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Erland Schulson headshotjpg

Erland M. Schulson

George Austin Colligan Distinguished Professor of Engineering

Director, Ice Research Laboratory


  • BASc, Metallurgical Engineering, University of British Columbia 1964
  • PhD, Metallurgical Engineering, University of British Columbia 1968

Research Interests

Flow and fracture of ice; mechanical behavior of metals and alloys; physical metallurgy and materials science

Selected Publications

  • "Friction of ice and its role in ice-structure interactions," E.M. Schulson, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. (in preparation).
  • "Experimental observation of the onset of fracture percolation in columnar ice," C.E. Renshaw, E.M. Schulson and S. Sigward, Geophys. Res. Lett. 4, 1795–1802, doi:10/1002/2016GL071919, 2017.
  • "Strength-limiting mechanisms in high-confinement, brittle-like failure: Adiabatic transformational faulting," C.E. Renshaw, and E.M. Schulson, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 122, 1088-1106, doi:10.1002/2016JB013407, 2017.
  • "On the restoration of strength through stress-driven healing of faults in ice," E.M. Schulson, S.T. Nodder and C.E. Renshaw, Acta Materialia, 117, 306-310, doi:10.1016/j.actamat.2016.06.046, 2016.
  • "Low-speed friction and brittle compressive failure of ice: fundamental processes in ice mechanics," E.M. Schulson, Intern. Mater. Rev., 60(8), 451-478, doi: 10.1179/1743280415Y.0000000010, 2015.
  • "Sliding heavy stones to the Forbidden City on ice," E. Schulson, PNAS, 110, 50, 19978-19979, doi:10.1073/pnas.1319581110, 2013.
  • "Static strengthening of frictional surfaces of ice," E.M. Schulson and A.L. Fortt, Acta Materialia, 61(5), 1616–1623, 2013.
  • "Friction of ice on ice," E.M. Schulson and A.L. Fortt, J. Geophysical Research – Solid Earth, Vol.117, doi:10.1029/2012B009219, 2012.
  • "Shear localization in ice: Mechanical response and structural evolution during P-faulting," N. Golding, E.M. Schulson and C.E. Renshaw, Acta Materialia, 60, 3616-3631, 2012.
  • "Frictional Sliding across Coulombic Faults in First-Year Sea Ice—A Comparison with Freshwater Ice," A.L. Fortt and E.M. Schulson, J.Geophys. Res.,116 (C11012), doi: 10/1029/2011JC006969, 2011.
  • "Shear Faulting and Localized Heating in Ice," N. Golding, E.M. Schulson and C.E Renshaw, Acta Materialia, 58, 5043-5056, 2010.


  • Fulbright Arctic Chair (Norway), 2013
  • Fellow, TMS (The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society), 2006
  • Fellow, ASM International, 2003
  • George Austin Colligan Distinguished Professorship, 1999
  • Fulbright Fellow (France), 1998/9
  • Visiting Research Fellowship, General Electric Company, 1988

Professional Activities

  • Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) (Fellow)
  • ASM International (Fellow)
  • American Geophysical Union
  • International Glaciological Society
  • Highly cited materials scientist


  • ENGS 132: Thermodynamics and Kinetics in Condensed Phases
  • ENGS 130: Mechanical Behavior of Materials


  • Preparation of zirconium alloys | 4,094,706
  • Heat-treated zirconium alloy product | 4,226,647

Research Projects

  • Micromechanics of ice and other materials

    Micromechanics of ice and other materials

    Research is conducted to determine physical processes that underlie brittle failure on scales large (Arctic) and small (laboratory). The current goal is to relate failure of the arctic sea ice cover and fracture during ice interaction with off-shore engineered structures to processes such as wing-crack and comb-crack formation and the development of shear faults. The underlying hypothesis is that brittle compressive failure is a scale-independent process driven by intermittent frictional sliding and stable crack growth. The hypothesis is applicable to other brittle materials as well, such as ceramics, rock, and minerals.