Department of Mechanical Engineering


COLDHUB is a Nordic research infrastructure hub for cold climate engineering, including both laboratories and field sites.
Aalto Ice Tank, Photo: Mikko Raskinen
Aalto Ice Tank

COLDHUB funded by NordForsk and formed by Aalto, DTU, NTNU and UNIS. The hub includes laboratories (ice basin, cold rooms) and field sites (Svalbard, Greenland)

The hub establishes a network of infrastructures to support the development of solutions to cold climate challenges in the face of climate change. 

For consortium universities, COLDHUB provides access to facilities that do not exist nationally. The laboratories and field sites supplement each other to form an internationally unique combination of research infrastructures.

Research in the hub is organised through six user programmes.

User programmes

  1. Aalto Ice and Wave Tank: Develop methodology to study ice ridge formation and consolidation in model scale and study ridge loads on structures and ridge resistance of ships.
  2. Svea test site, Svalbard: Study the scale and loading rate effects on sea ice fracture in full scale.
  3. Longyearbyen test site, Svalbard: Study the effects of warming permafrost on structural stability and coastal erosion.
  4. Permafrost monitoring sites in Greenland: Improve methodologies for geophysical mapping and monitoring of permafrost distribution and properties in support of community development.
  5. Cold rooms, NTNU: Study fundamental processes and properties of frozen soils and ice ridges. To be used in large-scale models (such as the THM frozen soil software).
  6. Cold rooms, DTU: Improve methodologies to establish constitutive relationships for geophysical properties of frozen soils for validating field observations and improving model calibrations.

Open access

Open access to publications: Research results should be made available through open access within six (6) months of publication.

Open access to data: Research-generated data shall be considered available to the general public after the Project has been concluded.

Aalto Ice and Wave Tank in a nutshell


40 m wide, 40 m long, 2.8 m deep

Model ice

Scaled ice properties, thickness typically ranges between 20–60 mm


  • Ships and structures in ice
  • Ice mechanics, fracture
  • Ice and waves
  • Open water with/without waves

Through COLDHUB, Aalto Ice and Wave Tank will be available for visitors from DTU, NTNU, and UNIS for one week (two ice sheets) per year. 

Technical and safety tutorials by will be given by Aalto University technical personnel before experiments begin. The experiments will be planned and conducted jointly by the consortium organisations in COLDHUB workshops and complement field experiments in Svalbard. 

Experiments may include, but are not limited to, studies on the following topics:

  • Sea ice ridges
  • Ice floes, ships, structures and waves

Further information

Learn more about the Aalto Ice and Wave Tank – or visit it via the Aalto University virtual campus experience!

Aalto Ice Tank

Aalto Ice and Wave Tank

Aalto Ice and Wave Tank is a multipurpose basin ideally suited for testing ships and other maritime structures in ice conditions.

Research and learning infrastructures
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