Geoffrey Pyke, a British journalist turned inventor, came up with many wacky ideas. His most famous one was a proposal to build an aircraft carrier from Pykrete - A mixture of water and sawdust - during World War II, when steel supplies were running low. While it was not possible to build it then due to technical difficulties, some brave souls have recenly tried to bring it to life. Unfortunately, the results have been quite disastrous.
The experiment, conducted by BBC One television show, The Big Bang Theory, involved mixing in 6,000 liters of water with half a ton of hemp and pouring it into a 20-ft. boat mold. The mold was then placed in a large icehouse for three weeks.
After being declared ready and seaworthy, the show's four hosts, got ready to set sail from Gosport, Hants. However, within an hour, after barely making it out of the marina, the iceboat started to disintegrate rapidly, and the hosts soon had to abandon ship and clamber on to the rescue boat.
Surprisingly however, most experts are not blaming the design for the disaster, but the BBC construction. For one, they say that Mr. Pyke's original idea was meant for the Atlantic Ocean, not the warmer waters of the Solent, a strait that separates the Isle of Wight, from mainland England.
Also, they believe that Mr. Pyke had advocated the use of pipes circulating cold air from a refrigeration unit inside the ship, to keep the ice from melting. Since this design had nothing as sophisticated, they were doomed for disaster, even before they began.
However, the biggest problem was the size of the boat - Measuring 16 ft. long and 6ft. wide, the boat was too small, resulting in most of its surface area getting exposed to the water. The original design was meant for a giant warship - one that would comprise of a lot more ice and have a much larger surface area, which in turn, would mean that it required more energy to melt. Therefore, the boat would last much longer.
Discovery Channel tried a similar experiment in 2009, for their show, Mythbusters - Their Pykrete boat had even less success, deteriorating within just 20 minutes, after its impressive launch. This hilarious episode of the Big Bang theory, a show that conducts really cool science experiments, will be broadcast on October 13th, at 7.30pm on BBC One.
Sources: wikipedia.org, dailymail.co.uk,yachtingmontly.com