Premier Date: April 15, 2009
The MythBusters demonstrated that a block of pykrete was able to stop a .45 caliber slug. In comparison, a block of ice was completely shattered by the bullet.
(Pykrete is a substance made of 14% sawdust or wood pulp and 86% ice by weight.)
The MythBusters subjected ice and pykrete to a mechanical stress test where lead blocks were placed onto a cantilevered slab of each material to determine its breaking point. The ice failed when the weight exceeded 40 pounds (18 kg), while the pykrete had no problem supporting all 300 pounds (136 kg) of lead blocks the MythBusters had, and resisted several additional hammer strikes from Jamie before breaking. After this test Jamie made a slab of “super pykrete” (made out of newspaper instead of wood pulp). It held the lead blocks and Adam’s weight combined, even holding strong against repeated hammer strikes.
The MythBusters first tested how long ice, pykrete, and Jamie’s special “super pykrete” could last in warm water before melting. The super pykrete proved to last the longest, prompting Adam and Jamie to use that as their main building material. The MythBusters then built a full size boat out of the super pykrete and subjected it to real world conditions. Though the boat managed to float and stay intact at speeds of up to 23 miles per hour (37 km/h), it soon began to spring leaks as the boat slowly melted. At twenty minutes into the experiment, with the boat deteriorating, the experiment was pulled, and the boat lasted another ten minutes while being piloted back to shore. Though the boat worked, it was noted that it would be highly impractical for the original myth, which predicted that an entire aircraft carrier could be built out of pykrete. They agreed to settle on a “plausible but ludicrous” conclusion.
Unable to find the necessary facilities in Alaska, the Build Team instead settled for a test location in Wisconsin. In their first test, the Build Team rammed a front engine car into the snowplow at 55 miles per hour (89 km/h). However, the snowplow failed to slice the car in two due to the thick engine block. In their second test, the Build Team used a rear engine car (made out of a front engine car with the engine relocated into the trunk), increased its speed to 70 miles per hour (113 km/h), and sharpened the edge of the snowplow to maximize the chances of slicing the car in two. Even though the front portion of the car was sliced in two, the snowplow again failed to cut through the engine block. Also, in both tests, the inflatable dummies representing the driver and the passenger did not escape unharmed, busting the myth.