18 Aug 2022
 | 18 Aug 2022

Phase-field Models of Floe Fracture in Sea Ice

Huy Dinh, Dimitrios Giannakis, Joanna Slawinska, and Georg Stadler

Abstract. We develop a phase-field model of brittle fracture to model fracture of sea ice floes. Phase fields allow a variational formulation of fracture using an energy functional that combines a linear elastic energy with a term modeling the energetic cost of fracture. We study the fracture strength of ice floes with stochastic thickness variations under boundary forcings or displacements. Our approach models refrozen cracks or other linear ice impurities with stochastic models for thickness profiles. We find that the orientation of thickness variations are an important factor for the strength of ice floes and study the distribution of critical stresses leading to fracture. Potential applications to Discrete Element Method (DEM) simulations and field data from the ICEx 2018 campaign are discussed.

Huy Dinh et al.

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Huy Dinh et al.

Huy Dinh et al.


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Short summary
We develop a numerical method to simulate the fracture of kilometer-sized chunks of floating ice in the ocean. Our approach uses a mathematical model that relates deformation energy with the energy required for fracture. We study the strength of ice chunks that contain random impurities due to prior damage or refreezing, and what type of fractures are likely to occur.