24 Feb 2023
 | 24 Feb 2023
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

The porosity effect on the mechanical properties of summer sea ice in the Arctic

Qingkai Wang, Yubo Liu, Peng Lu, and Zhijun Li

Abstract. To investigate the mechanical properties of sea ice in the current summer Arctic, two ice blocks were lifted using ship crane during an Arctic expedition in the summer of 2021. Examination of ice crystal structure showed a granular ice layer at the top underlain by a columnar ice layer. Sea ice samples were then machined from the ice blocks for mechanical experiments performed in the laboratory. Three-point bending tests were conducted at ice temperatures of −12 to −3 ºC, and uniaxial compressive strength tests were conducted at ice temperatures of −8 to −3 ºC with a strain rate range of 10−6–10−2 s−1. The ice density and salinity of each sample were measured to determine brine and gas volume fraction as well as porosity. Results showed that sea ice flexural strength decreased with increasing porosity, but did not change with varying brine or gas volume fractions. A parameterization was proposed to relate sea ice flexural strength to porosity. The sea ice strain modulus was also independent on porosity and volume fractions of gas and brine. The uniaxial compressive strength decreased with increasing porosity at both ductile and brittle strain rate regimes. Furthermore, three-dimensional surfaces were obtained to depict the sea ice uniaxial compressive strength varying with porosity and strain rate, based on which the transition strain rate from ductile to brittle behaviors was determined. It was found that the transition strain rate decreased with increasing porosity. Comparisons with previous studies on sea ice strength showed that the previously reported equations for sea ice flexural strength and strain modulus did not agree with the measured data. Compared with the strength calculated using early reported sea ice porosity, the flexural strength and uniaxial compressive strength of summer Arctic sea ice decreased in recent decades, which probably brings positive feedback to the Arctic navigation.

Qingkai Wang et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2023-31', Anonymous Referee #1, 08 Mar 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Qingkai Wang, 09 Jun 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2023-31', Anonymous Referee #2, 27 Mar 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Qingkai Wang, 09 Jun 2023
  • RC3: 'Comment on tc-2023-31', Paul Barrette, 01 Apr 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Qingkai Wang, 09 Jun 2023
    • AC5: 'Reply on RC3', Qingkai Wang, 09 Jun 2023
  • RC4: 'Comment on tc-2023-31', Matthias Steiner, 03 Apr 2023
    • AC4: 'Reply on RC4', Qingkai Wang, 09 Jun 2023

Qingkai Wang et al.

Data sets

The results of flexural and uniaxial compressive tests of summer Arctic sea ice Qingkai Wang, Yubo Liu, Peng Lu, Zhijun Li

Qingkai Wang et al.


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Short summary
We intended to bring a new sight for the Arctic sea ice change by updating the knowledge of mechanical properties of summer Arctic sea ice. We find the flexural strength of summer Arctic sea ice was dependent on sea ice porosity rather than brine volume fraction, which unified the physical parameter affecting sea ice mechanical properties to sea ice porosity. Arctic sea ice strength has been weakening in recent summers by evaluating the strength using the previously published sea ice porosities.