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Can the iceberg be towed?

After months of intense collaboration, using the Dymola software, the team finalized an integrated drift model, which consolidated all the criteria involved in the operation of transporting the iceberg:


- Meteorological and oceanographic data that the convoy would encounter at any time or place, and their impact on the convoy’s movement.


- The principles of melting resulting from hydraulic and thermal simulations, which would allow the evolution of melting to be observed throughout its transportation.


- The physical phenomena, especially those corresponding to the drift of the iceberg and the convoy generally under the effect of the various natural forces (winds, currents, swell, etc.), the traction force exerted by the tugboat and the resulting consumption of fuel oil, the consideration of the effects on the tugboat and the iceberg of the drag due to both the water and the air, the rotation of the Earth (the Coriolis effect), etc.

In the Dymola software, the Dassault Systèmes experts enter the GPS coordinates of the iceberg’s initial location, near Newfoundland, and of its destination in the Canary Islands, select a departure date for the convoy (June 3rd)and the number of tugs to be used to tow the iceberg, as well as the power of the tugs. Finally, they select the general piloting strategy just as the captain would in real life. Two minutes later, the simulation ends and delivers the results: total length of the project; remaining mass of ice on arrival, total consumption of fuel oil. Also, on a world map, we discover a convoluted curve describing the complete course followed by the convoy. We can replay it slowly, step by step and so see what happens at each instant, and analyze the causes and effects in relation to the various parameters. Among other things, we can therefore deduce how much ice remains on arrival and what quantity of fuel oil the tugboat burned in accordance with the route followed: each voyage takes approximately 150 days because the convoy travels at an average speed of 1.5 km/hour.

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