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Properties of snow with applications related to climate change and skiing
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering. (Geoteknologi)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3369-4542
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Snow has been a subject of research since the mid-20th century. Research on mechanical properties of snow started as an off-shoot of soil mechanics, where methods, tools and instruments used often are the same. However, during the last decades the winter business industry has been growing requiring a number of new fields of research. The aim with this PhD thesis is to investigate and contribute to solutions of some of the new research problems appearing in this area. Machine-made snow is commonly used for buildings and artwork of snow. Only minor scientific studies of machine-made snow and its properties have been published. Therefore, mechanical properties of machine-made snow were investigated. Strength and deformation properties were evaluated through uniaxial compressive tests where cylindrical test specimens were subjected to different constant deformation rates. Creep deformation, bending strength and ultimate load were also evaluated through beam tests. The results showed that the deformation rate is crucial if the snow will deform plastically or if brittle failure will occur. The grain size and structure of the snow had a strong influence on the strength properties. Snow is a constantly changing material with a large variety of grain sizes and shapes. Therefore it is of importance to classify snow. Classication of snow can be done using different methods depending on the property that is to be investigated. Several non-contact detection methods to evaluate snow properties exist. In this thesis, spectral reflectance measurements were performed to investigate liquid water content in snow using two different systems, a spectrometer and an optical sensor called Road Eye. The Road Eye sensor was also used to classify snow in cross-country ski tracks. This method enables a fast classication of a complete track where different types of snow can be distinguished. The properties of a ski track and the characteristics of the snow determine the type of skis that should be selected for optimum sliding properties. Cross-country skis have different mechanical properties, which to a large extent can be evaluated from the span curve of the ski. Depending on the skiing style, the skier's skills, terrain and track conditions different ski properties are required, which is particularly important for competitive skiing. Span curves of cross-country skis were measured using a digital instrument called Skiselector. Results from the investigations showed that skis within the same pair may have signicantly different properties. Moreover, temperature influences the span curve and thus the mechanical properties of the skis. Therefore, skis should be measured at a temperature close to where they are aimed to be used. Field tests of skis with similar span curves but different ski base topography were tested during wet and cold snow conditions. The results indicate that different topographies are preferable during different snow conditions. Due to the climate change, winters have become shorter and warmer with less natural snow. To compensate for the lack of natural snow, ski resorts and other stakeholders produce machinemade snow in order to run their business. Storing snow in insulated piles is an alternative and sometimes a complement to snow production. Studies on stored snow show that the surface area of the pile should be minimized in order to reduce the melt rate. Furthermore, the pileshould be covered with a suciently thick insulating layer, preferably with good evaporation properties. Theoretical calculations can be used to estimate the amount of snow that melts and to predict the efficiency of different materials as thermal insulation on snow. These calculations coincide well with experiments performed in northern Sweden where snow melt was measured. This PhD thesis consists of five publications and an introduction to this area which in particular puts these publications into a more general frame.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå tekniska universitet, 2016.
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544
National Category
Geotechnical Engineering
Research subject
Soil Mechanics
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-59846ISBN: 978-91-7583-731-4 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7583-732-1 (electronic)OAI: diva2:1038717
Public defence
2016-12-20, F1031, Luleå tekniska universitet, Luleå, 10:00
Available from: 2016-10-20 Created: 2016-10-19 Last updated: 2017-02-08Bibliographically approved

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