The strength of rubble mass depends on the degree of consolidation between the ice blocks as well as the strength of the ice blocks themselves. The origin of the contact forces between the ice blocks is uncertain, but has been attributed to thermal freezing and sintering. A series of freeze-bond tests were conducted on freshwater ice blocks to gain a greater understanding of the fundamental physical properties affecting ice bonding. The parameters investigated in this test program were the contact period/submersion time and the initial temperature of the ice blocks. Freeze bonds were made by putting two ice blocks in contact in a confinement frame and applying a normal load. The frame was then submerged in water at freezing point for a specific period of time before testing. The bond was sheared using Asymmetric Four Point Bending (AFPB) method, which produces a nearly pure shear stress state in center of the specimen. Results showed that varying the submersion time from 1 minute to 26 hours for ice samples with initial ice temperature of −18°C, the strength of the bond initially increased and reached the maximum at 5 minutes and then started to gradually decrease, reaching a constant value after 3 hours of submersion. The effect of initial ice temperature on the bonding process was also studied by varying the temperature from 0°C to −18°C, whilst the submersion time was kept constant at 30 minutes. As the temperature was decreased an increase in strength was observed.

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