Laser scanning of ice ridges in Svalbard.

Laser scanning of ice ridges. Photo: Nataly Marchenko/UNIS


The group working with ice mechanics and offshore engineering performs field, laboratory and theoretical investigations of thermo-mechanical properties of ice and ice actions on offshore and coastal structures. Fieldwork is focused on in-situ tests on ice strength performed on land fast ice, drift ice and ice ridges, monitoring of ice and icebergs drift characteristics using ice trackers, investigation of morphological characteristics of icebergs and ice ridges, monitoring of thermal changes in sea ice and ice ridges, monitoring of ice actions on fixed and floating quays located in the fjords Isfjorden and Van Mijenfjorden. Laboratory works are focused on mechanical testing of ice samples under uniaxial loading and investigation of thermo-mechanical processes in saline and fresh ice. In-situ tests are performed with original equipment designed in the Arctic Technology department in close cooperation with NTNU. Laboratory investigations are performed in the cold laboratory of UNIS. Theoretical investigations and numerical simulations are focused on the modeling of performed in-situ and laboratory tests, ice and icebergs drift, iceberg towing, ice actions on floating and fixed structures, and thermo-mechanical processes in saline ice.

Contact person:
Aleksey Marchenko

Current research projects:

Sustainable Arctic Marine and Coastal Technology (SAMCoT)

SAMCoT is a centre for research-based innovation, established by the Research Council of Norway. The research activities in SAMCoT are carried out by the host institution NTNU together with UNIS, SINTEF and 14 other partners.

SAMCoT Objectives:

  • To provide the research-based knowledge necessary in order for the industry to develop Arctic technology for the energy sector in particular and for society as a whole.
  • To specifically address the implications of the presence of ice and permafrost, as well as to produce knowledge that will ensure sustainable and safe exploration, exploitation, and transport from and within the vulnerable Arctic region.
  • To provide the foundation for further development of environmentally adapted coastal infrastructure.

UNIS professor Aleksey Marchenko is leading WP 1: “Collection & analysis of field data and properties”.

SAMCoT project page
Men, snowmobile and crane in Svea, Svalbard (wintertime)

Safety of Industrial Development and Transportation Routes in the Arctic, 2015–2018 (SITRA)

SITRA is supported by Norwegian Centre for International cooperation in Education (SIU) via the High North Programme for 2015–2018. This SMIDA sister project will expand collaboration in the field of Arctic Technology overseas.

UNIS and Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada) are the main partners. Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), NTNU (Norway), University of Alaska Fairbanks (USA) and Dartmouth College (USA) are in the team.

UNIS professor Aleksey Marchenko is project leader.

SITRA project page
Man filming from a boat. Snowmobiles on deck.

Field studies and modelling of sea state, drift ice, ice actions and methods of icebergs management on the Arctic shelf, 20152017 (FIMA)

FIMA is hosted by UNIS and funded by the Research Council of Norway through the NORRUSS program (Russia and the High North/Arctic). NTNU, VNIIGAZ GASPROM and the State Oceanographic Institute (Moscow) are the partners.

Investigation and quantifying of physical environment in the regions of offshore development and navigational activity on the Arctic shelf; contribution to estimates of physical environmental actions on offshore structures and a reduced risk level related to operating offshore in the High North; strengthening of long-term research cooperation with leading research institutions in Russia involved in the industrial development in the High North.

UNIS professor Aleksey Marchenko is project leader.

FIMA project page
People on the sea ice close to Svea, Svalbard, performing scientific experiments.

Safety of Maritime operation and sustainable industrial development in the Arctic, 2012–2015 (SMIDA)

The aim of the project in to develop the educational and research cooperation between Norwegian and Russian Universities for the increase of basic knowledge required for sustainable development of Arctic offshore and coastal Technology.

The project study is focused on the regions of offshore and coastal development in the Barents and Kara Seas.

Main activities within the projects are the teaching and exchange of MSc/PhD students, increase of communications between academic, technical and administrative staff, synchronization of the teaching procedures in Norwegian and Russian Universities, and organizing of joint fieldwork in Svalbard and the Russian Arctic.

The SMIDA project was finished in 2015, but some news, info and future publications will be published here. Please go to the SITRA project site to see our current collaboration work on similar issues.

SMIDA project page

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