THE ICE BRIDGE SHOULD BE STRONG ENOUGH TO HOLD A 2-TON CAR
(NEWSER) – In a move Leonardo da Vinci would definitely think is pretty cool, 150 students and volunteers will be using one of the Renaissance master’s old designs to create the world’s longest ice bridge, Discovery News reports. Construction on the project—helmed by Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands—started Monday, and the 213-foot-long bridge is scheduled to be completed Feb. 13. The team is using da Vinci’s 500-year-old plans for a never-built bridge in Turkey. “The ice bridge has the same construction principle as that of da Vinci’s: The only load on the whole structure is compression,” according to a university press release. Once the bridge is completed, it is expected to be strong enough to hold a 2-ton car. It will be used by pedestrians until the ice melts.
The team will be using 900 tons of pykrete to create the bridge, Gizmag reports. According to the press release, pykrete is water mixed with 2% paper fiber and is stronger and tougher than normal ice when frozen. The team will be spraying the pykrete onto a giant balloon acting as a mold, which will ultimately be removed. The bridge is being built in Juuka, Finland, under what the press release calls “severe conditions.” (The high temperature in Juuka on Tuesday was approximately 12 degrees Fahrenheit.) “This will not only be a test of teamwork and perseverance, but also a race against time,” Discovery News states. “Stopping the work at any time will cause the equipment to freeze.” Students and volunteers will be on staggered shifts to keep work going 24 hours a day. (A scientist recently made ashocking discovery about da Vinci’s most famous work.)