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Radical New Icebreaker Will Travel Through the Ice Sideways

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the going-sideways dept.

Transportation 62

cylonlover writes "Given that icebreakers clear a path for other ships by traveling through the ice head-on (or sometimes butt-on), then in order for one of them to clear a wider path, it would have to be wider and thus larger overall ... right? Well, Finland's Arctech Helsinki Shipyard is taking a different, more efficient approach. It's in the process of building an asymmetric-hulled icebreaker that can increase its frontal area, by making its way through the ice at an angle of up to 30 degrees."

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I suppose... (5, Funny)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year ago | (#44479301)

... you could call that:

*puts on sunglasses*

'lateral thinking'

Re:I suppose... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44482159)

Hmm, CSI. Never before have I been so emphatic in clicking "overrated".

been working on it for some time (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44479321)

Fwiw, the Finns have been researching this idea for a while now; interesting to see it actually being built. Here is a 1999 paper [pdf] [akerarctic.com] from one of Arctech Helsinki's parent companies studying the feasibility of such a design, which has some good information on the details.

Re:been working on it for some time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44479635)

Fwiw, the Finns have been researching this idea for a while now; interesting to see it actually being built. Here is a 1999 paper [pdf] [akerarctic.com] from one of Arctech Helsinki's parent companies studying the feasibility of such a design, which has some good information on the details.

Wow good for them for sticking to it. I mean, before too long there wont be any arctic ice to break but I am sure they will keep right on going with their research. Such motivation!

Re:been working on it for some time (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#44479729)

There will still be winter.

Re:been working on it for some time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44480137)

You know, I did hear somewhere that it was coming.

Re:been working on it for some time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44483427)

Yeah, for a long fucking time. It's like waiting for Godot.

So, (4, Interesting)

virgnarus (1949790) | about a year ago | (#44479323)

Nautical drifting?

Re:So, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44494747)

Unfortunately not multi-track...

Waste of Time (3, Funny)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about a year ago | (#44479339)

Just warm up the planet and then we won't have to worry about this "ice" stuff.

It probably has some impact.. (1)

intellitech (1912116) | about a year ago | (#44479375)

Well, I'm not a scientist in this field of study, but I wouldn't be surprised if these helped that process along.

Break ice into smaller pieces (e.g. cut huge swaths of it in half and so on), and it'll melt faster.

Same way you cut a stick of butter into smaller pieces before melting it down when cooking

Re:It probably has some impact.. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44479613)

Well, I'm not a scientist in this field of study, . . .

Obviously not.

Break ice into smaller pieces (e.g. cut huge swaths of it in half and so on), and it'll melt faster.

Maybe, but this is very thin sea ice (50-100 cm), which melts annually anyway. It's not like they're going into the icecaps with this thing.

As for the parent of your post, warming up the planet has increased the demand for ice breakers, because more places can now be reached. We might even finally see a northwest passage, but it will need an icebreaker to keep it open as long as possible. Russia has lots of icebreakers for reaching its northern border. Some of them are nuclear powered!

Re:It probably has some impact.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481845)

Let's suppose you have a piece of sea ice 1 km square by 1 m thick. It has a surface area of 2.004 km^2. Now if you cut it in half short-wise, it will have a surface area of 2.006 km^2. Actually, if you cut a 10 m wide path instead, you end up with a surface area of 1.986 km^2, while reducing the volume by only 1% (assuming the chunks from the path just disappear...), so an increase of surface area to volume ratio of 0.3%. This number gets much smaller for a wider and/or thinner sheet of ice. You could maybe argue something in the case of a sheet of ice being able to move south faster than before, but otherwise, the surface area is not going to change much for a real sized ice sheet (plus in some cases, increasing the surface area would cause more ice to form...).

Re:Waste of Time (0)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about a year ago | (#44479425)

Just warm up the planet and then we won't have to worry about this "ice" stuff.

Already happening, but if anyone is really keen to swim in the lake that now exists on the North Pole they can charter a helicopter in Iqaluit rather than require an icebreaker. Coming soon to the Far North: cruise ships.

Re:Waste of Time (1)

barlevg (2111272) | about a year ago | (#44479497)

The north pole lake first of all is not a lake (it's a "melt pond") and second of all is not thought to be caused by global warming--it's just what happens when summer sun shines down on arctic ice. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/29/us-northpole-lake-idUSBRE96S16620130729 [reuters.com]

Re:Waste of Time (1, Insightful)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#44479673)

While the z0mg!panic! was stupid, there is an issue here. Meltwater ponds reflect less sunlight than bare ice, so warm the ice underneath much quicker (until it cracks and the pond drains out.) The problem is that in single-year ice, the meltwater ponds form shallow and wide on the smooth surface, maximising their surface area. Multi-year ice is gnarled and shattered and jagged, so melt-water tends to collect in crevices (or even crevasses) with a much smaller area in the sun. With the recent losses of multi-year ice, the remaining ice is caught in a vicious feedback loop: More single-year ice, more open ponds, so more melting. More melting, more open ocean, so more single-year ice next winter. Rinse, repeat.

Re:Waste of Time (3, Informative)

starless (60879) | about a year ago | (#44479889)

While the z0mg!panic! was stupid, there is an issue here. Meltwater ponds reflect less sunlight than bare ice, so warm the ice underneath much quicker (until it cracks and the pond drains out.) [...]

Refereed article on this can be found here:

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate1963.html [nature.com]
The surface albedo of the Arctic sea-ice zone is a crucial component in the energy budget of the Arctic region1, 2. The treatment of sea-ice albedo has been identified as an important source of variability in the future sea-ice mass loss forecasts in coupled climate models3. There is a clear need to establish data sets of Arctic sea-ice albedo to study the changes based on observational data and to aid future modelling efforts. Here we present an analysis of observed changes in the mean albedo of the Arctic sea-ice zone using a data set consisting of 28 years of homogenized satellite data4. Along with the albedo reduction resulting from the well-known loss of late-summer sea-ice cover5, 6, we show that the mean albedo of the remaining Arctic sea-ice zone is decreasing. The change per decade in the mean August sea-ice zone albedo is 0.029±0.011. All albedo trends, except for the sea-ice zone in May, are significant with a 99% confidence interval. Variations in mean sea-ice albedo can be explained using sea-ice concentration, surface air temperature and elapsed time from onset of melt as drivers.

Re:Waste of Time (1)

Keruo (771880) | about a year ago | (#44479833)

Coming soon to the Far North: cruise ships.

I think you mean going? Largest cruise ships [wikipedia.org] are built in Finland but it's not where they sail at.

Re:Waste of Time (2)

You're All Wrong (573825) | about a year ago | (#44480677)

Turku? Far north? Prkl. Turku's a summer holiday destination it's so far south. Get your sunstroke drinking kossu at Ruisrock.

Re:Waste of Time (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#44479843)

if anyone is really keen to swim in the lake that now exists on the North Pole

Two things:

1) it was only about a foot deep.

2) it's already gone away.

Re:Waste of Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44480785)

you can already take a cruise to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svalbard

Re:Waste of Time (5, Funny)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#44479597)

Already done. That's why these icebreakers are so useful.

By eliminating much of the multi-year ice, all they have to worry about is the thin smooth single-year ice that forms each winter; the stuff that icebreakers like. That greatly increases the chance of a viable shipping lane being breakable along its full length each year.

Re:Waste of Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44479863)

I prefer killing off you morons to killing off all the life and nature that depends on this "ice" stuff.

wrong problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44479427)

But what good is a radical new icebreaker if slashdotters never leave the basement?

Go home (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44479445)

Go home icebreaker, you're drunk.

Yay, onward march of technology (1)

musth (901919) | about a year ago | (#44479449)

Let's destroy ocean ice at an even FASTER rate!

Let's all MARVEL at this new icebreaker technology.

Re:Yay, onward march of technology (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#44479481)

Or you could think of it rationally.
You have 1 Icebreaker taking one pass to do what it would take 3 to do.

They are still going to cut as much ice, they need it for shipping. It will just take less time, less fuel, and less ships. Better than the alternative.

Re:Yay, onward march of technology (1)

sayno2quat (1651749) | about a year ago | (#44485229)

Yup, just like cotton gins. Increases efficiency, reduces the need for labor, all while giving the same output.

5) Profit... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44479467)

1) Agency 1 conducts illegal search or wiretap.
2) Agency 1 gives "anonymous" tip to agency 2 based on illegal search.
3) Agency 2 uses tip as pretext for conducting search.
4) Arrests are made.

butt on (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44479493)

lol he said butt

Damn... (2)

QilessQi (2044624) | about a year ago | (#44479495)

When I saw the "travelling sideways" thing I was hoping for a giant crab-shaped mecha.

how will it work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44479499)

as far as I understand icebreakers basically "ride up" on the ice breaking it with the ships weight, I guess they have though it through

Re:how will it work? (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#44479737)

Even on slashdot, if you are actually curious about the subject you click on TFA link. And it actually takes less time and effort than posting a request for someone else to do it for you, then checking back periodically hoping that someone replied with more than snark.

But since I'm already here: asymmetric hull design + shifting centre of mass with sea-water ballast + azipod [wikipedia.org] engines.

Geometry (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44479511)

In this article, 'Sideways' or 90 degrees, is apparently the same thing as 30 degrees.

Re:Geometry (2)

EvilSS (557649) | about a year ago | (#44479743)

Vehicles are considered to be going sideways when they are moving along a vector that is noticeably out of alignment with the vehicle center line. This is not restricted to vehicles traveling at 90 degrees to their center line.

Re:Geometry (1)

2gravey (959785) | about a year ago | (#44479957)

Call me crazy, but I would think a vehicle would have to be traveling at an angle greater than 45 degrees off its center-line to call its direction of travel sideways as anything less than that would be mostly forward. I especially liked how the article provided a picture suggesting 90 degree travel, despite describing 30 degrees as the maximum.

Re:Geometry (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | about a year ago | (#44480107)

Actually the ship's three propulsion pods can point in any direction. So, yes it can go at 90 degree or 180 or whatever direction it wants to. When breaking ice it is designed for 30 degree travel, but it is capable of any direction just like omni-wheels.

Re:Geometry (1)

EvilSS (557649) | about a year ago | (#44480425)

OK, you're crazy.

Try this. Draw a picture of a boat. Now grab a protractor and draw a line from the center of your boat that is 30 degrees from the center line. That is the direction of travel. At this point your boat is sliding sideways through the water.

You can also try it out with a mouse (computer or mammal). If you're really adventurous try it in a moving car and let me know if you felt like you were sideways or forward :)

Wanker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44479779)

First define a term as narrowly as possible, then berate the speaker for daring to use it more broadly. Time well spent. Bravo.

Icebreakers work from above (4, Informative)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#44479599)

Conventional ice breaking is done by the weight of the ship, the shape of the bow allows them to slide on top of it and once far enough the ice underneath will break, doing this sideways will be rather nasty for the stomach of the sailors on board.

Providing they have the horsepower it can be done in a relatively smooth way or they need to regularly back up for a new run onto the ice.

The ship in the article is 'only' fit for up to 60 cm. in sideways and 100 cm. of ice in regular mode, not exactly a lot of obstruction when you consider the typical ice sheet north of Russia is between 1.2 and 2.5 m. thick.

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-09/russia-building-worlds-largest-nuclear-powered-icebreaker [popsci.com]

Re:Icebreakers work from above (5, Informative)

pijokela (462279) | about a year ago | (#44479851)

It's meant for the Gulf of Finland near St. Petersburg. A PDF report at http://www.baltice.org/ [baltice.org] shows that the thickest ice during 2011-2012 winter was 50cm.

It's true that as Russia is more and more interested in exploiting the arctic sea, they will need bigger things.

Re:Icebreakers work from above (5, Interesting)

dan828 (753380) | about a year ago | (#44480205)

You've never been for a ride on a "conventional" icebreaker, have you? The things are basically footballs(american) in the water. As a younger man, I was a deckhand on an ocean going icebreaker and did an arctic deployment. In rough seas we could take up to 90 degree rolls, though the biggest I saw was 67 degrees (fall in the north sea). Breaking pack ice in the arctic was like spending time on a randomly shifting roller coaster that occasionally slammed on the breaks and had to back up for another go. If you think this piddly little 30 degree lateral crabbing while breaking thin sea ice is going to be very bad, you just have no idea.

Re:Icebreakers work from above (1)

Teun (17872) | about a year ago | (#44480329)

I mentioned it is hard on man and machine and yes I've been aboard something similar regarding design and instability, the Zeus of AlfonsHakans.fi, designed as a ice-breaking harbour tug but abused as a taxi in the North Sea.

Seldom have I had a worse ride...

http://www.alfonshakans.fi/fleetbase/info/fleet/2/more [alfonshakans.fi]

Re:Icebreakers work from above (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#44480237)

The ship in the article is 'only' fit for up to 60 cm. in sideways and 100 cm. of ice in regular mode, not exactly a lot of obstruction when you consider the typical ice sheet north of Russia is between 1.2 and 2.5 m. thick.

Ice breakers don't wait for the ice to accumulate to start breaking. Plus, this is meant for harbors and shipping routes, not pack ice.

Re:Icebreakers work from above (1)

Insomnium (1415023) | about a year ago | (#44480261)

Conventional ice breaking is done by the weight of the ship, the shape of the bow allows them to slide on top of it and once far enough the ice underneath will break, doing this sideways will be rather nasty for the stomach of the sailors on board.

Providing they have the horsepower it can be done in a relatively smooth way or they need to regularly back up for a new run onto the ice.

The ship in the article is 'only' fit for up to 60 cm. in sideways and 100 cm. of ice in regular mode, not exactly a lot of obstruction when you consider the typical ice sheet north of Russia is between 1.2 and 2.5 m. thick.

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-09/russia-building-worlds-largest-nuclear-powered-icebreaker [popsci.com]

If you look at the map, the seas where finnish ice breakers roam are not it north russia (itä-meri and perämeri in finnish). As far as i know there is no ship routes trough the northern arctic sea. If there would be, it would cut ship travel times from certain parts of the world by a considerable margin, if they would want to deliver cargo to northern or central europe. Cargo from russia to norway, sweden and finland are mainly transported by railway or truck as there is no sea in between. The most work these breakers do as far as i know are between denmark, finland, russia, estonia, sweden, norway and germany (and some others), not in the arctic sea as your "north russia" would suggest.

Re:Icebreakers work from above (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44480811)

As far as i know there is no ship routes trough the northern arctic sea.

Not all the way across it from Europe to Asia, no. But the western portion of the Arctic near the Atlantic, i.e. far-northern Norway and far north-western Russia, is actually ice-free year round. That's why Murmansk [openstreetmap.org] is strategically important to Russia, as an ice-free port where access to the sea isn't controlled by the narrow straights between Sweden and Denmark.

Re:Icebreakers work from above (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44484553)

where access to the sea isn't controlled by the narrow straights between Sweden and Denmark.

"Muhåhåhåååh!"

Re:Icebreakers work from above (1)

Pikewake (217555) | about a year ago | (#44484923)

Congratulations! You won the "What does a Swedish cow with smokers' cough say?" competition. Your signed copy of "Bovine Bronchitis in the Baltics" is in the mail.

Re:Icebreakers work from above (1)

dobbshead (1602355) | about a year ago | (#44484311)

If you look at the map, the seas where finnish ice breakers roam are not it north russia (itä-meri and perämeri in finnish). As far as i know there is no ship routes trough the northern arctic sea.

It's not a Finnish Ship. It's being finished in Finland for the Russian Ministry of Transport, and is being classed by the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping. The hull was actually built in Kaliningrad's Yantar Shipyard, then shipped in bits to Arctech in Helsinki for completion. Arctech itself is joint venture between Russia's United Shipbuilding Corp and STXFinland.

It's function is billed as being "an icebreaking multipurpose emergency rescue vessel". So I guess it's more about rescuing non-icebreaker ships that are trapped (which should be thinner ice or else they wouldn't have got there), so it shouldn't need to get through thick ice.

For example, the Grand Aniva LNG carrier is KM Ice2 class, so it's no icebreaker, but it can go unaided through fragmented ice, or with an icebreaker's help through ice up to 0.55m thick.

It might not end up in the Europe end at all, but out in Vladivostok. I've seen a few icebreakers docked there.

Why not sideways? (1)

Khyber (864651) | about a year ago | (#44479747)

Given the design of most ships, would it not make more sense to align them sideways/perpendicular to their travel path to clear the way?

I mean we're at LEAST looking at a 1:3 ratio of dimensions, here.

Re:Why not sideways? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44479887)

Need a V (or angled-hull in this case) to sweep the broken ice to the side, otherwise it will build up in front ("front") of the ship, increasing the resistance until the ship can't make any headway. Think snow-plow, not bulldozer.

Re:Why not sideways? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44479913)

For the same reason you don't use a knife sideways. ;)

Re:Why not sideways? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44481955)

A lot of work goes into designing a hull shape that is efficient at ice-breaking, and additionally there is some work needed for a hull to be stable. Conventional ice breakers already sacrifice a lot of stability to gain more ice breaking efficiency and end up pretty rough rides in open water. Adding an asymmetry into the issue further pushes this. Regular ships as is are really bad at breaking ice head on, where they are already pointy. Ships not designed for it will be even worse than that going sideways. This is probably the best compromise they could come up with that is still sea worthy in whatever rough seas they expect it to travel through, yet even as is requires special training to pilot and probably goes against some instincts of how ships handle waves.

Untimely (1)

eyenot (102141) | about a year ago | (#44479815)

A little bit late for this, don't you think? Even the ice caps are melting at a "crazy" rate.

In Soviet Russia... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44480097)

... ice breaks you!

Sadly, it won't be needed much longer. (0)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#44480103)

Pretty soon the Arctic will be ice free round the year and ice breakers will be scrapped and may be one or two saved as curiosities in museums.

We still have ice?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44480325)

I thought global warming took care of all of that.

Booze Cruise (1)

Joviex (976416) | about a year ago | (#44480423)

Ah, I can see it now! Start buying futures in the new line of Party Boats: "Now that we've broken the ice, what's your name?"

frontal area..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44480527)

...and we *all* like "increased frontal areas ..."

Re:frontal area..... (1)

losfromla (1294594) | about a year ago | (#44481975)

I myself don't like big round bellies but, to each his own.

Nice an article worthy of slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44482501)

Where do I sign up to crew this thing )

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