Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Pykrete Now

House, Earth, Building  Again, this entry came from Mythbusters who explored this building material.  Back during World War II, when steel was becoming harder to obtain in Britain and their ships were being sunk by the Germans, a scientist by the name of Geoffrey Pike created this unique material.

He discovered that if you made a mixture of ice and sawdust, it was strong, melted slowly, and was extremely cheap to make.  It was named Pykrete.

It appears one of the the admiral of the fleet rushed into to visit Churchill in his bathroom to share this discovery.  Although Churchill was upset at his bath being interrupted, he understood the implications when some of the material was placed in a bathtub filled with warm water and it didn't immediately melt.  They saw its possible use in the northern waters which remained cold but there were a few problems which kept it from being used.

Although, the British government considered building an aircraft carrier from this material, it never happened due to the war ending.  Due to Mythbusters and another show, they discovered that the material does melt at a slower rate but not slow enough to keep ships from sinking. One thing that came out is that it takes a long time to freeze solid before its considered done.

Fast forward a few years to a group of students at the Eindhoven University of Technology is using the same technique of mixing 14% sawdust with water as a building material.  In 2014, they build a huge dome with a 98 foot span out of this material.  They inflated a dome, covered it in the mixture, and it froze solid enough that it created a real building. 

Sagrada Familia Cathedral Architecture Mon
Sagrada Familia
A year later, the same group began building a recreation of the Sagrada Familia in Juuka Finland.  The model is one fifth the size of the the original one.

They began construction on December 28th but due to weather issues, they did not complete it by the January 24th opening date but with a bit of push, they opened one day later.

If their weather is anything like the weather in Alaska, weather gets weird during the end of December and January.  It can be messed up till the end of March.

Any creation made of this material cannot  survive year round because the ice will melt or sublimate at least once the temperatures get close to freezing.  Its something fun to play around with and could be used to create temporary winter housing or hotels but that's all it will every be until they figure out how to keep it from melting.

Let me know what you think.  I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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