Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Wet Snow Accumulation on Inclined Cylindrical Surfaces Academic Article uri icon


  • Wet snow accumulation on bridge cables and its shedding due to external phenomena such as rise in temperature, wind, and gravity is a serious threat to the safety of cars and pedestrians crossing the bridge. Commonly the accumulated snow on bridge cables is removed by external means such as mechanical removal or heat treatment which are expensive, time-consuming, and high-risk processes and are conducted based on little or no information available regarding the actual size and shape of the accumulated snow. In addition, cleaning of cables using the mechanical methods can potentially lead to erosion of cable materials when applied over years, resulting in enhanced surface roughness and potentially increased wet snow/ice accumulation during future precipitation events, and sometimes might require replacement of cable stays, which is an extremely costly and complicated task. Optimizing the number of mechanical cleaning procedures such as chain release through predicting the shape and thickness of the accumulated snow on the cable stays reduces the cost, time, and risk associated with the process. In this study, wet snow accumulation on torsionally rigid inclined cylinders of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) has been studied experimentally and numerically. A 2-D numerical model has been developed utilizing weather data to predict the thickness and the shape of the accumulated wet snow on inclined cylindrical surfaces. Outdoor experiments were also conducted to measure the density and thickness of accumulated snow, while monitoring the weather data real time. Overall, snow density was found to be linearly increasing with an increase in wind velocity, during snow precipitation. The maximum thickness and shape of the accumulated snow on cables obtained from the numerical model were found to be in good agreement with the outdoor experimental data. This work aims to provide a mean for prediction of snow accumulation on surfaces for optimizing the efficiency of the costly and high-risk snow removal procedures.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Mohammadian, B., Sarayloo, M., Abdelaal, A., Raiyan, A., Nims, D. K., & Sojoudi, H.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Mohammadian, Behrouz||Sarayloo, Mehdi||Abdelaal, Ahmed||Raiyan, Asif||Nims, Douglas K||Sojoudi, Hossein

publication date

  • January 2020