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Icebreaker FREJ as a research platform for building materials group from LTU

Published: 12 April 2021

Icebreaker FREJ is a known sight for Luleå especially in the summer. During winter, this vessel is out in the Bothnia bay helping ships to go through the ice, day and night regardless of the weather conditions. Professor Andrzej Cwirzen from the group of building materials from LTU embarked the FREJ for two weeks research mission in March 2021.

The research team included also two scientists from the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI). The aim of the LTU research was to collect data needed to develop a novel marine software for navigation in ice conditions. The software will enable safer, more economical and ecological ice operations not only for icebreakers but also for normal merchant vessels. During this mission, various data were collected including, operating parameters of the propulsion system, visual observations of ice conditions, ice thickness measurements, radar observations, satellite imagining, weather conditions, etc.

How it is that the building materials group mainly working with concrete does also ice research?

“Despite the first impression, concrete and ice have many things in common. Both are liquids before solidification, both have interesting microstructure, both can be used as construction materials, tests methods as well as models are similar for both materials. At the moment, out of our 12 PhD students three work with ice”, says Prof Cwirzen.

The project has been financed by Kolractic, Region Norrbotten and LTU. The Sjöfartsverket enabled us to take part in the two weeks mission free of charge and provided all help that was needed, which we would like to greatly acknowledge. The entire crew and especially the Capitan Goran Förs were very helpful before the mission, when installing our equipment, and during the actual voyage. All officers from the bridge and from the machine room as well as other crewmembers were supportive and always ready to assist in our tests.

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Andrzej Cwirzen

Andrzej Cwirzen, Professor and Head of Subject

Phone: +46 (0)920 493387
Organisation: Building Materials, Structural and Fire Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering