The Great Wall Of China, the not-so-effective wall was a long, expensive project that spanned thousands of years. But what is it with the Sticky Rice ?
You might definitely be wondering, why was The Great Wall Of China described as a not-so-effective wall. Well the reason is . . .
The Great Wall Of China wasn’t a great barrier
While giant lizards were never a problem for Chinese governments, as they are for Matt Damon and his companions in The Great Wall, Mongol raiders were—and rightly so, given how often they invaded. However, it turned out that the wall was ineffective in keeping the attackers out. The Washington Post’s Ishaan Tharoor writes, “While a towering monument to Chinese civilization, it was hardly impregnable.”
“The Mongols, Manchus, and others all broke through this formidable defense and established their hegemony behind its walls.” In the 13th century, Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan easily breached the wall, and in September 1550, Mongol raider Altan Khan led thousands and thousands of raiders past the wall, slaughtering thousands of Chinese civilians and looting the country for several weeks before disappearing.
Let’s come to the main title discussion: The Sticky Rice
The Great Wall of China, which stretches for more than 13,000 miles, continues to amaze and awe tourists with its ancient defensive architecture. The wall, which has a 2,300-year history, was designed to keep the Mongols out and protect the Silk Road Trade. Thousands of people died building it, and many of them are still buried there. The Great Wall Of China’s most well-known and well-preserved parts dates back from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). They make up 5,500 miles of the total network.
These centuries-old parts of the wall still tower powerfully above the landscape despite their age. In fact, the mortar held the bricks together so well that weeds still haven’t sprouted in many areas. So do you know the secret behind strength of the Ming Dynasty construction?
Sticky Rice !
The Amazingly Strong Architecture
Staff invented sticky rice mortar, which was one of the Ming dynasty’s most important technical breakthroughs. It was made with a mixture of slaked lime (a popular mortar ingredient) and sweet rice flour. What’s the end result? The first composite mortar in history, according to Chinese scholars, was a potent admixture of inorganic and organic materials.
Many significant state structures were built by the architects and engineers of China’s Ming Dynasty using their modified mortar recipe. Besides The Great Wall Of China, these included smaller city walls, pagodas, and tombs.
Many of these buildings are still maintained. Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, have not harmed buildings built with sticky rice mortar. One Ming-era tomb also stood firm against a modern-day bulldozer! Hence proved: Sticky rice mortar lasts longer and is stronger than pure lime mortar. (Proof: These structures)
So, what makes Sticky Rice Mortar so tough?
Amylopectin gives rice-lime mortar its legendary power.
When the organic component of the mortar formula, amylopectin, comes into contact with the inorganic part, calcium carbonate, a complex reaction occurs. Amylopectin controls the development of the calcium carbonate crystal by acting as a blocker.
What’s the end result? A mixture that is more strongly bonded. However, there is a catch. In terms of efficiency, this denser microstructure only ranks average as compared to other mortars from around the world. A closer look shows three main advantages sticky rice mortar has over other forms of mortar.
To begin with, it is extremely water resistant. It also shrinks less and retains its form. Third, the mortar’s main chemical reaction continues over time. To put it another way, the mortar gets stronger over time!
Sticky Rice mortar used in The Great Wall Of China has greater overall physical stability and compatibility, in addition to its legendary strength. Because of these characteristics, it is a suitable and more authentic option for restoring ancient construction.
A few more facts about The Great Wall Of China, you definitely might not know.
The Great Wall Of China isn’t actually one single long wall.
The wall isn’t one long, continuous stretch of terrifying architecture; it was built by a series of governments over 2,000 years. It is essentially a chain of various buildings, such as fortresses, walls, watchtowers, and shelters, with wide gaps between different sections. After a five-year report, China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage published the official length of the wall in 2012, placing it at 21,196 kilometres, but experts point out that this includes parts of the wall that no longer exist. According to Arthur Waldron, a historian and Great Wall specialist, the solid wall is more than 2,736 kilometres high.
It is a misconception that The Great Wall Of China can be seen from The Moon
It is just barely visible from space.
The concept that the wall is “the only work of man’s hands that will be visible to the human eye from the moon” was initiated by National Geographic in 1923. Since returning from the moon in 1969, Neil Armstrong was repeatedly asked if the wall could be seen. The Great Wall has only ever been visible from low orbit (160 kilometres up) because of the wall’s construction materials, which blend in with the surrounding landscape. Even then, the sun must be in the right place to illuminate it and cast shadows. And China’s own astronaut, Yang Liwei, acknowledged that he couldn’t tell what the structure was with his naked eye.
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