Laboratory-prepared fine-grained, initially isotropic polycrystalline ice samples were deformed under conditions of simple shear with simultaneous uniaxial compression at a constant temperature of −2.0°C. The aim was to investigate the effects of stress configuration on the flow rate of initially isotropic ice and on ice with subsequent stress and strain-induced anisotropy. Experiments were carried out for various combinations of shear and compression with shear stress ranging from 0 to 0.49 MPa and compressive stress ranging from 0 to 0.98 MPa, but such that for every experiment the octahedral shear stress was 0.4 MPa.
The strain curves resulting from the experiments clearly exhibit minimum strain rates while the ice is still isotropic, and steady-state tertiary strain rates along with the development of steady-state anisotropic fabric patterns. With constant octahedral stress (root-mean-square of the principal stress deviators), the minimum octahedral shear-strain rate has no dependence on stress configuration. This result supports the hypothesis that the flow of isotropic ice is dependent only on the second invariant of the stress tensor. This fundamental assumption has been used to provide a general description of ice-flow behaviour independent of the stress configuration (e.g. Nye, 1953; Glen, 1958; Budd, 1969).
For the tertiary flow of anisotropic ice, the octahedral strain rate is stress-state dependent as a consequence of the developed crystal-orientation fabric, which is also stress-state dependent, and which develops with strain and rotation. The present tests indicate that the enhancement factor for steady-state tertiary octahedral shear-strain rate depends on the shear or compression fraction and varies from about 10 for simple shear (with zero compression) to about 3 for uniaxial compression (with zero shear).