When Does a Light Sphere Break Ice Plate Most by Using Its Net Buoyance?
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2023

A free-rising buoyant sphere can break an ice plate floating above it. The problem is when the light sphere breaks the ice plate most, or the optimal relative density of the sphere which can break the ice plate the most severely. This experimental study was done to answer this problem. A set of experimental devices were designed, and a high-speed camera system was adopted to record the whole dynamic process, including the free-rising of the sphere, the collision between the sphere and the ice plate, the crack initiation and propagation, as well as the breakup of the ice plate. The failure mode of the ice plate under impact load was analyzed. It was found that conical cracks were formed under the reflected tensile wave at the top surface of the ice plate. On this basis, the influences of ice thickness, the initial submergence depth, and the relative density of the sphere on icebreaking were further investigated. An optimal relative density of the sphere was found when the sphere was released at a certain initial submergence depth, at which point the ice was damaged the most severely. For example, when the dimensionless initial submergence depth of the sphere was 2.31, the optimal relative density of the sphere was close to 0.4, with the probability of the ice plate breakup as high as 91.7%. It was also found from the experiments that the degree of damage to the ice plate correlated well with the kinetic energy of the sphere just before collision. Results showed that the optimal relative density can be estimated by theoretical analysis of the kinetic energy of the sphere, which will provide a reference for potential icebreaking applications in the future.

experimental study

impact load


buoyant sphere



Bao Yu Ni

Harbin Engineering University

Hao Tan

Harbin Engineering University

Shao Cheng Di

Harbin Engineering University

Chen Xi Zhang

Harbin Engineering University

Zhiyuan Li

Chalmers, Mekanik och maritima vetenskaper, Marin teknik

Luofeng Huang

Cranfield University

Yanzhuo Xue

Harbin Engineering University

Journal of Marine Science and Engineering

20771312 (eISSN)

Vol. 11 2 289


Teknisk mekanik

Annan fysik

Multidisciplinär geovetenskap



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