ice ice, baby.
June 2, 2003 1:13 PM   Subscribe

Churchill's war plan: super-ice. "What was bobbing about in Churchill’s bathtub was no ordinary ice: it was pykrete." A well-researched story of a kooky inventor, a secret government plan, and some mad science.
posted by RJ Reynolds (25 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
sweet, sweet link. Remind anyone else of Ice-Nine?
posted by cohappy at 1:28 PM on June 2, 2003

Yes, or perhaps Ice 8.5 at least.

I wonder how these ships would have stood up to Hitler's planned Rock-Salt Bomb.
posted by scarabic at 1:31 PM on June 2, 2003

I appreciate this, but what should I do with this arcane knowledge?
posted by jamespake at 1:46 PM on June 2, 2003

wow. good link. very interesting.
posted by fishfucker at 1:49 PM on June 2, 2003

Sweet link. I'm gonna steal it. :-)
posted by NortonDC at 1:54 PM on June 2, 2003

Well, if I ever want to build a bulletproof snow fort, I know how to do it...
posted by Soliloquy at 2:04 PM on June 2, 2003

I appreciate this, but what should I do with this arcane knowledge?

Steal it for a steampunk RPG!
posted by ursus_comiter at 2:05 PM on June 2, 2003

I'm both calmed, and terrified to see the first comment referencing Vonnegut.
posted by KnitWit at 2:29 PM on June 2, 2003

Fired into pykrete, it will penetrate less than half as far—about the same distance as a bullet fired into brickwork.

Nice sentence above. Adding wood pulp reminds me of the making of TNT. Two common known substances mixed to make one strong one, the designer of this world obvious knew his chemistry.

terrified to see the first comment referencing Vonnegut.
Kept thinking Mr Ice teams up with Mr. Wood. Any comic book buffs know if Mr Ice ever made this concoction.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:39 PM on June 2, 2003

Steal it for a steampunk RPG!

I would if I could.
posted by jamespake at 2:44 PM on June 2, 2003

I often wondered why big, dirty banks of snow would take weeks to melt in the spring, even under intense sunshine. The same thing that happens when you mix wood with water probably happens when you mix dirt and/or pollution with water. Yeah, I'll bet that's it.
posted by PigAlien at 3:09 PM on June 2, 2003

Mr Ice, Shows my comic book knowledge, Mr. Freeze...
posted by thomcatspike at 3:30 PM on June 2, 2003

More information on the practical side of using Pykrete.
posted by quin at 3:40 PM on June 2, 2003

Pictures of the ice-ship prototype. Pyke was an odd duck, but then this particular war seemed to breed quite a few of those, or at least promote them to positions where they could actually try things out -- like floating tanks and chain-whip mine-clearing attachments.
posted by dhartung at 3:58 PM on June 2, 2003

Beat me to it dhartung!
Every time I run across this topic it fascinates me.
posted by effer27 at 4:12 PM on June 2, 2003

Seems like it would be an ideal substance with with to make unmanned space craft. Strong, cheap, etc. If we ever get to the point where we're actually trying to get large quantities of material into space, I woudn't be surprised to hear about this again.

It would be very practical today for seaborn cargo-ships.
posted by GriffX at 4:21 PM on June 2, 2003

There was a time in the early 90's when insane geniuses was the only topic I wanted to talk about, and Pyke was at the top of my list. I had three bookfinding agencies working to get me a copy of Pyke's biography, and finally got it about 8 years ago. Well worth it. Pykrete was only the tip of the iceberg with this fellow.
posted by planetkyoto at 4:25 PM on June 2, 2003 [1 favorite]

I was born on a Pykrete ship.

[/obscure reference to silly childhood joke]
posted by srboisvert at 5:26 PM on June 2, 2003

Sounds downright sensible compared to that crazy "nuclear fission" project the 'mericans wasted all their time on.
posted by straight at 5:40 PM on June 2, 2003

[this is good]
posted by dg at 7:29 PM on June 2, 2003

One wonders what the Nazis would have made of it, what with their Welteislehre and all.
posted by gimonca at 8:20 PM on June 2, 2003

This is indeed good. First read about Pykrete in the fabulous magazine American Heritage of Invention & Technology a few years back, and have been intrigued by it ever since. Thanks, Choire!
posted by Vidiot at 8:47 PM on June 2, 2003

yeah, i thought it was going to be about ice-9 too! silly me :D didn't they have bombs that skipped along the water too? pykrete bombs.
posted by kliuless at 8:50 PM on June 2, 2003

I know what I'll be doing next winter. Of course, this stuff probably does not have the best possible qualities for a sailboat hull, but it should be quite damn cheap and easy to build one on lake ice and sail it until it melts, I just have to take care not to sink the rigging, but other than that, the project sounds doable.
dhartung: Raisu demining vehicle and of course many Infantry Fighting Vehicles are amphibious.
posted by lazy-ville at 5:33 AM on June 3, 2003

groovy link! Thanks. :)
posted by dejah420 at 7:07 PM on June 3, 2003

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