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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-99
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-99
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 29 May 2019

Submitted as: research article | 29 May 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Laboratory Study of the Properties of Frazil Ice Particles and Flocs in Water of Different Salinities

Christopher C. Schneck, Tadros R. Ghobrial, and Mark R. Loewen Christopher C. Schneck et al.
  • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, T6G 1H9, Canada

Abstract. Measurements of the size and shape of frazil ice particles and flocs in saline water and of frazil ice flocs in freshwater are limited. This study consisted of a series of laboratory experiments producing frazil ice at salinities of 0 ‰, 15 ‰, 25 ‰, and 35 ‰ to address this lack of data. The experiments were conducted in a large tank in a cold room with bottom mounted propellers to create turbulence. A high-resolution camera system was used to capture images of frazil ice particles and flocs passing through cross polarizing lenses. The high-resolution images of the frazil ice were processed using a computer algorithm to differentiate particles from flocs and determine key properties including size, shape, and volume. The size and volume distributions of particles and flocs at all four salinities were found to fit lognormal distributions closely. The concentration, mean size, and standard deviation of flocs and particles were assessed at different times during the supercooling process to determine how these properties evolve with time. Comparisons were made to determine the effect of salinity on the properties of frazil ice particles and flocs. The overall mean size of frazil ice particles in saline water and freshwater was found to range between 0.52 and 0.45 mm with particles sizes in freshwater ~ 13 % larger than in saline water. However qualitative observations showed that frazil ice particles in saline water tend to be more irregularly shaped. The overall mean size of frazil ice flocs in freshwater was 2.57 mm compared to a mean size of 1.47 mm for flocs in saline water. Estimates for the porosity of frazil ice flocs were made by equating the estimated volume of ice produced based on thermodynamic conditions to the estimated volume of ice determined from the digital images. The estimated porosities of frazil ice flocs were determined to be 0.86, 0.82, 0.80, and 0.75 for 0 ‰, 15 ‰, 25 ‰, 35 ‰ saline water, respectively.

Christopher C. Schneck et al.
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Christopher C. Schneck et al.
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Short summary
Properties of suspended frazil ice and flocs in water of different salinities were measured in the lab using high-resolution images. It was found that freshwater frazil particles and flocs were larger than in saline water by ~ 13 % and 75 %, respectively. Both, the growth rate of particles and the porosity of flocs decreased with salinity and ranged between 0.174 and 0.024 mm/min, and, 86 % and 75 % for freshwater and 35 ‰ saline water, respectively.
Properties of suspended frazil ice and flocs in water of different salinities were measured in...
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