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Why No Consideration of Pykrete?

Home Forums Archive Structure Designs Why No Consideration of Pykrete?

This topic contains 38 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of jrlichtman jrlichtman 4 years ago.

Viewing 9 posts - 31 through 39 (of 39 total)
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    Profile photo of Alan

    I won’t be counting on that perpetual motion machine any time soon, but I remember reading about Starlite back in 1993. It sounded like it was legit, but if this guy is trying to keep 51% of the profits of commercialization for himself, he is managing to screw over both humanity and himself.

    If it is what he claims it is, eventually someone else will figure out how to duplicate the effect – and since he hasn’t patented it he’ll have no legal protection. Someone else will get all the royalties, and no one in their right mind will want to do business with him anyhow. Also, Starlite was said to be ten times stronger than concrete by weight, virtually fireproof and presumably rust proof – if it is real it would be great, but it looks like it’s unobtainium.

    Profile photo of Altaica

    Belfast wrote:

    Starlite’s composition may not be that closely-guarded secret.

    Troy Hurtubise seems to have made some thing called Firepaste that does the same job.

    Ok. Post the directions on how to make some Firepaste and I’ll whip up a batch and test it.

    ouk emou alla tou logou akousantas homologein sophon estin hen

    Profile photo of Snowmeow

    Pykrete isn’t a good idea. Although it longs a lot to melt, it melts. And the energy used to keep it solid, would be used to other applications.

    The ideal would be use of sawdust with concrete instead ice. Somebody has tested this combination?

    I’ll put a cool signature when i get an idea. :)

    Profile photo of Thorizan

    If steel isn’t abundant, and your concern is attack from torpedos, then pykrete is worth considering. If neither of those are true, it would be a suboptimal choice.

    There is no fate but what we make for ourselves. Each to his fate.

    Profile photo of Elwar

    I’m surprised that nobody’s mentioned Mythbusters by now. They did a show on pykrete and the aircraft carrier from WWII.

    They did find that it was bullet proof and that it is more solid than ice and that it melts a lot slower than ice.

    They also found that mixing newspapers with ice was actually better and melted a LOT slower than pykrete.

    They made a boat out of newspaper and ice and road it around. It was no longer seaworthy after about an hour in cold Alaskan waters.

    They concluded that the aircraft carrier thing probably wouldn’t work.



    I am not a fan of dismissing things before doing experiments – so my suggestion would be – float something out (a couple of tons) and let us know the results – when you have floating it about 70 years without any significant alteration of the material you are more or less in a material class that can be considered to be a alternative to normal concrete. (if you match the price class) if not – just take mankinds most used building material…it will serve your purpose when “permanent floating” is your goal…


    Profile photo of tusavision

    Pykrete is just another engineering material and is neither good nor bad by itself.

    As a low cost building material I think it fails to make the cut in all but the coldest environments.


    Steel consumption – More than concrete, less than “all steel”

    Wood consumption – High

    Damage resistance – Very High

    Energy consumption – Moderate depending on latitude

    Initial Price – Low depending on latitude


    Steel consumption – Low

    Wood consumption – None

    Damage resistance – High

    Energy consumption – None

    Initial Price – Low

    I like Pykrete, but there’s no denying that in a world where cheap energy isn’t as cheap as it used to be: investing fuel in to cooling the ocean is pretty damn stupid. About the only place it makes sense is for construction at the poles, disposable ships with short mission lives, nuclear reactor containment, and as insulation for cryogenic storage of liquid gases such as hydrogen, oxygen, or nitrogen. (and the last 2 are questionable)

    Trying to win a pissing contest with the sun on maintaining a temperature differential is a losing battle. That’s one nuclear fussion reaction you’re better off hiding from.

    I think it makes a better artillery munition/rocket body than it does ships.

    Anyone wanna build a LOX/LH2 rocket out of the stuff with me? We just need a supply of liquid nitrogen and some ice cube trays. We’ll farm the rest from the atmosphere.

    Some fun links:





    Profile photo of Belfast

    Altaica wrote:

    Belfast wrote:

    to help stop the pykrete from melting it could be insulated with a material called Starlite

    Asbestos fibre-reinforced plastic?

    “Starlite’s composition is a closely-guarded secret,…” “…but he has not allowed them to retain samples for fear of reverse-engineering”.


    Maurice Ward inventor of Starlite died early this year (2011).

    The mystery miracle heatproof plastic

    Maurice Ward did not patent it as this would involve publish the formula and he believed other would copy it with paying him.

    Maybe be his family will be more willing to sell this remarkable material.

    Profile photo of jrlichtman

    I just spotted this thread.

    I think there’s an easy and energy efficient way to keep pykrete cool (and to do the manufacturing process). I ran the numbers and the total cost to bootstrap a fairly large seastead would probably be under a million bucks, and definitely under 2 mil.

    • Use particulate plastic from the Pacific Gyre instead of sawdust. Should work. There’s around 5kg of plastic per square kilometer, and a properly designed net can pick up a fair bit per day.
    • Use a small desalination plant on a trawler to make pure water. There’s portable units that can process 250 tons of water per day, although that’s overkill. To save money this could be rented or purchased second-hand.
    • Build something like a wide-bore PVC pipe out of pykrete, then embed it into a larger cube of the same (i.e. big block of ice with a hole right through it).
    • Connect the blocks together so that there’s a long pipe running through the length/width of the modular system.
    • Attach a passive solar refrigeration unit and a small pump, and run cold saline solution (leftovers from the desalination) through the pipes to keep the whole thing cool.
    • Once it gets big, stick a layer of topsoil on top and you’re done.

    By the way, the trial unit for Project Habbakuk apparently took three hot summers to melt, and that was after they turned off the refrigeration unit. It was around 60 ft long, and goodness knows how many tons in weight.

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