UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


Sally Scourfield


The consolidation and deformation of brash ice

When ships pass through icy waters, if a channel is repeatedly used, this channel can fill with broken ice known as brash ice. If this brash ice is allowed to refreeze, its physical properties can be rather different from the original sea ice. This complicates shipping around ports in the Arctic.

The physical properties of this brash ice depend on the deformation of the original sea ice cover, and the extent to which it refreezes. A full understanding of the process therefore needs to include the fracture mechanics of deformation, and in particular the range of ice particle sizes which are likely to form; the mechanics and thermodynamics of ice-ice interactions, as the brash ice is displaced around the channel; and the thermal and saline balances which govern the reconsolidation of the ice.