Ice mechanics research is conducted to determine physical processes that underlie brittle failure on scales large (Arctic) and small (laboratory). The current goal is to relate failure of the arctic sea ice cover and fracture during ice interaction with off-shore engineered structures to processes such as wing-crack and comb-crack formation and the development of shear faults. The underlying hypothesis is that brittle compressive failure is a scale-independent process driven by intermittent frictional sliding and stable crack growth. The hypothesis is applicable to other brittle materials as well, such as ceramics, rock, and minerals.
Faculty contact: Erland M. Schulson