Protection from large-scale ice spalling vibrations



When large ice sheets move in the Arctic, they often collide with structures like oil platforms and can cause damaging vibrations. These vibrations have been explained in terms of ice spalling and associated saw-tooth loading patterns as well as resonance of the coupled structure-ice system. The most well-known such event occurred in May of 1986 in the Canadian Beaufort Sea. When a 7 km x 15 km x 2 m ice sheet collided with the Molikpaq caisson facility, the structure oscillated by more than 8┬░ and 71 people had to be evacuated. The phenomenon has been studied for decades; however, no effective protection has been identified to date.

A novel technology has been developed that shows real promise in stopping these dangerous structure vibrations. The technology uses panels with small metal protrusions arranged in a specific regular pattern, sticking out by only about 2 inches from the panel surface. The technology can be easily deployed on existing platforms, as well as manufactured onto the surface of new platforms.

Using NRC's extensive marine technology expertise and Arctic testing facilities, the technology has been tested extensively and proven successful in laboratory experiments.

Technology transfer

This technology is available for licensing, and for further development through a collaborative research agreement with NRC. The business opportunity may be referred to by its NRC IDs: 12527.

Market applications

This technology shows great promise in protecting marine structures in the Arctic, such as oil-platforms. As such, it is of particular interest to Arctic structure manufacturers, operators and maintenance equipment manufacturers.


The technology is the only one that shows real promise in stopping dangerous structure vibrations when they collide with large ice sheets in the Arctic.

It can be easily added onto existing structures and manufactured onto new structures with minimal impact on existing processes, minimizing the production risk.


NRC file 12527:

Contact us

To inquire about this technology, please contact:

Mark Murphy, Business Advisor
Telephone: 709-772-2105