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Experimental Investigation of Ice Floe Stability Open Access


Other title
Ice on rivers, lakes, etc. -- Mathematical models
Ice mechanics -- Mathematical models
Ice floes -- Mathematical models
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Ambtman, Karen Elizabeth Dow
Supervisor and department
Steffler, Peter (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Hicks, Faye (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Lange, Carlos (Mechanical Engineering)
Jin, Yee-Chung (Faculty of Engineering, University of Regina)
Loewen, Mark (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Nouri, Alireza (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
It is known that discrete ice floes approaching an ice cover from upstream will either contribute to the lengthening of the ice cover, or will become entrained in the flow. Knowledge of the hydrodynamic forces acting on individual ice floes is an important component of any model attempting to predict ice cover progression. Currently ice process models rely on empirical relationships to predict the behaviour of ice floes at the leading edge of an intact ice cover. Experimental studies were conducted in a re-circulating flume in the T. Blench Hydraulics Laboratory at the University of Alberta to increase the knowledge of the physical behaviour of ice floes in water, and the hydrodynamic forces that act upon them. The dynamic pressure was measured beneath a floating “ice” block for various block thickness-to-depth ratios and flow velocities and leading edge shapes. The effect of block rotation on the resulting pressure distribution was also investigated by tilting the block until its top upstream corner reached the water surface. Digital particle image velocimetry was used also to characterize the velocity field beneath a floating ice block investigating the effect of block thickness and leading edge shape on the resulting velocity field. A method was developed for predicting the pressure distribution beneath a floating ice block and as well as the submerging forces and moments. A stability analysis was performed to determine the conditions under which a floating block would become entrained through a force – moment analysis. The velocity field revealed a separation zone forms at the leading edge of the rectangular block which was eliminated by rounding the leading edge of the block. The velocity results were found to be correlated with the resulting pressure reduction beneath the block. This confirms the importance of localized flow behaviour due to flow acceleration and separation on the stability of a block. The work presented in this thesis presents the first rigorous method for determining ice block stability based on actual flow physics and the first detailed characterization of the velocity field beneath a floating ice block.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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