Leonardo da Vinci was an inventor that was probably ahead of his time, and as such, it wasn’t surprising that not all of his ideas and designs were made into reality. One of those designs was a bridge that was rejected by his clients. This was due to the design of the bridge that raised some concerns, but now thanks to the work of researchers at MIT, they have since proven that da Vinci’s bridge would have worked.
While the bridge was not built in his time, due to the idea being rejected, the researchers attempted to bring his idea to life through his notes and sketches. This included relying on terms like “masonry” in which it tipped the researchers to a possible design strategy that da Vinci could have employed. They also inferred what kind of materials he would have used to sustain a bridge of that size.
It also seems that da Vinci had the idea of using wing walls, a common design element of modern bridges, that would have helped the bridge protect itself during strong winds. Clearly building the bridge in real-life would be impossible, so the researchers turned to 3D printing to create a 1 to 500 scale.
According to one of the researchers, Karly Bast, “When we put it in, we had to squeeze it in. That was the critical moment when we first put the bridge together. I had a lot of doubts. When I put the keystone in, I thought, ‘this is going to work.’ And after that, we took the scaffolding out, and it stood up.”