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Published August 1958 | Published
Journal Article Open

A Theoretical Analysis of Sea-Ice Strength


For the first time an attempt is made to derive a theoretical relationship between sea-ice strength and the controlling factors of salinity, temperature, and density. A geometric model of the ice-brine relationship is constructed from photographs and used to calculate tensile strength of warm (above - 20°C) sea ice. The theoretical results compare well with experimental data. The model developed can be extended to colder temperatures by considering the effect of solid salts.

Additional Information

© 1958 American Geophysical Union. Field observations used in this study were made as part of the Sea Ice Bearing Strength Project, a joint effort of the Air Force Cambridge Research Center, the Snow, Ice, and Permafrost Research Establishment (SIPRE), and the Navy Hydrographic Office. We wish to thank A. Assur and T. R. Butkovich for their advice on many of the problems associated with this study. A. Assur and E. Little kindly read the manuscript and offered many helpful suggestions. L. Hansen of SIPRE allowed the authors to use the unpublished results of his in-place cantilever beam tests. John Grady and Eugene Whitney provided invaluable assistance during the period of testing at Thule, Greenland. Photographs are by W. F. Weeks.

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August 19, 2023
October 26, 2023