ROCK MECHANICS DEFORMATION
Synthesis of icy minerals:
The Ice Laboratory conducts experiments with high-pressure, low-temperature deformation experiments to measure the strength, fracture, and flow behavior of icy minerals, alloys, hydrates, and a variety of ice-rock mixtures at physical conditions applicable to outer solar system environments. The work provides theological measurements and flow laws needed for interpreting surface features and modeling interiors of the icy moons of the outer solar system.
Gas hydrate synthesis:
Gas hydrates occur widely in both terrestrial systems and the outer solar
system, and are believed to harbor the largest untapped reservoir of natural
gas on earth. Their physical, chemical, and material properties are as
yet poorly understood. The Ice Lab apparatus synthesizes methane hydrate
for mechanical testing at planetary conditions (pressure greater than 50
MPa, temperature less than 200 degrees Kelvin). The lab methods allow for
production of samples suitable for both physical and material property testing,
as well as synthesis of various kinds of hydrate and sediment mixtures,
simulating ocean bottom settings.