AT-211 Ice Mechanics, Loads on Structures and Instrumentation (15 ECTS)

Student gymnastics on the sea ice

Course schedule 2019

7 January 2019
29 May 2019
Spring semester (January–May), annually.
15 ECTS with AT-208
Letter grade (A through F)
Books: Irgens, F. (2008): "Continuum mechanics". G. Ashton (1986): "River and lake ice engineering". Sanderson, T.J.O. (1988): "Ice mechanics. Risk to offshore structures". Løset et al. (2006): "Actions from ice on Arctic offshore and coastal structures". Scientific papers (provided).
Fieldwork, up to NOK 2400 (up to 12 days x NOK 200 per overnight stay)
10/20 students
Bilingual dictionary between English and mother tongue. Non-programmable calculator.
15 October 2018

Course requirements:

60 ECTS within the fields of mathematics, physics, mechanics or chemistry, of which at least 40 ECTS within mathematics, physics or mechanics.

The applicant must be enrolled in a programme at Bachelor level, or document that the courses are approved into the applicant’s current study programme.

The course is intended for students with interest in ice physics and mechanics, loads of structures and offshore or/and coastal infrastructure.

Academic content:

The course introduces students to problems of ice physics and mechanics and gives experience to work with modern scientific equipment in laboratory and field conditions. The course includes lectures about basic concepts of continuum mechanics (strain, stresses, equations of mass, momentum and energy balance), basic model of continuum mechanics (ideal and viscous fluids, elastic and viscous materials, plastic and viscous-elastic materials, granular materials) and methods of continuum mechanics used for the modelling of thermo-mechanical behaviour of saline and fresh ice itself and ice interactions with engineering structures (rheological models with thermal forcing, conceptions of compressive, tensile and flexural strength, bending deformations of floating ice, models of ice ridging and piling up). The course includes lectures about ISO design standards for the calculation of ice loads on offshore structures.

The course includes laboratory work in UNIS cold laboratory and fieldwork on land fast ice and field works on drift ice in Svalbard region. Lectures about the instrumentation introduce students to the equipment used for the measurements of thermo-mechanical characteristics and strength of ice, and measurements of water characteristics (velocity, temperatures and salinity) in ice covered ocean for the calculation of drag forces on ice and ocean heat flux to ice.

During the fieldwork the students have the possibility to observe sea ice motions and deformations created by tides, wind and sea currents, observe ice actions on coastal structures and ship. They will also gain experience in working with scientific equipment in Arctic conditions. Finally, the students should be able to formulate models and do numerical simulations of sea ice behaviour and ice-structure interactions and perform field and laboratory tests used for the design of offshore and coastal structures in the Arctic.


Learning outcomes:

Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • Know and understand basic physical-mathematical models describing sea ice growth, rheological properties of fresh and saline ice, drag forces applied to the ice by atmosphere and ocean, ice interaction with offshore and coastal structures.
  • Have basic knowledge of ISO design standards for the calculation of ice loads on offshore structures.
  • Have an overview of standard and modern instrumentation used in field and laboratory studies of ice properties and water properties in under ice ocean layer.

Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • Be able to use ISO design standards for the calculation of ice loads on offshore structures.
  • Have gained experience in working with standard and modern instrumentation used in field and laboratory studies of ice properties and water properties in under ice ocean boundary layer.
  • Be able to perform standard measurements of ice strength, stresses, displacements and deformations, and measurements of physical characteristics of ice covered waters followed by storing and interpreting of data collected.

General competences
Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • Have Arctic survival and safety experience from field work on land and sea during winter/ice season.
  • Be able to conduct research work, independently and in groups, in a cold laboratory and in the field.
  • Have competence in preparing reports and presenting results in seminars.


Learning activities:

The course extends over a full semester. Initially, students attend one week of compulsory Arctic survival and safety training (AS-101).

Seminars include exercises with mathematical formulations and solutions of problems within lecture topics, performing of results of field and laboratory work and exercises for exam preparation. See “Academic content” for a further description of learning activities.

Total lecture and seminar hours: 50 hours.
Laboratory work: 1 week.
Field work on land fast ice: Approximately 5 days.
Field work on drift ice: Approximately 7 days.

Compulsory learning activities:

Seminars, laboratory work and fieldwork.
All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to sit the exam.


Method Duration
Percentage of final grade
One written laboratory report 20%
Two written fieldwork reports 20% + 20%
Written exam 3 hours  40%

All assessments must be passed in order to pass the course.
Only the final grade will be reported, based on an average of the grades from the examination parts.


Application deadline: 15 October 2018

AT-211 cruise with Polarsyssel, April 2017. Drone photo: Sebastian Sikora/UNIS

AT-211 cruise with Polarsyssel, April 2017. Photo: Sebastian Sikora/UNIS


AT-211 students doing the spelling game on the sea ice. Photo: Renat Yulmetov/UNIS

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The University Centre in Svalbard
Telephone: +47 79 02 33 00
Fax: +47 79 02 33 01
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Address: P.O. Box 156 N-9171 Longyearbyen
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