This amazing, portable paper bridge made from just paper and glue can take up around 80 times its self weight and can be successfully replicated for bigger projects. Here’s what the ingenious IIT Delhi students have been up to now!
How would you react if we told you that a bridge made out of just paper, water and glue can take 80 times of its own weight and is water- & fire-proof?
Civil engineering students from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi have come up with one such interesting innovation that is making people sit up and take notice.
What started as just a project idea by five students from IIT Delhi in 2011 became so popular that it received queries from around the globe.
“We thought of doing something different. A lot of bridges have been made from ice cream sticks. They are already made of wood and contain weight bearing capacity, so we decided to do something which hasn’t been tried before. And that is when we planned to make a bridge using just paper, water and glue,” says Sumeet Kumar Sinha, one of brains behind this project.
How did they make it?
This one meter long span truss bridge was made using only A4 sized regular paper sheets and a mixture of water and glue. The ratio of the mixture was 2:1 (water: adhesive).
The sheets of A4 paper were rolled tightly with Fevicol and water mixture in the required ratio. These columns were later cut to appropriate dimensions as per the requirement.
“Making joints was the most difficult task. Other bridge models use nuts, bolts, etc. to stick the parts together, but in paper bridge we could not use that,” says Sinha.
Later on, the bridge was kept under the sunlight to make it stronger and harder. Finally, after efforts of over a month, a paper bridge weighing 3.72 kgs was ready which could take a weight of 250 kgs – 80 times its self-weight!
“It is very economical and environment-friendly as we are using waste paper to make the bridge,” says Sinha. The bridge has a life span of at least five to six years.
The paper bridge experiences no thermal expansion, is easy to make and can be moved anywhere. “To prevent damage from water and fire, we will do a coating on the bridge so that it can survive extreme conditions too,” Sinha says.
Right now, the bridge is just a prototype and has not been implemented at a large scale. But the team is certain that a similar bridge can be made for use on small projects like canal crossings, etc.
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The team also wants to commercialize the product and is working to create a stronger and bigger model. “It was great to see the people’s response. They did not believe that it is just made out of paper. They thought we have inserted some rod in it to make it so firm. But it is just paper and the right mixture of water and adhesive!” Sinha exclaims.
The project received a tremendously positive response during the exhibition where this project was displayed along with 300 other interesting innovations at IIT Delhi. They got mails and queries from across the globe which assured them that if implemented properly, this bridge can actually find many uses in the real world.
Watch this video to understand more about this unique paper bridge: