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How to Make a Bullet Proof Snow Fort

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  • How to Make a Bullet Proof Snow Fort

    This is very chance I am somewhere with snow, I will give it a try!

    I was surprised and a skeptical about it's original concept of using pykrete to make a floating man-made runway for allied aircrafts during WWII. The aircraft carrier project was called Project Habakkuk, but it never materialized into anything.

    Non-pykrete snow fort — looks solid, but a little material science would make it nearly indestructible. Photo: Emily Carlin/Flickr

    If so, we’d like to humbly suggest that you consider pykrete for all your snow fort construction needs. Pykrete is a composite material made of a mixture of wood pulp and ice. Named for its inventor Geoffrey Pyke, pykrete was an experimental material developed during the mad science heyday of World War II.
    At a time when steel was starting to run into short supply, Pyke looked at ice, a material that can be formed for a fraction of the energy cost of steel, as a potential building tool. Early experiments ran into problems — ice is prone to being brittle — but they came across research that showed that if you mixed in cellulose with pure water, that the resulting stuff, when frozen, turned out to be quite durable.
    How durable? Let’s put it this way: Would you like a snow fort that is bullet-proof?
    Pykrete’s stopping power is similar to that of brickwork, except that when it comes to building with it, you can mold it like concrete and then you can carve it like wood. This makes is really versatile for construction, opening up all kinds of possibilities for the grand hall of your awesome ice castle. Amazingly, because of the reduced heat transference between the two component materials, it even melts more slowly than regular ice.
    "Stand for the flag ~ Kneel for the fallen"

    "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer." ~ Bruce Lee

  • #2
    Initial concept

    Geoffrey Pyke was an old friend of J.D. Bernal, and had originally been recommended to Lord Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations, by the Cabinet minister Leopold Amery. Pyke worked at Combined Operations Headquarters (COHQ), alongside Bernal, and was regarded as a genius by Mountbatten.[1]

    Pyke conceived the idea of Habbakuk while in the US organising the production of M29 Weasels for Project Plough, a scheme to assemble an elite unit for winter operations in Norway, Romania, and the Italian Alps.[1] He had been considering the problem of how to protect seaborne landings and Atlantic convoys out of reach of aircraft cover. The problem was that steel and aluminium were in short supply and required for other purposes. Pyke realized that the answer was ice, which could be manufactured for only 1% of the energy needed to make an equivalent mass of steel. He proposed that an iceberg, natural or artificial, be levelled to provide a runway and hollowed out to shelter aircraft. From New York, Pyke sent the proposal he had composed on Habbakuk via diplomatic bag to COHQ with a label forbidding anyone apart from Mountbatten from opening the package. Mountbatten in turn told Churchill about Pyke's proposal, who was enthusiastic about it.[2]

    Pyke was not the first to suggest a floating mid-ocean stopping point for aircraft, nor even the first to suggest that such a floating island could be made of ice: German scientist Dr. Gerke of Waldenberg proposed the idea and carried out some preliminary experiments in Lake Zurich in 1930.[3] The idea was a recurring one: in 1940 an idea for an ice island was circulated round The Admiralty but was treated as a joke by officers, including Nevil Shute, who circulated a memorandum that gathered ever more caustic comments. The document had to be retrieved just before it reached the Sea Lord's inbox.[4]
    "Stand for the flag ~ Kneel for the fallen"

    "A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer." ~ Bruce Lee


    • #3
      The materials were being considered for constructing unsinkable aircraft carriers. It may have been shelved due to the problem of how to keep them from melting as well as how slow they would be to move to where they were needed.

      Concrete, or ferro cement was even considered as a shipbuilding material during the war. Several concrete cargo ships were actually built.
      Last edited by SRV Ron; 07 Jan 13, 06:53.
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