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Grain Size-Sensitive Creep in Ice II

Science  03 Mar 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5765, pp. 1267-1269
DOI: 10.1126/science.1121296

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Abstract

Rheological experiments on fine-grained water ice II at low strain rates reveal a creep mechanism that dominates at conditions of low stress. Using cryogenic scanning electron microscopy, we observed that a change in stress exponent from 5 to 2.5 correlates strongly with a decrease in grain size from about 40 to 6 micrometers. The grain size–sensitive creep of ice II demonstrated here plausibly dominates plastic strain at the low-stress conditions in the interior of medium- to large-sized icy moons of the outer solar system.

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