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World’s first railway bridge fully suspended on CFRP hangers

The 127-meter-long Stuttgart Stadtbahn railway bridge over the A8 motorway in Germany is the world’s first network arch bridge that hangs entirely on tension elements made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), Pressebox portal reports. The 72 hangers made of CFRP are produced with Teijin carbon fiber Tenax® by Carbo-Link AG in Switzerland.

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 fulfills the demanding requirements for hangers of network arch bridges: the cross-sectional area of the CFRP cables is only a quarter compared to 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) proved 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. As Dr Bernd 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.”

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