Scaling of sea ice fracture - Part I: Vertical penetration

Z. P. Bažant*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Based on the premise that large-scale failure of sea ice is governed by fracture mechanics, recently validated by Dempsey's in situ tests of fracture specimens of a record-breaking size, this two-part study applies fracture mechanics and asymptotic approach to obtain approximate explicit formulas for the size effect in two fundamental problems. In the present Part I, the load capacity of a floating ice plate subjected to vertical load is determined, and in Part II, which follows, the horizontal force exerted by an ice plate moving against a fixed structure is analyzed in a similar manner. The resulting formulas for vertical loading agree with previous sophisticated numerical fracture simulations as well with the limited field tests of vertical penetration that exist. The results contrast with the classical predictions of material strength or plasticity theories, which in general exhibit no size effect on the nominal strength of the structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Mechanics, Transactions ASME
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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