Feeds

Bridge made of recycled plastic supports 70-ton tank

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

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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". ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
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
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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 distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.