Students from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) will attempt to beat the world-record for the longest open span attained by an ice structure by constructing an ice bridge inspired by Leonardo da Vinci. Following a yearly tradition of exhibiting architecture made from ice, the bridge is anticipated to span an astounding 50 meters. If the team succeeds, they will shatter the school's previous record set in 2014 when students built an ice dome spanning 30 meters.
Read on after the break for more on the massive ice bridge.
Drawing inspiration from Da Vinci's unbuilt design for a bridge over the Bosphorous Strait, the ice bridge acts in compression to sustain its long, thin form, in addition to expected occupant loads. "A car should be able to drive over it with no problems," says project leader Arno Pronk,
To make the bridge a reality, the team will rely on a 24 hour construction schedule, working in shifts to prevent their equipment from freezing. Forms made of inflated balloons will be sprayed with layers of snow and water, and allowed to freeze before the process is repeated with the addition of paper fibers. Once the water-fiber slurry (called pykrete) is absorbed by the snow, the materials freeze as one, making it structurally three times stronger than normal ice.
Construction of the ice bridge is anticipated last from December to mid-February 2016 in a Finnish quarry, and will require a crew of around 100 students and volunteers. Together with ice projects from other European universities, the site will be transformed into a winter exhibition of ice architecture.
See some of TU/e's past ice projects below:
For more information, visit structuralice.com.