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Feb 19, 2018 - Science and innovations
FEFU and Chinese researchers began tests of unique subglacial communication for Arctic

The first in the world communication is developed by researchers of Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) together with colleagues from Harbin Engineering University (HEU). A unique experiment to study the new Arctic technology was conducted within the framework of the Ice Mechanics international winter school in Novik Bay on Russky Island.

According to Professor Vladimir Korochentsev, the head of the experiment, head of the Department of Instrumentation Engineering, School of Engineering, the subglacial communication is the newest area of modern hydroacoustics, which is of special importance for the exploration and production of oil and gas in the Arctic region.

“In order to explore the Arctic, one must first gain a foothold in the shallow areas. There are special physical and technical principles of sound propagation in them,” said Vladimir Korochentsev. “The sound propagation under the ice has its own specifics, signals significantly change, and there is a strong reflection from the ice and the bottom. The spread of elastic waves in the shallow sea is a problem for scientists all over the world. By combining the physical methods of Russian researchers with information processing technologies of Chinese colleagues, we will be able to achieve a breakthrough in the development of the Arctic zone.”

A pneumatic hydroacoustic emitter, developed by researchers from the FEFU School of Engineering, sound waves of which propagate in water and on ice and lens receiving antennas were used in the experiment. Researchers from Harbin brought high-precision seismic receivers to measure the vibration of ice. The sound speed meter, the acoustic visor for inspection of the underwater part of ice and other devices were also involved.

“With the help of modern instruments, we can see and understand how elastic waves propagate under water and in the thickness of ice. This is technically a very difficult task, and the researchers of the FEFU Engineering School and Harbin Engineering University are the first to take up this direction. We have been doing theoretical research for several years earlier, and now we have started experimental works,” Vladimir Korochentsev added.

As the FEFU professor reported, the preliminary observations showed that ice absorbs about 95% of sound and it is the main conductor of hydroacoustic signals. The data confirm the theoretical conclusions made earlier, however, in the course of the research, many new questions arose which need further studying.

Students and employees of the Department of Instrumentation Engineering, FEFU School of Engineering, researchers from Harbin Engineering University led by Yin Jingwei, Dean of HEU School of Waterborne Engineering, and Nikolai Zoshchenko, Rector of Far Eastern State Technical Fisheries University, took part in the experiment.

Far Eastern Federal University conducts long-term research of sea ice, has a solid theoretical base and rich practical experience in the polar studies. Harbin University of Engineering is the first university in China engaged in research in the field of hydroacoustics. The data obtained in the course of the joint experiment will be used for further research on the development of subglacial communication technologies.