Engineers help arctic ships assess ice buildup
As global temperatures rise and arctic ice melts, more ships are taking advantage of expedient, yet dangerous ocean routes that are opening in the polar region.
One of the main hazards of sailing in freezing temperatures is topside icing, in which water blown from the ocean freezes once it contacts a ship, potentially accumulating enough ice to put the vessel at risk of capsizing.
No tools have existed for ships to accurately monitor topside icing, but now Cornell engineers have demonstrated a novel method to do so using a combination of applied mathematics and computational mechanics. The results are published in the February edition of the journal Applied Ocean Research.
"If you know something about the excitations occurring in a seaway that load a ship, and we can measure some response of the ship to those excitations, we may then be able to infer the current condition of the vessel," said Christopher Earls, professor of civil and environmental engineering and co-lead author of the paper. Engineers refer to this as inverse problem solving – using data from an effect to infer something about the cause.