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The highways we use each day can be gridlocked when heavy snow and ice make them impenetrable. The traditional answer to snow on the roads has been to cover the roads in rock salt and hope the temperature does not fall below its working temperature range. Several highway agencies have been trying to find ways of limiting the formation of snow and ice on their roads by using calcium chloride to treat snow-covered roads. Among the reasons why calcium chloride is impressive is its ability to:

  • Melt snow faster
  • Form a protective brine in less time
  • Releases heat as it melts ice

Snow builds up on the roads and can remain in place if rock salt is used and temperatures fall below -7F. The effective melting range for snow of rock salt is a narrow band of temperatures from zero degrees Fahrenheit to -7F. Because of its narrow range of temperature uses, rock salt is less effective than calcium chloride that can melt snow and ice as far as -25F.

The temperature issues of using the traditional rock salt for melting snow and ice are not the only problems facing those not moving to calcium chloride. In areas where the formation of ice forms a powerful bond between the pavement and the ice, calcium chloride is fast-acting and effective. An area of impacted snow and ice will begin to melt upon contact with calcium chloride. The speed at which calcium chloride begins to melt impacted snow and ice is faster than rock salt. Using rock salt allows requires a combination of heat and light for the ice to melt. The use of calcium chloride does not require the addition of heat to begin melting impacted snow and ice. Calcium chloride begins melting ice and snow on contact.

Keeping Roadways Clear

The clearing of roadways during winter storms is important for the long term and requires an approach that keeps highways clear. A long-term approach to clearing roadways is important on several levels and includes the formation of a protective brine.

The formation of brine is one of the most important parts of choosing a deicing solution. Not only does calcium chloride begin melting ice on contact, but it also begins creating a protective brine upon coming into contact with snow and ice. The protective brine sits on the surface of the road and helps to melt ice and snow as they begin to form on the road surface.

One of the reasons why calcium chloride is increasingly popular with highway agencies is its ability to reduce the number of times the highways need deicing. Calcium chloride is effective for a long time and is sprayed as a liquid on the road surface for several hours. Because of the liquid form of calcium chloride, the chemical is cos-effective because it lowers the number of treatments needed.

One of the most damaging aspects of using traditional rock salt and calcium magnesium to clear roads is the problems it causes to the roadways. Vehicles face the corrosive nature of salt being sprayed onto their bodywork and the corrosive impact on vegetation. Calcium chloride has been proven to be no more damaging to the environment than rock salt and other commonly used de-icing chemicals.

The use of rock salt and calcium magnesium has been shown to harm the long-term survival of concrete road surfaces. The erosion of concrete bridges and roadways adds to the costs associated with de-icing for highway agencies around the world. By improving the quality of de-icing solutions used on roadways, several advantages can be gained.

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