As winter approaches, stores, cities and homeowners are stocking up on salt, gravel and sand in anticipation of slippery roads. But this annual ritual in colder climates could soon become unnecessary. Researchers report in ACS’ journalIndustrial & Engineering Chemistry Research a new road material that could de-ice itself.
Every winter, when weather forecasters predict snow or icy conditions, local governments deploy trucks that dust roads with salt, sand or other chemical mixtures to help prevent ice build-up. Residents break out their own supply to keep their walkways and driveways from freezing over and becoming dangerously slick. But the de-icer doesn’t stay on the streets for long. Melting snow and vehicles driving by wash or force it off, making re-application necessary. To break this cycle, Seda Kizilel and colleagues wanted to see if they could devise a way to ice-proof the road itself.
Read more: Toward roads that de-ice themselves