Between December 28 and February 13, a team of students and volunteers will join forces in Finland to build the world's longest ice bridge - 213 feet long and 16 feet wide - that's strong enough to hold a two-ton car.
Adding an artistic twist, the team plans to design the bridge based on a 1502 sketch by Leonardo Da Vinci. The sketch is of a bridge once planned to go over the Bosporus, a natural strait and waterway in northwestern Turkey. But it was never built.
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The international project, which is lead by Eindhoven University of Technology, is the third of its kind. In the past, students set out to build the world's largest ice-domes, as well as the world's highest ice-domes.
This will not only be a test of teamwork and perseverance, but also a race against time. Stopping the work at any time will cause the equipment to freeze, thanks to the incredibly low temperatures. Workers have committed to shifts so that the ice construction is continually progressing, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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A material called pykrete, which is a combination of water mixed with paper fiber, will be used to build the bridge. When frozen, pykrete is known to be three times stronger than regular ice and up to 10 times tougher.
Researchers will spray the mixture onto a enormous inflated balloon that will serve as a mold for the arch. Later, it will be removed from underneath when the material overhead takes hold.
After the bridge is tested and withstands the weight of a car, it will then be used only for pedestrians.... thousands of pedestrians, which is what the university believes the work of art will attract. And months later, when the ice melts in the spring, the paper fiber will be used as compost.
via Eindhoven University of Technology