Arctic marine research group aims to improve vessel safety in harsh sea ice conditions

13/12/2017 / 0 kommenttia / Tagit : , , , ,

The research group on Arctic marine technology and safety at Aalto University School of Engineering works towards improving the safety of vessels navigating in harsh sea ice environments, combining expertise in mechanical engineering, naval architecture, safety engineering and risk management.

The multidisciplinary approach aims to create new knowledge about the interactions of sea ice with vessels in ship design and operational contexts. This is applied in practical applications or supports marine policy.

One active research area is ship-ice interaction, which is of crucial importance for understanding both the resistance of ships in ice and the ice-induced loads on ships navigating sea ice environments. In this area, extensive experiments are conducted in full scale and in test environments. This includes simultaneous ice thickness and ice load measurements on board vessels in Arctic and Antarctic environments, as well as experimental programs in the ice tank. The aim is to improve the understanding of the stochastic nature of ice-induced loads together with ship performance in dynamic and complex ice fields, which are crucial elements for the safe design and operation of ships.

Research on marine safety focuses on developing concepts, methods and frameworks for creating safe technological and socio-technological systems for maritime operations, and for managing their risks. These advances to risk research and safety science are applied to specific problems in the maritime application area. Focus is on risk-based ship design for Arctic environments, and on risk management of maritime transportation in harsh environments.

Safe ship design methods for extreme conditions

A key manifestation of the group’s expertise in this area is its coordinating role in a Center of Excellence funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation in London, which focuses on safety of Arctic shipping and operations, and specifically on scenario-based risk modelling. The current design regulations for ice-going ships and offshore structures fail to predict the actual safety level, and further, the required safety level for Arctic activities is unknown. Holistic risk analyses typically include definitions for hazard scenarios and their probability of occurrence and consequences. Such an assessment is challenging for Arctic operations due to the scarcity of data and due to the complex nature of Arctic environment and related operations. Full-scale and model-scale testing are important to gain insights into the structure-ice contact problem.

The group owns the Aalto Ice Tank, which is a 40 m × 40 m water basin equipped to produce sea ice in model scale. The facility is unique because of its dimensions and, in particular, its large width. During 2014 -2016, the Aalto Ice Tank has been totally renovated and upgraded with funding from the Academy of Finland Infrastructure Call and from the Ministry of Education and Culture. Finally, the research group is an active partner in various national and international research projects and collaboration networks, and actively engages with stakeholders to disseminate results and to facilitate their implementation.


Read more about the group’s research activities.

Illustration: Flickr / Nasa Goddard Space Flight Center, licence

Kirjoittanut: Pentti Kujala, Aalto University


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