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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Pycrete

If you live in a location where you have lots of ice all year round then you can try mixing water with sawdust and then freeze the mixture. The proportion should be 86% water by weight and 14% sawdust by weight. Which means that if you want 1 kg of the mixture you need to mix 140 grams of sawdust with 860 grams of water. When the mixture freezes the product you will get is almost as hard as concrete, it is called Pycrete. 

Pycrete is much harder than ice and it melts much slower than ice. On a hot summer day 1 cubic foot ice can melt into water in an hour. However a block of pycrete of equivalent size will take many days to melt.

It also takes more time to freeze the water and sawdust mixture to make Pycrete. The reason why Pycrete melts slowly and also why pycrete forms at a slower rate as compared to ice  is due to presence of wood particles, wood is a bad conductor of heat. In parts of the world where there is snow all around the year, people can use structures created out of Pycrete.

If we want to create man made structures in Antarctica, we can very well use Pycrete to create replicas of structures like Taj Mahal, Pyramids, Sphinx, White House etc out of Pycrete, since the temperature in Antarctica always remains below freezing point this structures will never melt. 

In Antarctica people can replace ice with Pycrete to build igloos. Their homes will be stronger because Pycrete is stronger as compared to ice. 

Pycrete was named after Geoffrey Pyke, an English journalist and an inventor. During the second world war he and his team discovered the properties of a frozen mixture of water and sawdust. He wanted to build a giant aircraft carrier out of pycrete, however the project never took off. 

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