A portable hot-water ice drill

Title A portable hot-water ice drill
Publication Type
Journal Article
Author(s) Walter Tucker , John Govoni
Journal/ Publication
Cold Regions Science and Technology

A portable hot-water drilling system has been developed for conducting detailed thickness surveys of multi-year sea ice. Primary components of the system are a propane-fired water heater and a twin-piston pump which is driven by a small gasoline engine. When assembled, the system is mounted on a sled which can be moved across relatively smooth ice surfaces by two persons. The system components easily fit inside a Bell 205 or 212 helicopter for movement to other locations. A field program in April and May 1986 proved the viability of the system for rapidly penetrating multi-year sea ice in relatively cold ambient temperatures. The prototype drill penetrated ice at rates of 3 m/min. A 43-cm-diameter ring can be quickly substituted for the normal drilling probe. This ring is useful for making larger holes through the ice for the release or recovery of instruments. Overall performance of the drilling system was highly satisfactory during the field investigations. Future systems, however, will incorporate fuel oil burners and higher-pressure pumps to achieve higher penetration rates as well as to take advantage of more readily available fuel sources.

Categories Hot Water Drilling
Citation Walter Tucker , John Govoni ( 1987 ) A portable hot-water ice drill. Cold Regions Science and Technology , 14 , 1 , 57-64 . doi: 10.1016/0165-232X(87)90044-9
Lead Author
Walter Tucker