Conductive Concrete Counters Snow On Contact

Shoveling snow is an inconvenience and pain at the very least and can be a serious health risk. Snow removal can be a major expense for cities and towns depending on just how bad a winter may be. Even before we can get to the big task of clearing snow and ice, the hazard of it can strike quickly and the results can be deadly.

For as long as we’ve had to deal with the effects of winter weather, we’ve been trying to come up with better and better solutions for getting rid of it or preparing for and coping with it. The technology for doing so hasn’t really changed all that much.

This latest innovation however, may be a real game-changer. What if parts of our infrastructure actually counteracted snow, ice, and other wintery conditions on contact?

SnowImage Source: Wikimedia

Melting Snow And Ice On Contact
That’s the idea behind de-icing concrete, a technology that scientists have been working on for decades. It could help save lives, property, and a lot of back pain, but the challenge is finding a realistic way to make it happen and build it into our infrastructure.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln civil engineering professor, Chris Tuan and his research team have now developed a substance that makes the idea a reality.

Their approach  uses steel shavings and carbon to carry an electrical charge. When the components are incorporated into concrete, the minor voltage creates enough warmth to prevent significant accumulation of snow and ice but is still safe to the touch.

Through that low-voltage electric charge, snow and ice melt away as it hits the pavement.

Electrified-concrete-pavesImage Source: UPI

Tested For The Tarmac
The FAA is now testing the material to determine if it can be scaled up for use on U.S. airport tarmacs. If it sounds like an expensive technology to incorporate, the conductive concrete would be less expensive to operate than it would be to counter snow and ice with salt and other chemical methods.

The approach could also mitigate the resulting damage that occurs when roads are iced and salted throughout a winter season.

Would you be eager to have this technology incorporated into your driveway or neighborhood roads?

Tell us what you think about this development in the comments.

Article Sources:
http://www.upi.com
http://www.zmescience.com
http://news.discovery.com
http://www.eurekalert.org

Lisa Myers
 

Is a blogger with an interest for all things mechanical. She is a full-time mom with three active boys, who loves encouraging them to explore the world of science and engineering. They spend a lot of time together playing with Legos.

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