8 April, 2001

Devinder Sodhi, Sr. Research Scientist, Crushing Failure of Ice

Dr. Sodhi's extensive research and expertise at Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) in Hanover, New Hampshire focuses on the crushing failure of ice and the associated forces induced on ice structure. At this point, Devinder Sodhi's time is spent predominately in three main project areas: submarine sail testing; review, study and compilation of data collected during the Arctic ice trials of icebreaker U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy; and parcticipation in peer review panels for the evaluation of personnel at six other research laboratories.

Today I caught up with Dr. Sodhi in the test basin just minutes prior to conducting a submarine sail test. His research in this study focuses on determining the amount of force needed to penetrate a floating ice sheet of a specific thickness or a variety of thicknesses. These tests are being performed in scaled down model format from which full-scale forces can be obtained.

Why do submarines need to break through an ice sheet? Submarines may need to periodically penetrate frozen surfaces such as the ice sheets found in Polar Regions, for example, for an emergency situation, need of fresh air or to perform required work on the surface of an ice sheet. Each submarine must know their maximum thickness of ice they are able to penetrate. They not only need to be able to break through this ice successfully, but also be able to locate the appropriate thickness of ice before undertaking this operation.

In 1993 Dr. Devinder Sodhi was a member of a research team conducting field experiments in submarine sail testing. Dr. Sodhi tells me that there is a description of field tests published in the November 1993 Popular Mechanics magazine. To read more about submarines going to the Arctic Ocean, Dr. Sodhi suggests reading Glenn Hodges' arcticle, "Arctic Submarine," in the March 1, 2000 issue of National Geographic.

The state-of-the-art results of Devinder Sodhi's research at CRREL are utilized in existing submarines and for the design of highly advanced future submarines. For further information, photos, charts and Dr. Sodhi's contact information go to http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/permanent/crushing ("Crushing Failure of Ice Against Structures").

By Sandra Kolb, March 2001

Dr. Devinder Sodhi in the CRREL research library. Photo by Sandra Kolb.

The frozen surface of one of CRREL’s test basins and site of a submarine sail test experiment. Photo by Sandra Kolb.

A U.S. submarine sail surfaced through an Arctic ice sheet. Photo from the Arctic Submarine Laboratory.

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