instead of smash with big ice-breaker, how about saw and remove ice?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Squidly-Diddly, Oct 3, 2020.

  1. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    Arktika

    Russia touts huge new nuclear-powered icebreaker as proof "the Arctic is ours" - CBS News https://www.cbsnews.com/news/russia-touts-huge-new-nuclear-powered-icebreaker-as-proof-the-arctic-is-ours/

    Seems like two nuclear reactors just to clear some ice is a bit much. Says can bust ice up to 9ft thick which really doesn't seem like much. OK, I guess that quite a bit to do at steady speed all day long.

    However, it got me thinking is there better way to finesse the ice out of the way instead of ramming with big ship's re-enforced bow. So here is my proposal.

    Two or more likely three or four or more big chain saws mounted on bow, about 12ft tall and teeth about 3" wide, working in conjunction with means to hold the ship more or less under control in relation to ice field. Holding might be similar to devices used by Romans to hold Carthaginian ships. Basically arms with spikes. Or might be two or more arms with big wheels with spikes to maintain more even progress through ice. I'm thinking the chain-saws teeth would travel upwards and pull warmer water up into cut hopefully in sufficient flow to overwhelm instant-freeze when contact with cold air. Once the ice field is cut to certain distance it is broken into blocks and these blocks are pulled up on ramp of spiked rollers then ejected to the sides on top of ice flow on either side of the cut by sliding down ramps. The idea would be that if the broken chunks of the ice field are removed from the path it will take much longer for path to freeze back over, and path will be much more clear. Current icebreakers mostly just break ice then following ship is able to push broken ice out of the way, then broken ice mostly quickly refreezes. Maybe some broken ice is pushed under ice field enough that there is then enough jiggle room for following ship to push through broken ice.

    Anyways, the idea is to not require such concentrated massive forces of a highly specialized ship and even have a system able to scale up beyond what even the biggest smash-ship can get through, because none of the individual forces of cutting ice and breaking pre cut ice field into manageable blocks is anything near as big as smashing a big ship into a big ice field. I think a fairly small ship with regular hull construction could be modded to become a chain-saw ice cutter and block slider and it would just be matter of adding more fuel oil as needed, all for much cheaper than giant atomic powered ice breaker.

    Also thinking once a path is fully cleared of ice it might be doable to pull warmer water from below to keep path clear for extended period.

    Chain Saw Ship might be slower through ice but path would last longer. Might use more energy pulling up and ejecting ice blocks but its just a bunch of big cheap diesel re-purposable engines and fuel that you don't need to worry about all sorts of special nuclear reactor/waste etc.

    PS-now I'm thinking 12-15ft diameter circular saw wheels would be simpler, stronger and better at maintaining momentum. If the teeth are 3" wide the wheels would be an 1" thick and the more weight the better. Still not sure how to best break and otherwise handle the ice blocks.
     
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  2. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    There is nothing new about these nuclear powered ice breakers, of course, so they would have to be considered proven. I guess the speed of progress is important, if your method was significantly slower, it could be impractical.
     
  3. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Why would the path last longer? The water and air temperature will be same.
     
  4. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    The depth of ice these things can break, is also a factor. That is their real reason for being, cutting through very thick ice.
     
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  5. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    Because unlike normal ice-breaker path the path wouldn't be instantly 85% filled with big chunks of just broken ice. normally, the ice only needs to bridge small gaps in busted ice, and that broken ice itself is likely already well below freezing. I'd expect large chunks already touching will freeze together fast and effectively close the path even if lots of big open spots remain.

    If all the ice is cleared and sitting on the side up on the field, the entire path as wide as the ship needs to freeze and its free flowing open water, and will need to freeze from zero to whatever across its entire surface at a nice slow predictable rate. Even if "refrozen solid" it would still be a known 1, 2, 3 or whatever inches thick as time goes by and still passable with no surprizes.
     
  6. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    the "new" seems to be a big bump in size and ability to allow new oil and gas extraction operations in new areas.

    Oil and gas field operations not as speed critical as cargo or military, so I'm thinking slower, lower tech, lower cost might be practical. Problem with big nuke ice-breaker is you can only have one or two. Saw and Block method might be slower but ability to tackle thick ice is basically unlimited and easily scalable. Gonna be a decade or more to build a new bigger nuke powered smasher.
     
  7. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    I'm sure they have ample experience, and the viability of alternate methods, would have been thoroughly investigated. It is claimed they can travel through 8 feet thick ice, at around 10 knots, that would seem to make sawing and stacking ice, a tedium by comparison. And of course the endurance factor is a big reason they went nuclear.
     
  8. jehardiman
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    jehardiman Senior Member

    Thick ice bring relative, they are still moving in the first year iced over polynya's (2-5m). Nothing is going to take on a multi-year floe (100+m)
     
  9. Eric Lundy
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    Eric Lundy Junior Member

    Seems like for northern routes it is overkill. Arctic ice pack is near lowest or at lowest levels ever. Keep driving your SUV and wait until all the polar bears are dead. No Ice breakers needed.
     
  10. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    Never under estimate the Russian Govt's desire to show the world "we have world's biggest which means world's best" in any given category, and to put that prize over practical considerations.

    I'm thinking for Oil and Gas work in thick ice fields having 10 ships able to get through 12ft ice at 1-2 knots would be more useful than one ship able to get through 9ft ice at 10 knots.
     
  11. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

    The chainsaws would be frozen solid in a few meters. Even if you could keep them from freezing after a few miles anything used for cutting will be dull and need sharpening or replacing. The boat will need the same amount of hull plating to handle impacts from loose ice. Icebreakers don't "smash into" the ice, they drive on top of it and crush it under the ships weight. All without any moving parts to wear and replace while maintaining enough speed for transit. This are not boats that clear a harbour or short route from ice, they are for opening the deep sea to commercial traffic, icebreaker first, followed by convoy of cargo ships.
    Diesel powered icebreakers don't work for Russia, the distances are to big and the infrastructure to thin on the ground. The boats have twin reactors for redundancy not because one is not enough. Nuclear power is the best option and the costs are lower than you think. The civilian use is just a spinoff, R&D, tooling and afterlife costs are paid by the military, all the civilian user has to pay is actual material and labour cost. Using diesel would actually be stupid, the military programs are paid for anyway, they produce the needed technology and trained operators for "free".
     
  12. PNW sailor
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    PNW sailor Junior Member

    The Ice pack drift would close up the path.
     
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  13. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Maybe in a different planet.
     
  14. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    As everyone that has taken basic high school science knows, you can liquify ice by applying pressure. However, it immediately freezes and bonds to itself. Cutting with a chainsaw can be done for very small holes, like ice fishing, but the cut will solidify for large lengths. Perhaps there could be a several thousand group of lumberjacks cutting small blocks of ice and piling them to the side. However, it would be much easier, faster and cheaper to pile the ice broken by the icebreaker ship.
     

  15. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    The Russians have been using nuclear icebreakers for many decades, if it was a promotional, prestige thing, then the novelty wore off a very long time ago. It is a solution to a practical problem, you'd have to think a viable more economical alternative would have asserted itself, by now, if there was one.
     
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