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2  FM quick reads on Anti-icing

1. Anti-Icing, Deicing Can Use Same Products

Today's tip is to understand the difference between anti-icing and deicing. Deicing is the reactive application of industrial snow melter to eliminate existing snow and ice. Anti-icing refers to the proactive application of industrial snow melter before a storm. This tactic helps prevent snow and ice from bonding to the pavement, and workers can clear them away more easily.

Although sand can provide some traction, it technically is not a deicing material, since it does not melt snow or ice. It is low-cost, but managers need to consider the potential environmental impact.

Sodium chloride (NaCl), or rock salt, is a well-known industrial snow melter. This product generally is effective, though not in all conditions. In very cold conditions — typically below 23 degrees — salt begins to lose its effectiveness. Mixing sand and salt for deicing maintains some traction, but it reduces the amount of salt workers can apply to an area. As a result, less deicing occurs, while the environmental concerns and clean-up costs associated with sand rise.

Other options for deicing and anti-icing include calcium chloride (CaCl), magnesium chloride, potassium chloride and urea.

CaCl is effective down to about minus-20 degrees. It is an exothermic salt, meaning it releases heat as it melts the ice. It melts ice faster than other common deicers, but it tends to attract moisture from the air, causing pavements to remain moist. If the moisture refreezes, it creates icy conditions. CaCl also can be more corrosive to metals, and it can cost more than other materials.

Magnesium chloride has many similarities to CaCl, including cost. It is exothermic and absorbs moisture from the air. This characteristic makes it a fast-acting industrial snow melter when applied as a solid and mixed with sand or salt. Crews also can spread it directly on pavement as a liquid before a storm arrives. From 15 to minus-20 degrees, it is more effective than NaCl but less effective than CaCl.

Many people believe potassium chloride and urea are safe to use around vegetation, but they are not. Fertilizer is good for plants, but at high concentrations, it can be deadly. Urea does not contain chlorides, so it is less corrosive and safer for use on concrete containing rebar and around steel structures. Urea is effective to 15 degrees and potassium chloride to 12 degrees. Both materials work more slowly than calcium chloride.

2.  Seven Alternatives to Rock Salt

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is seven alternatives to rock salt.

As grounds managers fine-tune their deicing and anti-icing programs, they are seeking alternatives to rock salt, or sodium chloride. Here are seven alternatives:

Calcium chloride. Calcium chloride, or CaCl, is a byproduct of some chemical manufacturing processes. Proper storage is imperative — in plastic or metal bins with lids — because CaCl absorbs water easily.

Magnesium chloride. This deicer comes in a granular form blended with other chlorides or in a liquid solution. It is safe to use around vegetation, but crews should not apply it too heavily because it can become slippery.

Potassium chloride. A good all-around deicer for pedestrian areas, potassium chloride shares the chemical makeup of some fertilizers. As a result, it is safe for use around vegetation and causes minimal impact on soil and water sources.

Urea. This product, which is also a fertilizer, comes in a granular form. When applied in recommended amounts, urea should not harm vegetation and, in fact, can promote growth.

Calcium-magnesium acetate. Calcium-magnesium acetate has limited melting capabilities but is a biodegradable product primarily used to prevent ice formation on concrete, bridges and roads, which are sensitive to corrosion.

Liquid potassium acetate. This environmentally responsible liquid solution is another pre-treatment option that prevents snow and ice from forming on and adhering to paved surfaces. It is biodegradable and available in liquid form, and crews should apply it before a snowstorm to achieve maximum effectiveness.

M-50. This anti-icing product causes minimal environmental impact, is biodegradable, and is less corrosive than distilled water.


Anti-icing , deicing , sand , rock salt , calcium chloride , magnesium chloride , potassium chloride , urea

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