Summer 2016. The application of bio-based materials in the built environment is an extremely promising approach towards achieving a more circular economy and a sustainable environment, which is one of the National Science Agenda’s themes: “Energy and raw materials: Circular economy”.  Recent developments have shown that bio-based materials can provide a useful approach for recyclable objects. Until now fully bio-based primary structural elements have not been used and the applications are limited to experiments with facades components. So far some bio-based building projects have been realized world-wide, but either they focused on non-structural elements or they used partially building materials, which were based on fossils materials.

The B3-project (Fully Bio-Based composite pedestrian Bridge) aims to design, produce and realize a small, but fully bio-based composite pedestrian bridge at the campus of TU/e. In addition, the project integrates sensor technology into the bridge to make it self-sensing. Optical fibre Bragg grating sensor technology (FBG) is chosen which is the far most promising technology to implement self-sensing features in composite materials.  Why? Because their non-intrusive and small dimensions (~100 – 200µm diameter), high sensitivity and multiplexing capacity (up to 40 independent sensors in one fibre) match very well the requirements.