• Snow Mechanics;
  • Shear Test;
  • In Situ Test;
  • Snow Sampling;
  • Pneumatic Apparatus


The article presents a prototype of a new device for measuring the shear strength of snow specimens in situ. The resistance to sliding of a snow slab on a mountain slope is a key parameter in snow mechanics. The proposed apparatus acts as a sampler, to obtain a nearly undisturbed specimen, and as a shear box, similar to those used in the laboratory, with complete control of the test procedure. The main components of the device are a pneumatic system, for the application of normal and shear forces to the specimen, a real-time controller for commanding and recording of the data, and a computer. The apparatus can be carried to the place of the experiments and operated by a team of two researchers. Calibration and preliminary tests are also described in the article.