel solution and the energy consumption is more than halved.
Teijin is accelerating the development of applications for carbon fiber in architecture and construction industry and intends to further strengthen its position as the world's leading provider of cost-effective and sustainable composite solutions. Wohlmann, president of Teijin Carbon Europe GmbH said: "The Stuttgart railway bridge as the first network arch bridge solely made of CFRP cables should be groundbreaking for other bridges and constructions comprising CFRP. We are only at the beginning of manifold possibilities."