A reduced level of Arctic sea ice in recent years has resulted in an increase in commercial interest in shipping through previously inaccessible waters, such as the Northwest Passage. This interest has been significantly reinforced by the fact that vast amounts of natural resources are expected to exist in the Arctic regions. As such, the operation of vessels in ice-covered waters is currently a research topic of great relevance.
Computational methods such as those based on potential flow have become invaluable in the evaluation and optimization of marine propellers, though as of this writing there exists a deficit of proven software tools to evaluate the operation of propellers in icy waters. In order to properly develop a model and a tool, a physical understanding of the involved processes is vital.
A Cooperative Research Ships (CRS) project has been initiated with the ultimate aim of developing a software tool for the evaluation of propellers operating in ice which will operate within the CRS PROCAL environment. The research described in this paper is the first step in the development of such a tool.
This paper is intended to serve primarily as a review of the existing literature on mathematical models of propeller-ice interaction as well as their numerical solutions. Such a study serves as a vital first step in the development of a complete method for propeller ice interaction. In addition to providing an overview of the current level of understanding in the field, this paper intends also to identify which areas are well understood and which require further investigation. It will highlight the strengths and shortcomings of current models with the intention of advancing towards the final model.