Mechanical Properties of Snow,
EIDGENOESSICHES INST FUER SCHNEE- UND LAWINENFORSCHUNG DAVOS (SWITZERLAND)
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The investigation of the mechanical properties of seasonal snow cover aims mostly at applications in avalanche release and avalanche control but also at no less important problems such as vehicle mobility in snow, snow removal, or construction on snow. Primary needs are 1 constitutive equations, that is, relations between the stress tensor and the motion, and 2 fracture criteria which limit the region of validity of constitutive equations., Both can be tackled from the aspect of continiuum theories and structure theories. With modern continiuum theories the characteristic nonlinear behavior of snow can be taken into account and also the strong dependence on stress and strain history. When thermodynamics is introduced, more insight into the deformation and fracture processes can be gained. High initial deformation rates cause low dissipation, elastic behavior, and brittle fracture, whereas when dissipative mechanisms can develop, ductile fracture occurs. The advantage of structural theories lies in the immediate physical insight into deformation mechanisms, but the disadvantage is that only simple states of stresses acting macroscopically on a snow sample can be considered. Different approaches have been elaborated for low-density snow the concept of chains a series of stress-bearing grains or the neck growth model consideration of stress concentrations in bonds between grains and for high-density snow the pore collapse model snow idealized as a material containing air voids. Structural constitutive equations were applied to the calculation of stress waves in snow. Recorded acoustic emissions, indicating intergranular bond fractures, can also be used for the construction of constitutive equations.