The assessment of the ship performance in ice covered waters has become more and more important in view of the increased interest in Arctic field logistics and transportation. The performance of ice-going or ice breaking ships is usually defined by their ability to proceed in uniform level ice, where good performance means low ice resistance, high propulsion efficiency and continuous ice breaking. In order to assess the ice breaking performance in an early design stage, model tests may be executed or several theoretical methods may be applied to predict the ice resistance may be applied. Due to the physical nature of model tests, all processes, i.e. forces contributing to ice resistance are considered. Thus, the execution of model tests is still the most reliable method to determine the ice resistance. But with regard to the high costs of model tests there is continued demand to gain knowledge on the reliability of theoretical prediction methods. The applicability of the method of choice depends on the underlying assumptions of the method itself and thus the method’s capability to predict and consider physical phenomena of interest.
In this paper model tests are used to evaluate the influence of hull shape parameters and ice conditions on the breaking process, i.e. the ice resistance and the ship performance. Based on the knowledge gained a systematic comparison of existing, representative ice resistance prediction methods is carried out. The methods considered are state-of-the-art techniques which the original publications introduced with sufficient information to allow for their use in this comparison. It focuses on the suitability of the existing methods as engineering tools for the prediction of different components, as well as the total ice resistance itself. The incorporation of the ice resistance contributions in the different prediction methods is presented and differences are identified. On this basis an assessment of the assumptions and simplifications of these different numerical methods is outlined.