Welcome to Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) where a team of students have built a replica Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia from ice. After pulling off this amazing feat, the team has its eyes set on a bridge designed by Leonardo da Vinci. If completed with success, the ice bridge would be the longest open span ever that has been created from ice.
As per TU/e, the current record holder is the first project that the university ran as part of its Structural Ice program. The Pykrete Dome was built in 2014 with a span of 30 meters. The span of the proposed project stands at 50 meters.
Pykrete is basically the name given to a mixture that has ice reinforced with paper fibers or wood. This is used for the construction of Structural Ice projects. It is, reportedly, three time stronger than regular ice and quite tough as well. The main purpose of the project is to demonstrate how pykrete can be used as a construction material for temporary structures.
Project leader and TU/e lecturer Arno Pronk said, “Pykrete offers an easy way to build slim, safe and low-cost temporary structures. For example, for temporary roads in Arctic regions, at events or for ice hotels.”
The bridge was designed originally for Istanbul back in 1502 but was never actually built. The construction will start in December this year and will be completed by mid of February in 2016. About 100 volunteers and students shall be helping out with the construction of the structure in Juuka, Finland. Universities of Leuven, Ghent, Aalto, Edinburgh and Bath will also be working in collaboration with TU/e.
The bridge shall be constructed by spraying thin layers of snow and water onto an inflated mold. Once it has frozen, alternate layers of snow and pykrete will be added. The process will be executed 24/7 with workers working in shifts. Once completed, the bridge shall be completed with a length of 328 ft. and according to Pronk the bridge will be able to comfortably handle the weight of a car.