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Floating towards the future

08/01/2020

Like a net frozen in mid-air, a striking footbridge in southern Germany is making a statement about minimalism. This gossamer structure is only possible thanks to the unique characteristics of 2205 duplex stainless steel.

At first glance, it resembles a giant piece of metallic silk. But this airy bridge offers more than just good looks; it represents new possibilities for sustainability and efficiency in structural design. The footbridge connects two production areas of the TRUMPF campus in Ditzingen near Stuttgart, Germany.


© schlaich bergermann partner

The new bridge not only provides employees and visitors with a way to move around their campus, but also serves as a showcase for what is now possible in laser-cutting technology – one of the main products of the company.

The 28-meter long and 10-meter wide footbridge was designed by schlaich bergermann partner. It consists of double curved stainless steel sheets just 20 millimeters thick. To reinforce the lightweight structure, all edges are folded downwards and twist toward the four base points to form triangular bearing points. No further bracing was required in the shell to support the 21-tonne bridge. To create the ethereal feel of the structure, holes corresponding to the flow of forces were cut into the shell with laser machines. Their size and placement were calculated to maximize airiness while maintaining structural integrity.

2205 Duplex: less is more
To realize the unique design of the bridge, 2205 duplex stainless steel was an ideal choice. With its 3% molybdenum content, it resists the corrosive environment created by deicing salts used both on, and under, the bridge. While a similar design may have been possible in carbon steel, it would not have been practical given the many perforations. Sealing all these surfaces with a protective coating would have been intricate work and therefore, expensive. Additionally, this process would have had to be repeated regularly as the coatings deteriorated, resulting in enormous maintenance costs. Finally, the bare stainless steel surface also affords the bridge a crisp and modern look.

Find out more about the construction of the bridge.

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