Laboratory study of the properties of frazil ice particles and flocs in water of different salinities

Schneck, Christopher C.; Ghobrial, Tadros R.; Loewen, Mark R.

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, concentration and volume. The size and volume distributions of particles and flocs at all four salinities were found to fit log-normal 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 flocs in freshwater was 2.57 mm compared to a mean size of 1.47 mm for flocs in saline water. The average growth rate of frazil particles was found to be 0.174, 0.070, 0.033, and 0.024 mm min−1 and the average floc growth rate was 0.408, 0.118, 0.089, and 0.072 mm min−1 for the 0 ‰, 15 ‰, 25 ‰, and 35 ‰, respectively. 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, 0.8 and 0.75 for 0 ‰, 15 ‰, 25 ‰ and 35 ‰ saline water, respectively.

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Schneck, Christopher C. / Ghobrial, Tadros R. / Loewen, Mark R.: Laboratory study of the properties of frazil ice particles and flocs in water of different salinities. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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