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The LORD OF THE RINGS Chainmail Has Evolved Into a Versatile Building Material

The LORD OF THE RINGS Chainmail Has Evolved Into a Versatile Building Material

Part of the magic of the movies is that for 90 or so minutes, they convince us the world we’re immersed in has some level of reality, or at least believability, through means that aren’t necessarily true to what we’re watching on screen. For example, any big-budget superhero movie involves a lot of acting in front of a green screen. As you also might imagine, costumes aren’t always what they seem either.

The actors in The Lord of the Rings movies aren’t wearing actual chainmail during battle scenes, because the heavy material would be exhausting to wear during an entire long day of filming. Instead, the movies’ creature, armor, and weapons art director, Kayne Horsham, created a lighter alternative that was linked and woven by hand, then covered in a layer of pure silver. Creating the chainmail by hand took a painstakingly long time, especially considering all the battle participants who wore it, so when Horsham began brainstorming a better way to do it, he inadvertently came up with a construction material of the future (via Fast Company).

He pioneered an injection molding process that could mass produce polycarbonate chainmail, and nowadays, the material is used more by architects than actors. Kaynemaile, which got its name from Viggo Mortensen’s nickname for the original material, is light, completely recyclable, and uses 20% of the energy needed to produce steel. Check out this list of attributes, from the story that details some of Kaynemaile’s real-world applications:

“When used as a facade, it dramatically reduces the solar energy entering a building by 80%. In a parking lot in southern California, Horsham says that the Kaynemaile facade reduced the temperature by nearly 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s been used as a protector for external staircases on buildings–it’s so strong that you can hang a single piece that’s 16 floors high without the kind of structural support you’d need if the mesh was made of metal. Because it moves with the environment, Kaynemaile is also ideal in areas with seismic activity.”

It won best new architectural product at the NYCxDesign Awards, and now that we know more about it, we’re not surprised. Have you heard of any other on-set innovations that have made their way into the real world? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured Image: New Line Cinema

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