Transformation superplasticity of water ice and ice containing SiO2 particulates

C. A. Schuh*, D. C. Dunand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Transformation superplasticity is a deformation mechanism that occurs during the phase transformation of an externally stressed material. Pressure-induced transformation superplasticity, which has long been postulated to occur in olivine in the Earth's interior, is shown to take place in water ice. Pure ice specimens were subjected to hydrostatic pressure cycling between 0 and 300 MPa to reversibly induce the I/II transformation (at 220 or 230 K) or the I/III transformation (at 240 K). When a small uniaxial compressive stress was applied during cycling, the specimens exhibited a uniaxial compressive strain (as large as 22% after a single cycle) proportional to the applied stress, in agreement with observations and theory for transformation superplasticity of metals and ceramics, induced by polymorphic thermal cycling. Additionally, specimens of ice containing 10 vol% SiO2 were deformed by this mechanism during the I/II transformation at 230 K. The presence of silica particles was found to enhance the deformation, rather than strengthen the ice. These experimental results are discussed both qualitatively and quantitatively in terms of existing models of transformation superplasticity and implications for the lithosphere rheology of the icy moons of the outer planets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-1 - 11-10
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Planets
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 25 2002


  • Creep
  • Phase transformation
  • Superplasticity
  • Water ice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Oceanography


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