Eindhoven students to build world's longest ice bridge in Finland

Impression of the ice bridge TU Eindhoven students are planning to build in Finland (Photo: TU Eindhoven). (Impression of the ice bridge TU Eindhoven students are planning to build in Finland (Photo: TU Eindhoven))

A group of TU Eindhoven students is leaving for Juuka, Finland on Monday to attempt to build the biggest bridge of ice ever, if the weather cools down enough, the university announced. This is an international project led by a team from TU/e.

The bridge will be 65 meters long, with a free span of 35 meters and five meters wide. It is based on a design by Leonardo da Vinci for a bridge over the Bosporus that was never built. The bridge is due to be completed by February 13th.

The students will use water with two percent paper fiber added to it for extra strength to build the bridge. They will spray this water mix in thin layers over an inflated balloon that will serve as a mold. If it is cold enough, the water will freeze almost instantly. Once the structure is strong enough, the balloon is removed. The paper fiber that is left behind when the bridge melts in the spring, will be used as compost.

The goal for this project is to show what the material of ice is capable of. Based on the calculations by the TU/e students,  they believe it will be strong enough to easily bear the weight of a car. The bridge's strength will be tested with a car at the opening, after which it will be used by pedestrians. It will also be the main attraction at the ice festival taking place in the Finish town at the same time.