Heavy machinery probably comes to mind when thinking of moving 25 tons of stone. However, some of the oldest structure that were build happened before electrical machinery were invented. When we look at an example we look at one of many massive monuments, the Moai on Easter Island which means that there must’ve been some way that ancient peoples were able to transport such heavy material without the advent of machines.
The Cambridge-based firm Matter Design has finally came to understand this engineering tactic of moving a ton through their research on “weightless” concrete forms.
They worked with research and development at CEMEX, a building materials company, and created a way of moving stones that would typically need cranes or other equipment to lift.
The project, which is called the Walking Assembly, was documented in a fascinating video where you can see average people moving large concrete form. The stones have rounded edges which made it possible for the people to tip the rock forward and backwards.
The group each took a rock and placed it together like a jig-saw puzzle. Giant pegs are also inserted into sections of the stones which offer more movement control and with each stone placed together, the pieces become whole platforms, walls, and staircases.
The team focused on density in order to make the task a feasible one. And finally to answer how it is possible to move such a large stone the team answered “By using variable density concrete, the center of mass of the object is calibrated precisely to control the stable but easy motion of the elements.”
This research may help the outside world particularly in areas that are difficult to reach with machines. It could be easier to assemble structures without the use of heavy machinery as well as taking a modular approach to building them. That way, if something needed to be repaired, the whole thing wouldn’t need to be demolished, just redesigned.
Watch the video here: https://vimeo.com/329691145