ISSN 2330-717X

Russian Scientists Blow Up Ice To Test Theories


What is the right and safe method to blow up ice on rivers, if a week ago the air temperature was about zero? How to plant explosives, in conditions when spring ice will not melt and it is low temperature? The mechanics of Tomsk State University (TSU) have left their warm laboratories to test their methods in practice.

TSU is located in Siberia where winter comes in November and may continue up to March. This is why there is o lot of ice on rivers. However scientists, who involved in research of dynamic loading of ice, may face with situation when some results were not consistent. The Mobile Laboratory for Research of Behavior of Natural Materials under Explosive Loading was established specially for the express-analysis. The scientists observe behavior of different types of ice after blasting.

“Along with blast on ice I feel adrenaline rush,”  says Maksim Orlov, PhD, the member of the research team. “Especially exciting is the moment when you move to a crater from the blast, it is a moment of truth which shows relevance of your theoretical model.”

Nowadays scientists have found and described 15 types of ice, but its structure is so complex that you can barely forecast its behavior under dynamic loading. The University’s scientists have investigated different types of ice, including river one for 25 years. Physical and mathematical model of ice behavior under dynamic loads as well as a numerical method for calculating its impact and explosive loading, capable of reproducing the main features and mechanisms of deformation and fracture has been developing are currently under development.

“Snow-covered and snow-free ice cover of sandwich structure have already been the objects of our research. We have worked with natural limestone as well, and will soon begin an experimental study of bituminous coal and sparry limestone,” said Maxim Orlov. “Our goal is to study the morphology of destruction and find patterns in this process.”

The main difficulty of “ice” studies was identified in the last century by Malmgren, Kann, Maeno, Bogorodskiy and others. It lies in the fact that such an ancient natural material like ice under dynamic loading has been little explored. This is due to its complex internal structure, features of its crystal lattice, anomalous plastic properties, multiple phase transitions in the process of deformation, influence of temperature, etc.

Due to the real “go on ice” researchers receive the unique scientific data, which is then used in construction of mathematical models among them are integral characteristics of the processes (the diameter and depth of explosive lanes, etc.).

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