Photo: Engineers Test 500 Years Later The Design Of A Leonardo Da Vinci Bridge

PHOTO: Engineers Test 500 Years Later The Design Of a Leonardo Da Vinci Bridge

More than 500 years ago, the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II requested proposals for the construction of a solid 280-meter bridge (the longest at that time) that would connect the Turkish city of Istanbul with its neighboring Galata. One of the projects came from Leonardo da Vinci, who was already considered a renowned engineer, but the work did not come to fruition.

Today, five centuries after the death of the Italian genius, engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) have verified, after carefully studying those plans, that the design would have really worked and resulted in cutting-edge work in the construction of bridges In those times.

Da Vinci had proposed a flattened arch bridge that spanned the required distance, high enough to allow sailboats to pass and sustained on the banks. The design also conceived an unusual way to stabilize the construction against lateral movements, which were then the main cause of collapses.


To study the project, the experts analyzed the sketches presented by Da Vinci in his letter to the Sultan, the possible materials and construction methods of the time and the geological conditions, in order to scale up the difficult model with a 3D printer.

"It took a long time, but 3D printing allowed us to accurately recreate that complex geometry," says Karly Bast, project leader. The bridge worked, remained solid and stable without the need for mortars or clamping columns.

The engineers explain that the Florentine polymath project is not very practical for modern designers and architects, given the existence of new materials and methods that enable lighter and stronger designs. However, they have shown that the viability of his work in full Renaissance "underlines the brilliance of one of the most prolific inventors in the world."

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