Protecting infrastructure with Bubble Tubing®

This article presents two examples of cases where Bubble Tubing® was used to protect structures from ice damage.

Many types of infrastructure can be protected from ice damage in winter. Our Bubble Tubing® technology can be successfully applied to protect ships, commercial or industrial docks, barges and ferries, from high-cost ice damage. Moreover, their yearly activity period can be extended when the impediments of ice are eliminated.

We use our extensive base of knowledge to recommend specific approaches, depending on the customer’s objectives and environmental conditions, such as sea currents, prevailing winds, ice thickness and water level fluctuations.

Our de-icing systems can include industrial diffusers such as OctoAir-10 or OctoAir-60, both of which use Bubble Tubing® as their core. It is easy to install, either temporarily or permanently. The fine bubbles created lift warmer water, from the bottom to the surface. The combined effect of the water’s warmer temperature and movement helps keep the water ice-free. In very cold weather thin ice can form, but this does not generate sufficient pressure to cause damage to the structure.

Stopover wharf

In this first instance, we were invited to submit a work plan for the installation of a de-icing system to weaken ice and protect a stopover wharf built in 2007. Each winter, strong tides, brackish water and extreme temperatures contributed to ice thickness up to 1.8 m. (72’’). This ice could easily create damage to the structure of the new wharf. The client wanted a permanent, low-maintenance solution that would thin the ice and weaken it.

Our de-icing system achieved the expected results, which were:

  • Absence of damage caused by ice.
  • Minimum ice formation around the structure.
  • Discreet ice openings around the structure.

By working closely with the customer over a two-year period, we were able to overcome some of the specific site location’s challenges.

Industrial unloading dock

In another instance, we designed a de-icing system to prevent ice buildup on an industrial unloading dock. Massive ice buildup during the winter season hampered the unloading process for the aluminum smelters. Every winter, strong tides – over 6 m (18 ft) – and extreme cold temperatures created damaging conditions. The traditional method of removing the accumulated ice was to use heavy machinery, which interfered with the operations and damaged the wooden structure of the wharf.

A system using compressed air pushed in the Bubble Tubing® diffuser has since enabled efficient de-icing, even beyond expectations. The most appreciated aspect was that there was no need whatsoever to shut down operations, since starting using this system.


Contact us for more information on deicing your structure!