Once upon a time, in the midst of World War II, an innovative scientist named Geoffrey Pyke had an idea. It was born out of difficulties arising from what was called the “mid-Atlantic gap,” a wide stretch of ocean traveled by vulnerable UK-bound ships who were too far from the shore for the short range aircraft to protect. They needed an aircraft carrier made from something that was large, could float, and wouldn’t use up the valuable supply of metal.
It wasn’t just any ice, however. Pyke found that if you added wood pulp to your ordinary frozen water, it created a stronger, less melty version of the ice we all know and love. It was dubbed pykrete—a clever mix of Pyke’s name and “concrete”—and then this happened:
And then this happened:
But alas, the Habakkuk itself never happened. The idea wasn’t a bad one—it probably would have worked. But in the months it took to build a smaller scale prototype–which held up very well to testing, it should be said—the need for a mid-Atlantic gap ice aircraft melted away and the project was abandoned.
Find more on this intriguing bit of history with a search on Newspapers.com.
One thought on “The Ice Aircraft Carrier That Almost Was”
This with the HMCS Habakkuk would most likely work. Though the pykrete would melt slow, you’d need quite the refrigeration system. It would be an awesome ship to serve on if you are cold tolerant! An iceberg ship like this would be good in the Middle East. Why? Easy. The crew to inhabit it would never have to contend with heat stress, a potential problem if you drive a ship in the Middle East. For a modern version, the name USS Deathstar would be good. Let the people there contend with the heat while the crew of this USS Deathstar keep cool with all the A/C they want. (and then some)
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