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The Basics, How De-Icers Work

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by JFSV, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. JFSV

    JFSV Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    Hi Everyone,
    As we are getting into the winter season, I wanted to share some helpful information with you. I do a lot of training on ice melt...how they work, performance considerations and common ice melting components. I hope you find this information helpful!

    The Basics, How De-Icers Work:

    Of the snow and ice melter products available, nearly all are derived from about seven or eight materials, or blends, all of which work in much the same way: they must first attract sufficient moisture to form a liquid brine. This solution then lowers the freezing point of water, thus melting ice and snow.

    Under normal conditions, de-icers begin by breaking the hydrogen bond that forms when whatever freezes. They then dissolve their way downward through the ice or snow until they reach the pavement. Once there, the accumulating brine undermines the ice to break its bond from the pavement. When loose, the ice or snow is easily removed.

    The ability for de-icers to remain effective depends on the concentration of the brine solution. Basically, the greater the concentration, the better the performance in the melting more snow and ice at lower temperatures. Some products, (like calcium chloride), are greatly affected by the dilution of the brine once the melting process begins, becoming more prone to refreeze at higher temperatures. For example, at a brine concentration of 10%, a product may be effective to -2ºF. As it dilutes to 5%, it may refreeze at +8ºF. This is why a product may melt very quickly at first then slow down, or completely stop, as its brine concentration decreases.
  2. johnnard

    johnnard Junior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 10

    Thanks for the info. I have a hard time finding accurate info regarding the liquids applied to salt; whether it's brine, molasses, beer by-product, or a brand name like IceBan.

    We apply 100% rock salt treated with IceBan. This year we will be applying it via a liquid spray system as it exits the hopper. My dealer says the IceBan's formulation gets adjusted to the decreasing temps as the winter progresses. I need MSDS sheets but they are not as accurate as I need them to be.

    So my question is this... There is obviously a liquid carrier with additives but what is it? What is IceBan? Magic? Calcium Chloride? My liquid product smells like soy sauce, which is nice, but I'm hungry an hour later! :) Sorry, I couldn't help it.

    So as I understand it, my salt is effective to 19 degrees F, but below that it needs help. This is where the liquids come into play, but how and what's the difference between the ones I mentioned.

    Sorry if this info has been beat to death, but I cannot find it.:confused:

  3. Jay brown

    Jay brown PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,783

    your liquid sounds like sugar beet (sugarless)
  4. hoosier

    hoosier Junior Member
    Messages: 14


    Not sure if I can help John,but i will try.
    If I understand your question, the liquid carrier you ask about is usually one of three things.
    Calcium chloride,Magnesium chloride ,or salt brine. Calcium and mag are most used,and geography usually dictates what is available. Mag in the western US and Calcium in the eastern US.
    The additives are usually corn based or beet based, (there was even one on the market that used honey). The additives provide adhesion to the roadway,help lower freezing temps,and some include corrosion fighters.

    I am not familiar with all the products available to you on the east coast,but the basics are the same.
    As far as the MSDS and detailed info,good luck. The producers and suppliers are very good at printing full pages of BS,that tell you nothing.
    Hope this helps,let me know if you want more
  5. johnnard

    johnnard Junior Member
    from NH
    Messages: 10

    Hoosier, Thanks for the info. This definitely helps me understand what I'm working with better. John
  6. JFSV

    JFSV Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    John, if you are using Ice Ban, I do know that it is a by product of the brewing process. Products like Ice Ban and Magic are very similar-(Majic is made with corn by product). They are great products, there's no doubt, but they do carry a heavy price tag. One thing to be careful of, try to treat your own product. I've heard many concerns from people who bought the product bagged and had problems with the bags freezing on them when they were stored outside. If price is a concern, try to find blended ice melters that are coated with mag...you will get more bang for your buck and a very similar outcome. I hope this helps you.
  7. Actually, liquid magic is 50% mag and 50% Distillers condensed solubles. Vodka, or rum distillers.. Caliber is 80% mag and 20% corn..
    Ice ban is....from brewers solubles ie beer, corn syrup, or other.. It is blended with either Salt brine, Calcium cl, or mag so the msds will say. I believe that they have not been using Mag..
    Not sure what the beet sugar is added to.. mag maybe.. still very corrosive. Hope that helps..