Feeds

Bridge made of recycled plastic supports 70-ton tank

'Concrete, steel, timber - last-generation stuff'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Vid The US Army, seeking to embiggen its green image, has proudly announced the building of the world's first bridge made from recycled plastic and able to support heavy loads. To test the recycloplast bridge, troops drove a monster 70-ton Abrams Main Battle Tank across it.

“This represents a ‘first of its kind’ event in terms of how we partnered with industry, the R&D community and government in looking for sustainable solutions to infrastructure challenges,” said Colonel Stephen J Sicinski during the dedication ceremony last week.

“What better way to commemorate this, than with a recycled plastic bridge that is going to hold an M1 Abrams Tank.”

The M1 Abrams is one of the heaviest main battle tanks - and therefore one of the heaviest ground vehicles - in current service, with modern examples generally tipping the scales at over 70 tons. The mighty machine is powered by a 1500 horsepower gas turbine and features heavy depleted-uranium armour plate - with an outer facing of explosive slabs on upgraded tanks, intended to disrupt the armour-piercing plasma jets formed by shaped charge warheads or roadside mines.

The M1's use of old uranium from nuclear powerplants is one kind of recycling, but the new bridges built at the US Army's Fort Bragg training centre are another. Made from high-strength thermoplastic processed out of 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles and suchlike, they are described by their makers as "the first known structures of their type to support loads in excess of 70 tons".

The recycloplast bridges are also said to be corrosion resistant compared to other bridge materials, meaning that they need almost no maintenance. Steel structures typically need regular repainting and inspection to guard against rust: timber needs expensive and potentially troublesome coatings or treatments. Procurement officials estimated that there would be a 34 to 1 return on the extra expense of the plastic bridges from reduced maintenance costs.

The recyclothermoplast material comes from makers Axion International, who developed it in cooperation with boffins at Rutgers University. The firm sees it as taking on many structural and building tasks in coming years, replacing "last-generation materials, such as wood, steel or concrete". ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?