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Experiments on the damage process in ice under compressive states of stress

  • B. M. Stone (a1), I.J. Jordaan (a1), J. Xiao (a1) and S.J. Jones (a2)


During ice-structure interaction, ice will fail in a brittle manner dominated by two processes. The first corresponds to the formation of macrocracks and the consequent spalling-off of large ice pieces. The second includes an intense shear-damage process in zones, termed critical zones, where high pressures are transmitted to the structure. The shear-damage process results in microstructural changes including microcrack formation and recrystallization. A range of tests on laboratory-prepared granular ice have been conducted to determine the fundamental behaviour of ice under various stress states and stress history, particularly as it relates to changes in microstructure. The test series was designed to study three aspects: the intrinsic creep properties of intact, undamaged ice; the enhancement of creep and changes in microstructure due to damage; and the effects of different stress paths. Tests on intact ice with triaxial confining pressures and low deviatoric stresses, aimed at defining the intrinsic creep response in the absence of microcracking, showed that an accelerated creep rate occurred at relatively low deviatoric stresses. Hence, a minimum Creep rate occurred under these conditions. Recrystallization to a smaller grain-size and void formation were observed. Ice damaged uniaxially and triaxially prior to testing showed enhancement of creep under both uniaxial and triaxial loading conditions Creep rates in triaxially damaged ice were found to be non-linear with high deviatoric stresses, corresponding to a power-law dependence of creep rate. Uniaxially damaged specimens contained microcracks parallel to the stressed direction which tended to close under triaxial confinement. Damage under triaxial conditions at low confining pressures produced small recrystallized grains near zones of microcracking. At high confining pressures, a fine-grained recrystallized structure with no apparent cracking was observed uniformly across the specimen. The recrystallization process contributes significantly to the enhanced creep rates found in damaged specimens.

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