The TheoryPykrete is a composite material made primarily from ice and wood pulp. In fact, it is indeed a bulletproof material which explains its strength on its own. It was roughly thought of around the summer of 1943 by a couple of researchers in New York and later worked on further by Max Perutz, who won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry. It was then used in World War 2 to make "berg-ships" - up to 4,000 feet long, 600 feet wide and 130 feet in depth – that could be made at a low cost price, and in great numbers, from Pykrete. Our project is to make a composite material, similar to pykrete in order to provide a efficient material with ingredients commonly found in third world countries. This composite however, will not include ice as an ingredient as Singapore has a rather hot climate in comparison with most of the world.
Experiment DetailsUsing information from pykrete, we deduce that using wood pulp to reinforce bricks should work just as well as it did for the original ice and sawdust mixture. Because the sawdust has been reduced to , we thought of a whole list of reinforcers: broken glass shards, granite powder, fine sand, shredded PET plastic from drink bottles.We then shortlisted the list to: fine sand, granite powder and sawdust as these materials are easy to acquire and find, especially in third world countries.
Our MethodUsing a kitchen-grade blender, we blended the wood pulp into a mixture that was similar to shredded paper and sawdust. The sand was also blended within a similar blender to achieve a fineness that was akin to the baby powder that is commonly found in supermarkets. The granite powder is to be ground to a similar fineness, with the exception that it is to be done via mortar and pestle instead of using a blender.
Independent Variable: Type of reinforcer.
Dependent Variable: The strength of the brick
Constant Variable: The type of clay, the shape of the bricks and size of the bricks.
HypothesisThe hypothesis is that the independent variables will strongly influence the strength of the brick and that the brick with a clay and wood pulp mixture will be the strongest. This is due to the wood pulp having long fibrous strands, thus increasing the strength of the bricks. Also, wood is a commonly found material in third-world countries, thus making it a good reinforcing material. This mixture however, will most likely not be stronger than concrete due to our materials not being industrial grade. This reduces however, reduces the cost of the material dramatically.