Wax could help roads de-ice them­selves

Iran Daily - - Science & Technology -

Re­searchers tested the de-ic­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties of con­crete slabs fea­tur­ing paraf­fin-filled pipes and a light-weight paraf­fin-treated ag­gre­gate. Dur­ing test­ing at tem­per­a­tures be­tween 35˚F and 44˚F, snow on the con­trol slab re­mained frozen, while slabs in­ter­sected by paraf­fin melted away the snow within 25 hours.

In the first round of test­ing, paraf­fin­filled pipes were more ef­fi­cient than the paraf­fin ag­gre­gate.

When sci­en­tists tested the dif­fer­ent slabs at tem­per­a­tures be­low freez­ing, they found the con­crete ag­gre­gate treated with paraf­fin proved more ef­fec­tive at keep­ing the slab free of snow and ice.

Far­nam said, “The grad­ual heat re­lease due to the dif­fer­ent pore sizes in por­ous light-weight ag­gre­gate is more ben­e­fi­cial in melt­ing snow when con­crete is ex­posed to va­ri­ety of tem­per­a­ture changes when snow melt­ing or de­ic­ing is needed.

“We be­lieve that us­ing por­ous light­weight ag­gre­gate can be po­ten­tial way of in­cor­po­rat­ing phase change ma­te­ri­als in con­crete as it is easy to be im­ple­mented in prac­tice and can cover en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions of var­i­ous lo­ca­tions in the US deal­ing with snow, es­pe­cially melt­ing snow or de­ic­ing in roads and bridges in the North­east.”

Re­searchers plan to test the paraf­fin ag­gre­gate at larger scales. The technology could even­tu­ally be in­stalled on high­ways and air­port run­ways, but first sci­en­tists need to make sure paraf­fin doesn’t neg­a­tively af­fect the pave­ment’s dura­bil­ity or trac­tion.

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