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Magic salt and untreated salt-side by side

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by digger242j, Jan 18, 2003.

  1. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    I picked up some Magic earlier this week and had an opportunity to do a semi-scientific comparison test. I've read through a few older threads about Magic vs. regular rock salt and I recognize that the way I was able to make the comparison isn't totally consistant with the way frequent users of Magic say they get the really outstanding results, but I'll share my test here and see what you all think.

    We have a church with a large L shaped lot. The "vertical" part of the L is a hill, rising from the front lot to the rear of the property. Since they only want this portion of the lot cleared two days each week I thought it would be a good spot to conduct a test--there would be no traffic to track the different products, at their respective applications, into the other test sectors. It also allowed for me to check results over the course of a couple of days.

    I started with a 50# bag of Magic in the salter. I drove up the center of the lot and turned to to the left side to come downhill. With the salter at it's highest speed I drove downhill at 7 MPH untill the salter was empty. I did the same thing on the right side of the lot with a 50# bag of untreated Morton rock salt. Then I took about 25# of Magic and made a pass down the center at 14 MPH. The salter was empty at about the same spot for all three passes, so I believe it would be fair to say that the center pass was at about half the application rate of the two side passes, which is what I was shooting for.

    Each pass ended up about 375 feet long and 13 feet wide. I can't claim complete accuracy on the measurements, but it's in the neighborhood of a tenth of a pound per sq. ft. That's well above the 200-250 pounds per acre I've seen quoted here as a fair application rate for salt products. The lighter application of Magic down the center is more in that range. I recognize that that application rate is more suited for higher temperatures. What I was looking for was the difference between the products, not the absolute results.

    I did this around 3 a.m. There was 1/2" of snow cover on the asphalt, and it had not been tracked before I drove on it. Temperature at the time of application was 12 degrees F.

    I checked the lot at around 5:30 a.m. and could see no effect at all on any of the test areas. At that time I drove into the area and zig zagged my way back out trying to leave some tracks so that I could tell if that would make a difference.

    At 11:30 a.m. I checked again. Tempearture was up around 20 by then. It was cloudy then, but there had been about two hours of sunny skies earlier. There was some evidence of melting at the center of the two "full bag" passes--the spots where the salter would have left the heaviest amount of product. Otherwise there was little difference at all. I drove into the area and on all three test areas had trouble climbing the hill in 2wd. (The truck was loaded with about two tons of bags at this time.) Traction was definitley an issue over the entire test area, but was notably worse in the area of lighter application.

    At 11:30 p.m. I checked again. Besides my tracks there was little difference in appearance from 20 hours earlier across the entire test area. At that time the temp was around 5 degrees. At that time the balance of the lot, whch had been salted with regular rock salt, and gotten some traffic was patchy--some clear and some snow cover.

    I'll be visiting the lot tonight, as it needs to be clear for Sunday mornings. It's sunny now, but there's snow in the forcast for tonight--less than an inch. I'll measure snow depth and see what differences there are between the test areas, the rest of the lot, and the snow covered lot next door which has been unplowed recently and unsalted all season. It had about 1/4 inch more snow when I started the test.

    Discussion encouraged....
  2. SnoJob67

    SnoJob67 Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    It is funny you should mention your "Magic Trials." Yesterday, I did a similar test. It was about 10 degress farenheit with no sun. I took a 1/4 cup of salt and spread it the width of a sidewalk. A foot over, I spread another 1/4 cup of ClearLane from a sample I have. There was 2" of snow on a sidewalk that had not been walked on.

    As I have already found, treating after the fact is next to worthless unless you have traffic, sun, etc. If customers would only understand the benefits of treating as the storm arrives rather than after temps have dropped and ice/hardpack have formed, etc.

    The last time I checked, the ClearLane and Rock Salt were performing about the same, next to no melting. I realize the value is more in the residual action, especially in the case of melting existing snow cover.
  3. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    digger,the real improvements i see are on heavily traveled lots.the lots I do are travelled by cars,and heavy trucks,pretreat them side by side,and let the traffic drive on them both,now 4 hrs later as the temps drop,try to plow them both,the salt will have refroze,the magic salted area will scrape right up to pavement.The magic ,in my experience,even if snow builds up it remains loose,and slushy.
  4. chris k

    chris k Senior Member
    Messages: 204

    digger- please keep us posted. Right now I use a sand salt mix that works pretty well, no complaints for customers. I am thinking about trying the Magic Salt. I am looking foward to hearing the final results of your test. I have a friend that uses the Magic and swears by it. He ran out during one storm and had to use a sand/salt mix and he said that there is no comparison.
  5. SnoJob67

    SnoJob67 Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    Chris K-

    I know that customers in your market are accustomed to seeing sand and some may be resistant to change. I believe it was Iowa's DOT that did a test on the effectiveness of sand for traction. They concluded that the sand was only effective for traction until either 3 or 4 cars had driven over the area.

    In other words, if you are applying per ton, sand/salt mix may be better (more profitable because you need more); on the other hand, on your per app lots, you may be better off to strictly use a deicing material like salt or Magic, etc. Depending upon your customer mix, you may be better off to make the switch.


    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    If its too cold, its too cold. I have really had that point driven home this week with the temps around zero at daylight. It takes forever for things to start working, and its been very dry as well. No moisture to get the salt working.

    I sure wish I had a V-box with a pre wet system right now for liquid magic.
  7. chris k

    chris k Senior Member
    Messages: 204

    SnoJob67- why would you be better of on your per app lots to switch to a stright deicer? From what I gather you don't need to apply as often. I know you would charge more for the deicer product but still....if you are only applying half the time then you would have to get twice the money to make the same profit. Right? I am actually thinking of using the Magic occasionaly. During severe storms etc.
    I just have to say that this forum is awesome...it's great to be able to get feedback and info from people who are in the snow plowing business instead of from the guy trying to sell you the product.
  8. SnoJob67

    SnoJob67 Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    SnoJob67- why would you be better of on your per app lots to switch to a stright deicer?

    If you are using a product "diluted" by something that has no value as a deicer and questionable value as a traction enhancer, you are putting down more weight in mix than you would need if you were using a straight deicer. Let's say you use a 70/30 mix for argument's sake. If you put down 10 lbs of mix, you have only applied 7 lbs of salt. If you use salt or Magic, you will have laid down a FULL 10 lbs of active deicing material.

    I don't think you would apply half as often, but you could apply less with each application which would save you money.

    Hope that helped.

  9. JohnnyU

    JohnnyU 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,040

    hey John, Where have you been able to find Magic around here? I found a similar-sounding product called "POW-er Thaw" and it works quite well, however it is very costly. None of my accounts want me to use salt, they all want Magnesium Chloride and Calcium Chloride mix, which is more expensive than plain rock salt. Id be interested in trying Magic, if I can find it, and my customers would be willing to take a slight increase in the app. rate. Yea, right! lol.
  10. SnoJob67

    SnoJob67 Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    I don't know where to get Magic here.
  11. hiranger

    hiranger Member
    Messages: 72

    You can't get Magic in Illinois. You can get it from Standard Tar out of Milwaukee. They will truck it down here for you if you have got someway to get it off a Semi
  12. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    The major difference I find with Magic treated salt is when you plow, the snow peels off, and you don't get a build up of snow on th asphalt, so once you plow and the sun gets at the lot it's black.
    I think the secret with Magic is the way it prevents snow from sticking to the pavement. The other big difference is the re-formation of ice on plowed pavement, you don't get black ice forming when temps drop on magic treated lots. I think a fairer test would be to treat parts of the same lot with salt and magic treated salt, letting a few cars drive across it then plowing it. over a couple of snows.

  13. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    Sorry I didn't get this posted earlier.

    Chris K began a new thread asking about the results. Here's what I posted there:


    If you read my Western spreader motor question in another thread, well, that's the spreader I used for the test. I had to plow that lot Saturday night for Sunday morning.

    I can't really say I noticed a whole lot of difference between the test areas. All scraped up fairly well, given the somewhat uneven pavement. Somebody had suggested that a more fair comparison would have been to use the Magic several times over and see if it made a difference. That didn't happen. With the spreader motor failed I ended up spreading 400# of salt by hand. (And I mean by HAND--not by a hand spreader.) :mad:

    I wasn't in a very scientific frame of mind at the time. I'll have to let the results stand as "inconclusive" until I get the chance to give it another shot.

    BTW, I typed up a post similar to this one on Sunday and when I went to post it I got "The page cannot be displayed" back from the computer. I didn't really feel like typing it all over again right then.
  14. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I don't know Digger, I think I'll keep my distance from you. I wouldn't want that black cloud to latch on to me!:eek:
  15. hillworks7669

    hillworks7669 Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    Not magic but Caliber!

    Sno Job67 and Snowybowtie

    I haven`t tried getting Magic in Illinois, but I am going to go get 2 drums of Caliber to try out next week. I would be happy to set you up with the individual I dealt with. Just IM me.

    P.S. I would be happy to pick you each up a drum.