Spalling and Buckling of Ice Sheets

by Tomasz Wierzbicki, MIT, Dep of Ocean Engineering, Cambridge, MA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Civil Engineering in the Arctic Offshore


The effect of local eccentricity in the vertical direction on the magnitude of compressive strength of wide ice sheets is studied theoretically. Two new failure modes are identified: indentation edge spalling and flexural cracking. The spalling failure mode is analyzed within the realm of a simple Griffith's theory. The bending cracking is studied using the stress intensity factor formalism of linear fracture mechanics. In each case a critical value of the force causing ice plates to fail is calculated and compared with critical forces caused by buckling and crushing. A map is constructed showing ranges of different failure modes and the associated force levels depending on the ice thickness. The predicted values of minimum failure stresses are found to be more than one order of magnitude lower than the compressive strength of multi-year sea ice in the wide range of ice thicknesses.

Subject Headings: Ice | Spalling | Buckling | Sheets | Compressive strength | Failure analysis | Sea ice | Failure modes

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