Ice sheet bending failures have been investigated extensively for ice loads on conical offshore structures and icebreakers in arctic regions. Most previous theoretical studies focus on bending failures of semi-infinite level ice, ice wedges, or finite-sized rectangular ice floes. For indented ice sheet bending failures, Nevel (1992) and Lau (2004) developed analytical ice load models by assuming a radial-before-circumferential cracking pattern. Recently, real-time simulations of ice-structure interactions are gaining increasing traction due to their great application potential. The analytical or semi-analytical models implemented into the real-time simulator significantly influence the accuracy of real-time simulations. Against this backdrop, the cracking pattern assumption needs to be more critically examined, and the criterion for cracking pattern determinations is in demand for utilizing different models for different cracking patterns in real-time simulations. Motivated by this need, the current paper establishes the cracking pattern determination criterion for indented ice sheet bending failures, based on the theory of plates on elastic foundations and normalized formulae. It is found that large indentation lengths and radii of structure waterline curvature induce a circumferential-before-radial cracking pattern. Conversely, small indentation lengths and radii of structure waterline curvature result in a radial-before-circumferential cracking pattern.

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