Controlled field and laboratory tests were performed to investigate the relationship between ice strength and the maximum ice pressures on vertical piers. The apparatus used in the field tests consisted of a flat indentor (75 cm wide) which was pushed through the ice by hydraulic rams. 27 tests were conducted on lake ice up to one metre thick. Ice pressures in the range 2.5 to 5.0 MPa were obtained for ice in good initial contact with the indentor. The ice pressures exhibited little sensitivity to variations in temperature, ice thickness and strain-rate for the range 7.5 × 10-7 to 4.4 × 10-3 s-1.
The average unconfined compressive strengths obtained in the laboratory were about 20% higher than the average field ice pressures. In addition, the laboratory strengths were found to be sensitive to temperature, and to strain-rate in the range 1 × 10-7 to 1 × 10-3 s-1. The confined compressive strength was two to three times the unconfined strength.
The failure modes observed in the indentation tests were similar to those predicted (before the tests) by an upper-bound plasticity model. The ability of the model to relate small-scale ice strength to field ice pressures is discussed.