Ship resistance when operating in floating ice floes: A combined CFD&DEM approach

Luofeng Huang*, Jukka Tuhkuri, Bojan Igrec, Minghao Li, Dimitris Stagonas, Alessandro Toffoli, Philip Cardiff, Giles Thomas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Whilst climate change is transforming the Arctic into a navigable ocean where small ice floes are floating on the sea surface, the effect of such ice conditions on ship performance has yet to be understood. The present work combines a set of numerical methods to simulate the ship-wave-ice interaction in such ice conditions. Particularly, Computational Fluid Dynamics is applied to provide fluid solutions for the floes and it is incorporated with the Discrete Element Method to govern ice motions and account for ship-ice/ice-ice collisions, by which, the proposed approach innovatively includes ship-generated waves in the interaction. In addition, this work provides two algorithms that can implement computational models with natural ice-floe fields, which takes floe size distribution and randomness into consideration thus achieving high-fidelity modelling of the problem. Following validation against experiments, the model is shown accurate in predicting the ice-floe resistance of a ship, and then a series of simulations are performed to investigate how the resistance is influenced by ship speed, ice concentration, ice thickness and floe diameter. This paper presents a useful approach that can provide power estimates for Arctic shipping and has the potential to facilitate other polar engineering purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102817
Number of pages20
JournalMarine Structures
Early online date6 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Arctic shipping
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Discrete element method
  • Ice floe
  • Ship resistance

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