Research facilitation and management for Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore industry

Experimental Study of Ice Failure Processes for Design Load Estimation

Lead PI: Dr. Ian Jordaan
Subject Category: Arctic and Harsh Environments

Start Date: Aug 2005
End Date: Jul 2010
Institution / Organization: Memorial University

Memorial University's Ocean Engineering Research Centre (OERC)’s research team undertook this project in collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada's Institute for Ocean Technology (IOT) and industry partners. The project builds on a related undertaking - Ice Data Analysis and Mechanics for Design Load Estimation - funded by industry (Husky Energy, Petro-Canada, and Chevron Canada Resources), NRC, Petroleum Research and NSERC.

This project involved technical and practical considerations of petroleum exploration, examining how to minimize the risk of damage caused by icebergs. By studying the composition of ice, structural design, and creating models of iceberg impacts, the team noted that engineers are able to build ice-resistant structures to withstand certain loads. Another valuable aspect of the research was the incorporation of risk analysis and probability into the larger challenge of operating offshore structures in iceberg-busy waters.

Research to date has helped provide a necessary first step towards defining the fundamental role played by such mechanical processes as ice crushing, spalling, fracture and damage on global load reduction, which is crucial to achieving the ultimate goal of a reduction in the amount of conservatism used in the design of offshore structures and vessels.   The next phase of research involves a series of medium scale ice tank tests to further knowledge of how ice loads are transferred to structures and any scale-effect biases contained in the experimental data.  In particular, the goal of understanding the scale effect is crucial to making improvements in the economical design of offshore structures.

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