The Beast

This immense machine measures five by three metres and weighs sixty tonnes. It can unleash forces of up to a hundred tonnes on the materials it’s ‘fed’. This is the hexapod of the Delft University of Technology, nicknamed ‘The Beast of Delft’.

hexapod (credits: Maritime and Transportation Technology / TU Delft)hexapod (credits: Maritime and Transportation Technology / TU Delft)

The colossus simulates the forces that a ship at sea has to contend with. During the simulation, these forces are unleashed on the welded parts of ships, because they are relatively vulnerable and develop minute cracks at sea as time passes. As a result, the joints between the parts are weakened. Enduring these forces for a month in Delft is the equivalent of twenty years at sea.

The hexapod should show shipbuilders whether their designs are strong and sustainable enough. The hexapod is not only interesting for shipping, incidentally. The Beast can also be used to test parts of bridges, or to submit walls to the forces generated by earthquakes.