This article references breaking ice through resonance, but is not specific enough for my case: Resonance method of ice destruction

I have a situation where I would like a robot character to break free a mining drill that is completely encased in a block of ice. Could this character use resonance to break the ice? If possible, what would the character need to create this resonance?


Your linked article has to do with clearing ice from navigable waters, as far as I can tell. It is pretty obtuse! I am not sure how having something move across the ice produces resonance.

For an item covered with ice, you are probably thinking about something like a tone at the resonant frequency being used to break a wine glass.

Like mechanical resonance, acoustic resonance can result in catastrophic failure of the object at resonance. The classic example of this is breaking a wine glass with sound at the precise resonant frequency of the glass, although this is difficult in practice.

At the resonant frequency a solid object will vibrate a lot because the successive sound waves add energy - this is why the wine glass breaks. In theory that might be possible with the ice but it could be possible with the drill or a very hard object like the drill bit.

You would need something to project sound (like an amplifier) and something to create sounds at various frequencies (dare I hope an electric guitar?) until you found the resonant frequency for the drill.

  • $\begingroup$ Great answer, thanks for the clarification! Haha an electric guitar might just do it. $\endgroup$ – Wayzgoose Feb 4 '18 at 12:43

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