Superbridge over Gibraltar

Carbon nanotube bundles are becoming a feasible and economically convenient solution for the realization in our time of super bridges, such as those required across the Straits of Bab al Mandab, Messina or Gibraltar (main spans ∼2.7, 3.3 or 3.5 km, respectively). The Straits of Bab al Mandab bridge would be intercontinental bridges between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa and would cross the Red Sea. A Gibraltar bridge would be between Spain and Morocco would connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.

Several engineers have advanced designs for the Gibraltar Bridge on various alignments and with differing structural configurations. Professor T.Y. Lin’s proposal for a crossing between Point Oliveros and Point Cires was designed with 14,000 meter length, deep piers, and 5000-meter spans.

10 GPa-strong carbon nanotube fibers are today available (Koziol et al 2007), suggesting that long cables with a similar strength could be realized in the near future. Those new materials could make super-bridges more feasible.

OPAC Engineers ere engaged by Professor Lin to study structural configurations, stiffening systems, and aerodynamic performance issues for the Oliveros-Cires crossing’s 5000 m spans. Professor Lin’s proposed a hybrid stayed-suspension bridge concept. The hybrid stayed-suspension bridge was developed into the most suitable alternative, with greater rigidity and better aerodynamic characteristics than competing systems with much smaller spans. They estimated a $15 billion cost.

Stronger carbon nanotube tethers

Drum-rolled carbon nanotube tethers have been made with a strength of 9.6 GPa.

In 2016, Jian Nong Wang and his colleagues made nanotubes with a process akin to glass blowing: Using a stream of nitrogen gas, they injected ethanol, with a small amount of ferrocene and thiophene added as catalysts, into a 50-mm-wide horizontal tube placed in furnace at 1,150–1,130 °C.

They packed the nanotubes even more densely by pressing the film repeatedly between two rollers.

The resulting films had an average strength of 9.6 gigapascals. By comparison, the strength of nanotube films made so far has been around 2 GPa, while that for Kevlar fibers and commercially used carbon fibers is around 3.7 and 7 GPa, respectively. The films are four times as pliable as conventional carbon fibers, and can elongate by 8% on average as opposed to 2% for carbon fibers.

DRUM ROLL Spooling a cylinder of blown carbon nanotubes onto a rolling drum, researchers create a black film containing aligned, densely packed nanotubes (left). After being passed through a roller several times, the film becomes flatter and the nanotubes more densely packed (right). The film is exceptionally strong and ductile.
Credit: Nano Lett

53 thoughts on “Superbridge over Gibraltar”

  1. There is also the proposal to build a dam across the Straits of Gibraltar. Not including a hydroelectric plant or a significant drop in the Mediterranean sea level, but more recently mainly the purpose of saving the Mediterranean coastal cities from flooding cause by sea level rising. But also enough open water to prevent the Mediterranean sea level from dropping as well, and a canal to allow ships to still cross around the dam from either side. With the dam, not only would the sea level rising problem and the problem of coastal flooding be solved, but the dam would also allow a road and a railroad link between western Europe and northwest Africa. Not between Gibraltar and Morocco or the shortest route from Spain to Morocco where the water in either route is more than 3,000 ft or 1,000 meters deep, but either a different route between Spain and Morocco, where the water is 900 ft or less than 300 meters deep, although 2.2 times the length of the shortest route, or a direct link between mainland Spain in Europe and Spain in Africa. Although the water would be over 3,000 ft or 1,000 meters deep, it would be a total advantage for Spain as Spain had considered. The advantage of having 100% control of the dam, and would be the only country to profit from the dam. IF… the dam could ever justify its huge cost of (US) $300 billion.

    Reply
  2. Well… Article 13(2) is slippery: it all depends what is meant by the conjunction “and”, doesn’t it? Either you can interpret the “and” as joining — strictly as a list — 2 separate but logically commutative rights, first the right to leave one’s country to travel to other places, and secondly, the right to return to one’s country of origin if while away… OR… you can interpret the conjunction “and” more integrally: you have the singular right to leave-and-return-to one’s country in any particular ambit. From a legal point of view, the former — 2 separate but commutatively reflexive rights — makes more sense. Viewing it that way, one needn’t exclusively leave, go someplace AND return, but instead one can leave, go to B, C, D … X, Y and Z … and perhaps go between them all indefinitely and not return for perhaps one’s lifetime. But if at any point one does want to go back to “A”, a person’s country of origin, well … that cannot be excluded. Note that this doesn’t BIND a person’s right to travel to requiring a return. Which is more along the lines of how I interpreted the section when I wrote my original comment (and when I was reading thru the UN universal bill of human rights). Just saying, GoatGuy

    Reply
  3. Well… Article 13(2) is slippery: it all depends what is meant by the conjunction and”””” doesn’t it? Either you can interpret the “”””and”””” as joining — strictly as a list — 2 separate but logically commutative rights”” first the right to leave one’s country to travel to other places and secondly”” the right to return to one’s country of origin if while away… OR… you can interpret the conjunction “”””and”””” more integrally: you have the singular right to leave-and-return-to one’s country in any particular ambit. From a legal point of view”” the former — 2 separate but commutatively reflexive rights — makes more sense. Viewing it that way one needn’t exclusively leave go someplace AND return but instead one can leave go to B C D … X”” Y and Z … and perhaps go between them all indefinitely and not return for perhaps one’s lifetime. But if at any point one does want to go back to “”””A”””””” a person’s country of origin well … that cannot be excluded. Note that this doesn’t BIND a person’s right to travel to requiring a return. Which is more along the lines of how I interpreted the section when I wrote my original comment (and when I was reading thru the UN universal bill of human rights). Just saying”” GoatGuy”””””””

    Reply
  4. The UN Charter which you refer to initially, is different from the UD which you allude to towards the end. The Charter doesn’t refer to personal travel and the UDI articles do not mean what you say they do. There is no right to live in any country you choose. Article 13 is a right to reside within one’s own state and the right to leave and return to one’s own state. Section 1 would refer to situations like the Rohinga in Myanmar and Section 2 would refer to countries that restrict citizen’s right to leave one’s own country and return. The Soviet Union would be an example of a country that denied this right. Article 14 does permit you to reside in another country of your choice but only if you get there AND can prove that you are the victim of persecution in your home country. As we see from the mass arrests and separation of families, the bar for proving this is not trivial. It was never a right for any person to simply move anywhere he or she wants to at will. Article 13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Article 14. (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nation

    Reply
  5. The UN Charter which you refer to initially is different from the UD which you allude to towards the end. The Charter doesn’t refer to personal travel and the UDI articles do not mean what you say they do. There is no right to live in any country you choose. Article 13 is a right to reside within one’s own state and the right to leave and return to one’s own state. Section 1 would refer to situations like the Rohinga in Myanmar and Section 2 would refer to countries that restrict citizen’s right to leave one’s own country and return. The Soviet Union would be an example of a country that denied this right. Article 14 does permit you to reside in another country of your choice but only if you get there AND can prove that you are the victim of persecution in your home country. As we see from the mass arrests and separation of families the bar for proving this is not trivial. It was never a right for any person to simply move anywhere he or she wants to at will.Article 13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country including his own and to return to his country.Article 14. (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nation

    Reply
  6. Well…

    Article 13(2) is slippery: it all depends what is meant by the conjunction “and”, doesn’t it? Either you can interpret the “and” as joining — strictly as a list — 2 separate but logically commutative rights, first the right to leave one’s country to travel to other places, and secondly, the right to return to one’s country of origin if while away… OR… you can interpret the conjunction “and” more integrally: you have the singular right to leave-and-return-to one’s country in any particular ambit.

    From a legal point of view, the former — 2 separate but commutatively reflexive rights — makes more sense. Viewing it that way, one needn’t exclusively leave, go someplace AND return, but instead one can leave, go to B, C, D … X, Y and Z … and perhaps go between them all indefinitely and not return for perhaps one’s lifetime. But if at any point one does want to go back to “A”, a person’s country of origin, well … that cannot be excluded.

    Note that this doesn’t BIND a person’s right to travel to requiring a return.

    Which is more along the lines of how I interpreted the section when I wrote my original comment (and when I was reading thru the UN universal bill of human rights).

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy

    Reply
  7. I had pretty much the same idea, so I ‘liked’ your comment. However, I checked for ‘deepest draft ship’ & found one that is 24.611 m. That tunnel had better be put a bit deeper.

    Reply
  8. I had pretty much the same idea so I ‘liked’ your comment.However I checked for ‘deepest draft ship’ & found one that is 24.611 m.That tunnel had better be put a bit deeper.

    Reply
  9. The UN Charter which you refer to initially, is different from the UD which you allude to towards the end. The Charter doesn’t refer to personal travel and the UDI articles do not mean what you say they do. There is no right to live in any country you choose. Article 13 is a right to reside within one’s own state and the right to leave and return to one’s own state. Section 1 would refer to situations like the Rohinga in Myanmar and Section 2 would refer to countries that restrict citizen’s right to leave one’s own country and return. The Soviet Union would be an example of a country that denied this right. Article 14 does permit you to reside in another country of your choice but only if you get there AND can prove that you are the victim of persecution in your home country. As we see from the mass arrests and separation of families, the bar for proving this is not trivial. It was never a right for any person to simply move anywhere he or she wants to at will.
    Article 13.

    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
    (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

    Article 14.

    (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
    (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nation

    Reply
  10. A bizarre suggestion to build these bridges in places where the economics and politics makes no sense (e.g., Djibouti and Yemen??). But then I realized. This is part of China’s OBOR plans. Then it makes perfect sense (not economically though). China is investing heavily to control the Red Sea passage, and Morocco to control to/from The Med and Sicily as gateway to Italy. Their OBOR plans are quite simple. Draw circles around all potential chokeholds on the map, throw money and influence at it, 50 year loans, and bring rebars and concrete. Or in this case, refined oil.

    Reply
  11. A bizarre suggestion to build these bridges in places where the economics and politics makes no sense (e.g. Djibouti and Yemen??). But then I realized. This is part of China’s OBOR plans. Then it makes perfect sense (not economically though). China is investing heavily to control the Red Sea passage and Morocco to control to/from The Med and Sicily as gateway to Italy. Their OBOR plans are quite simple. Draw circles around all potential chokeholds on the map throw money and influence at it 50 year loans and bring rebars and concrete. Or in this case refined oil.

    Reply
  12. See Hop’s lunar railroad blog posts which cover a 3 or 4 rotovator tether system design to yank cargo from LEO to the moon and back. Works out quite nicely if you can fling waste mass slugs from the moon to balance mass flow (or even better, bias to excess downmass)

    Reply
  13. See Hop’s lunar railroad blog posts which cover a 3 or 4 rotovator tether system design to yank cargo from LEO to the moon and back. Works out quite nicely if you can fling waste mass slugs from the moon to balance mass flow (or even better bias to excess downmass)

    Reply
  14. The only way to really stop immigration would be to put the entire population into a biometric database and then use “inland enforcement” to catch illegal migrants. That is a bit 1984 though.

    Reply
  15. The only way to really stop immigration would be to put the entire population into a biometric database and then use inland enforcement”” to catch illegal migrants. That is a bit 1984 though.”””

    Reply
  16. Though, as Daniel Ravensnest keeps pointing out, you can get a lot of your space elevator functionality using one or more rotating tether systems with much shorter, much more achievable cables.

    Reply
  17. Though as Daniel Ravensnest keeps pointing out you can get a lot of your space elevator functionality using one or more rotating tether systems with much shorter much more achievable cables.

    Reply
  18. I think a submerged tunnel, floating but held down 20m below the surface by cables anchored on the sea floor might be the easiest option. They are proposing a similar build across some Norwegian Fiord.

    Reply
  19. I think a submerged tunnel floating but held down 20m below the surface by cables anchored on the sea floor might be the easiest option. They are proposing a similar build across some Norwegian Fiord.

    Reply
  20. I had pretty much the same idea, so I ‘liked’ your comment.
    However, I checked for ‘deepest draft ship’ & found one that is 24.611 m.
    That tunnel had better be put a bit deeper.

    Reply
  21. A bizarre suggestion to build these bridges in places where the economics and politics makes no sense (e.g., Djibouti and Yemen??). But then I realized. This is part of China’s OBOR plans. Then it makes perfect sense (not economically though). China is investing heavily to control the Red Sea passage, and Morocco to control to/from The Med and Sicily as gateway to Italy. Their OBOR plans are quite simple. Draw circles around all potential chokeholds on the map, throw money and influence at it, 50 year loans, and bring rebars and concrete. Or in this case, refined oil.

    Reply
  22. I agree; very unlikely. It would have to generate over 3 million dollars in tolls per workday. Busiest toll bridge in the world is 100 million vehicles per year, and that’s in New Jersey/New York – basically a short range commuter connection in a very dense metro area.

    Reply
  23. I agree; very unlikely. It would have to generate over 3 million dollars in tolls per workday.Busiest toll bridge in the world is 100 million vehicles per year and that’s in New Jersey/New York – basically a short range commuter connection in a very dense metro area.”

    Reply
  24. I think you’re confusing the charter (mentions religion) with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (mentions freedom of movement *within* national borders and leaving and then *returning* to a nation). UN DoH wasn’t even unanimously voted for (48/58).

    Reply
  25. I think you’re confusing the charter (mentions religion) with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (mentions freedom of movement *within* national borders and leaving and then *returning* to a nation).UN DoH wasn’t even unanimously voted for (48/58).

    Reply
  26. LOL. But you know… as world history has repeatedly shown, “its pretty easy to barricade bridges”. Against “fast” obvious invasions. The real issue that Europe has is the now 30+ year long slow invasion. One boatload of refugees at a time; one planeload of the more well heeled; hundreds of thousands of carloads. The UNITED NATIONS charter — to which essentially every country in the world is a signatory, states quite clearly that it is a FUNDAMENTAL human right to choose another country in which to reside, and ultimately to become a naturalized citizen of. Know that? Most people don’t. When I went to school (admittedly, when dinosaurs still waked the streets…) we learned about History in general and US Constitutional History in particular. We certainly didn’t learn much more than an overview of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the list of Amendments. We learned some of what “The Law” meant, and things like various kinds of crimes, large and small. But we didn’t even once explore what-all is printed in no fewer than 100 languages, which constitutes the United Nations Charter. I took it on — the reading of various parts of it — a few years ago. Out of interest. That’s where I found about the Universal Human Rights section. its quite something. On the upside, at least it guarantees the right and freedom to choose and have one’s religion; it stipulates that one has a right to move from country to country, even if particular countries aren’t keen on accepting immigrants. It says lots of things. Something sobering worth considering, ney? GoatGuy

    Reply
  27. LOL. But you know… as world history has repeatedly shown its pretty easy to barricade bridges””. Against “”””fast”””” obvious invasions. The real issue that Europe has is the now 30+ year long slow invasion. One boatload of refugees at a time; one planeload of the more well heeled; hundreds of thousands of carloads. The UNITED NATIONS charter — to which essentially every country in the world is a signatory”” states quite clearly that it is a FUNDAMENTAL human right to choose another country in which to reside and ultimately to become a naturalized citizen of. Know that? Most people don’t. When I went to school (admittedly when dinosaurs still waked the streets…) we learned about History in general and US Constitutional History in particular. We certainly didn’t learn much more than an overview of the Constitution”” the Bill of Rights and the list of Amendments. We learned some of what “”””The Law”””” meant”” and things like various kinds of crimes large and small. But we didn’t even once explore what-all is printed in no fewer than 100 languages which constitutes the United Nations Charter. I took it on — the reading of various parts of it — a few years ago. Out of interest. That’s where I found about the Universal Human Rights section. its quite something. On the upside at least it guarantees the right and freedom to choose and have one’s religion; it stipulates that one has a right to move from country to country even if particular countries aren’t keen on accepting immigrants. It says lots of things. Something sobering worth considering”” ney?GoatGuy”””””””

    Reply
  28. Arthur C. Clarke was definitely “ahead of his time” in many ways. Delightful reading — although as he grew older, there was a bit of “soap-boxing”. Fountains of Paradise, for example, could EASILY have been trimmed down by 30% or more, without losing a bit of the plot, or completeness of the description of the space-elevator system. Oh well. If only I could write 1% as well as ACC!!! That ain’t going to happen. Thing is, that the space elevator concept is vexed by its own scaling problems and the absolute distances involved. For example, as might be obvious to anyone somewhat familiar with physics, the “other end” of the space elevator needs to be at LEAST in a “geosynchronous” point in orbit. So that it kind of sits over the same spot on Earth perpetually. But that is just the CENTER point (gravitationally speaking) of the whole inertial system. If as an example, there is 1,000,000 tons of combined tether-and-pods on the “down” side of the cable system, there needs to be a balancing mass-times-centripetal-force equal … or greater … than that BEYOND the center-of-mass point (at GeoSync orbit). And that is 22,500 miles (35,400 kilometers) above the Equator. _______ This article’s premise is that with carbon nanotubes, it may well be possible to fabricate suspension cables strong-and-long enough to support 5+ kilometer spans. These must be remembered to be wee tiny things compared to the Fountains of Paradise cable setup. 5 kilometers is nothing compared to 35,400 kliks. In other words, there remains quite a bit of improvement and development in cable strength, in fiber strength in order to reasonably attempt something like the space elevator. Quite a bit. 2 orders of magnitude (100×), at the least. Just saying, GoatGuy

    Reply
  29. Arthur C. Clarke was definitely ahead of his time”” in many ways. Delightful reading — although as he grew older”””” there was a bit of “”””soap-boxing””””. Fountains of Paradise”” for example could EASILY have been trimmed down by 30{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} or more without losing a bit of the plot or completeness of the description of the space-elevator system. Oh well. If only I could write 1{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} as well as ACC!!! That ain’t going to happen.Thing is that the space elevator concept is vexed by its own scaling problems and the absolute distances involved. For example as might be obvious to anyone somewhat familiar with physics”” the “”””other end”””” of the space elevator needs to be at LEAST in a “”””geosynchronous”””” point in orbit. So that it kind of sits over the same spot on Earth perpetually. But that is just the CENTER point (gravitationally speaking) of the whole inertial system. If as an example”” there is 10″”000 tons of combined tether-and-pods on the “”””down”””” side of the cable system”” there needs to be a balancing mass-times-centripetal-force equal … or greater … than that BEYOND the center-of-mass point (at GeoSync orbit).And that is 22500 miles (35400 kilometers) above the Equator. _______This article’s premise is that with carbon nanotubes it may well be possible to fabricate suspension cables strong-and-long enough to support 5+ kilometer spans. These must be remembered to be wee tiny things compared to the Fountains of Paradise cable setup. 5 kilometers is nothing compared to 35400 kliks. In other words there remains quite a bit of improvement and development in cable strength in fiber strength in order to reasonably attempt something like the space elevator. Quite a bit. 2 orders of magnitude (100×) at the least. Just saying”” GoatGuy”””””””

    Reply
  30. See Hop’s lunar railroad blog posts which cover a 3 or 4 rotovator tether system design to yank cargo from LEO to the moon and back. Works out quite nicely if you can fling waste mass slugs from the moon to balance mass flow (or even better, bias to excess downmass)

    Reply
  31. Vannevar Morgan arrived early. Arthur C. Clarke assumed in “The Fountains of Paradise” that this would happen in the 22th century. Hopefully the space elevator follows.

    Reply
  32. Vannevar Morgan arrived early. Arthur C. Clarke assumed in The Fountains of Paradise”” that this would happen in the 22th century.Hopefully the space elevator follows.”””

    Reply
  33. The only way to really stop immigration would be to put the entire population into a biometric database and then use “inland enforcement” to catch illegal migrants. That is a bit 1984 though.

    Reply
  34. Though, as Daniel Ravensnest keeps pointing out, you can get a lot of your space elevator functionality using one or more rotating tether systems with much shorter, much more achievable cables.

    Reply
  35. I think a submerged tunnel, floating but held down 20m below the surface by cables anchored on the sea floor might be the easiest option. They are proposing a similar build across some Norwegian Fiord.

    Reply
  36. I agree; very unlikely. It would have to generate over 3 million dollars in tolls per workday.

    Busiest toll bridge in the world is 100 million vehicles per year, and that’s in New Jersey/New York – basically a short range commuter connection in a very dense metro area.

    Reply
  37. I think you’re confusing the charter (mentions religion) with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (mentions freedom of movement *within* national borders and leaving and then *returning* to a nation).

    UN DoH wasn’t even unanimously voted for (48/58).

    Reply
  38. LOL. But you know… as world history has repeatedly shown, “its pretty easy to barricade bridges”. Against “fast” obvious invasions. The real issue that Europe has is the now 30+ year long slow invasion. One boatload of refugees at a time; one planeload of the more well heeled; hundreds of thousands of carloads.

    The UNITED NATIONS charter — to which essentially every country in the world is a signatory, states quite clearly that it is a FUNDAMENTAL human right to choose another country in which to reside, and ultimately to become a naturalized citizen of. Know that? Most people don’t.

    When I went to school (admittedly, when dinosaurs still waked the streets…) we learned about History in general and US Constitutional History in particular. We certainly didn’t learn much more than an overview of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the list of Amendments. We learned some of what “The Law” meant, and things like various kinds of crimes, large and small. But we didn’t even once explore what-all is printed in no fewer than 100 languages, which constitutes the United Nations Charter.

    I took it on — the reading of various parts of it — a few years ago. Out of interest.

    That’s where I found about the Universal Human Rights section. its quite something. On the upside, at least it guarantees the right and freedom to choose and have one’s religion; it stipulates that one has a right to move from country to country, even if particular countries aren’t keen on accepting immigrants. It says lots of things.

    Something sobering worth considering, ney?
    GoatGuy

    Reply
  39. Arthur C. Clarke was definitely “ahead of his time” in many ways. Delightful reading — although as he grew older, there was a bit of “soap-boxing”. Fountains of Paradise, for example, could EASILY have been trimmed down by 30% or more, without losing a bit of the plot, or completeness of the description of the space-elevator system.

    Oh well. If only I could write 1% as well as ACC!!! That ain’t going to happen.

    Thing is, that the space elevator concept is vexed by its own scaling problems and the absolute distances involved. For example, as might be obvious to anyone somewhat familiar with physics, the “other end” of the space elevator needs to be at LEAST in a “geosynchronous” point in orbit. So that it kind of sits over the same spot on Earth perpetually.

    But that is just the CENTER point (gravitationally speaking) of the whole inertial system. If as an example, there is 1,000,000 tons of combined tether-and-pods on the “down” side of the cable system, there needs to be a balancing mass-times-centripetal-force equal … or greater … than that BEYOND the center-of-mass point (at GeoSync orbit).

    And that is 22,500 miles (35,400 kilometers) above the Equator.
    _______

    This article’s premise is that with carbon nanotubes, it may well be possible to fabricate suspension cables strong-and-long enough to support 5+ kilometer spans. These must be remembered to be wee tiny things compared to the Fountains of Paradise cable setup.

    5 kilometers is nothing compared to 35,400 kliks.

    In other words, there remains quite a bit of improvement and development in cable strength, in fiber strength in order to reasonably attempt something like the space elevator. Quite a bit. 2 orders of magnitude (100×), at the least.

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy

    Reply

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