What if those old standbys that relieve white-knuckled winter driving – salt, sand, gravel and other chemical mixtures – were a thing of the past? Researchers are on their way to creating a new road material that can de-ice itself, according to an article from Eureka Alert citing the American Chemical Society’s journal Industrial Engineering Chemistry Research.
De-icers used currently by local governments battling slick roadways are quickly washed or forced off, making re-application necessary. Researchers looking for a way to ice-proof the road itself have developed a composite of salt potassium formate, the polymer styrene-butadiene-styrene and bitumen, a major component of asphalt, which released de-icing salt for two months in lab studies. According to the article, researcher believe the salt-polymer composite could last even longer on real roads when evenly embedded throughout the asphalt and be released, potentially for years, as cars and trucks wear away the pavement.
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