Experiments were conducted in an ice basin in order to examine the interaction between two ice floes. Crushing failure was induced at the interface. Forces and relative displacements between the floes were measured. The dependence of forces on displacements and friction coefficients were examined. A method to extrapolate the results to full scale conditions is proposed.


The interaction between ice floes plays a significant role in many cases of ice cover deformation and action against structures. For example contact forces between floes are of particular importance in modelling marginal ice zone dynamics. The modes of behaviour which may occur when ice floes collide include : crushing, splitting, rafting, buckling and ridging. It is intuitively expected that the mode of behaviour should be influenced by such factors as ice strength, ice-ice friction, ice thickness, velocity and floe geometries. Most ice engineering literature, however, has focused on ice failure against indentors. Ridging has been the only mode of ice-ice interaction to receive considerable attention. Other modes of ice-ice interaction remain open questions. Recently, models of ice cover behaviour, at various length scales, have been increasingly utilizing a discrete approach (e.g. Shen and Ackley 1991, and Hopkins and Hibler 1991). These models require a knowledge of the conditions at the interface between ice floes. Contact conditions are usually represented by various arrangements of springs, dashpots and friction elements. At present, however, there is no available information regarding crushing failure between two colliding ice floes. Data is needed to relate forces (or pressures) at the interface to ice deformation. The present experiments explore the crushing failure between two floating ice floes. The experiments are based on moving an ice block against an ice sheet. Forces and displacements were measured during the interaction.

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