The interaction of waves and ice is of significant relevance for engineers, oceanographers and climate scientists. In-situ measurements are costly and bear uncertainties due to unknown boundary conditions. Therefore, physical laboratory experiments in ice tanks are an important alternative to validate theories or investigate particular effects of interest. Ice tanks use model ice which has down-scaled sea ice properties. This model ice in ice tanks holds disadvantages due to its low stiffness and non-linear behavior which is not in scale to sea ice, but is of particular relevance in wave-ice interactions. With decreasing stiffness steeper waves are required to reach critical stresses for ice breaking, while the non-linear, respectively non-elastic, deformation behavior is associated with high wave damping. Both are scale effects and do not allow the direct transfer of model scale test results to scenarios with sea ice. Therefore, the alternative modeling approach of Model Ice of Virtual Equivalent Thickness (MIVET) is introduced. Its performance is tested in physical experiments and compared to conventional model ice. The results show that the excessive damping of conventional model ice can be reduced successfully, while the scaling of the wave induced ice break-up still requires research and testing. In conclusion, the results obtained are considered a proof of concept of MIVET for wave-ice interaction problems.
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